Ruddins Becomes First Gaucho in Four Years to Earn All-American Honors

Lindsey Ruddins (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Lindsey Ruddins (Photo by Tony Mastres)

Capping off one of the best freshman seasons in UCSB's recent history, Lindsey Ruddins was named AVCA Honorable Mention All-America, the AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) announced Wednesday.

It is the first time in four years that UCSB has had an All-American recipient, with Taylor Formico the last to earn Honorable Mention honors. Ruddins is also just the third freshman in program history to be named to the team, joining Formico (2012) and Roberta Gehlke (1997).

She had previously been named All-Big West First Team, Big West Freshman of the Year and AVCA All-Pacific South Region Honorable Mention after leading her team with 4.09 kills per set this season, the fourth highest mark of any freshman in the nation. Ruddins also led the team with eight double-doubles on the year and 0.53 aces per set during league play.

Despite injuries midway through the season, the Laguna Niguel, Calif. native racked up a UCSB record five Big West Freshman of the Week awards, good for second all-time in the conference. After dominating the non-conference schedule to the tune of three consecutive All-Tournament selections and one tournament MVP to start the season, Ruddins would save some of her best performances for the conference season.

In a 3-0 win at UC Irvine on Nov. 5, she dominated the Anteaters on the way to a near triple-double with 15 kills, nine digs, and a Big West season-high eight aces. In her next match, a 3-1 win against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 11, Ruddins finished with a .411 hitting percentage and career-highs in both kills (27) and digs (15).

Ruddins was one of just eight freshman out of 69 players to be named Honorable Mention. Thanks to her strong play, UCSB went 17-12 overall and 8-8 in Big West play, finishing five games better in the conference than they did in 2015.