Gauchos Receive 2016 Fall Awards at Annual End-of-Season Banquet

Phoebe Grunt, Sydney Bast, Annie Hasselmann, Lindsey Ruddins, Chanel Hoffman and Chloe Allen
Phoebe Grunt, Sydney Bast, Annie Hasselmann, Lindsey Ruddins, Chanel Hoffman and Chloe Allen

UCSB held its annual end-of-season banquet on Tuesday, where the coaches handed out their Fall 2016 Team Awards. Taking home co-MVP honors were outside hitters junior Chanel Hoffman and freshman Lindsey Ruddins.

Also receiving awards were senior Phoebe Grunt (Leadership Award), freshman Chloe Allen (Most Improved Player Award), sophomore Annie Hasselmann (Unsung Hero Award), and redshirt sophomore Sydney Bast (ChoGuts Award).

With the co-MVP, Ruddins adds yet another award to what is quickly becoming a crowded list of achievements. After leading the team with 4.09 kills per set and eight double-doubles, Ruddins became just the third freshman in program history to earn All-American recognition, being named Honorable Mention in December. She was also named All-Big West First Team, Big West Freshman of the Year and AVCA All-Pacific South Region Honorable Mention.

Prior to her season-ending leg injury, Hoffman was crucial to the Gauchos, especially during their run at the start of the conference season when Ruddins missed some time due to injury. Hoffman finished second on the team in kills per set (3.15), digs per set (2.32), and double-doubles (seven), helping her earn her second career Big West Honorable Mention and first co-MVP award.

Taking home the Leadership Award was senior middle-blocker Phoebe Grunt. In her four years at UCSB, the Alameda, California native embodied what it meant to be a leader and a Gaucho, consistently earning a deserved high level of respect from those around her.

A force to be reckoned with on both offense and defense, Grunt finished her career with a .324 hitting percentage, the fifth-highest in program history. Her 321 block assists and 370 total blocks were also good for eighth and ninth all-time at UCSB, respectively.

Winning the Most Improved Player Award was outside hitter Chloe Allen. After recording just 17 kills through the Gauchos' first 23 matches, the freshman burst onto the scene with 19 kills on a .394 hitting percentage at UC Davis on Nov. 3. Allen would be particularly helpful down the stretch following Hoffman's season-ending injury, eventually finishing third on the team with 1.97 kills per set and recording at least eight kills in five of UCSB's final six matches.

Sophomore setter Annie Hasselmann was given the Unsung Hero Award for her continuous effort, key contributions, and team-first mentality, all of which won't appear on the stat sheet. Appearing in 14 matches, Hasselmann's finished second on the team in assists per set (1.83). Her best performances came against UC Riverside (Oct. 14), when she tallied a season-high 11 assists, and at UC Davis (Nov. 3), when she recorded 10 assists and two big blocks to help the Gauchos to a comeback victory after trailing 2-0.

Rounding out the award winners was defensive specialist Sydney Bast, who won the ChoGuts Award for always giving 100 percent and inspiring her teammates with her effort. The redshirt sophomore missed just one match all season, recording double-digit digs on four separate occasions. She finished with 125 digs and 1.64 digs per set, both good for sixth-best on the team, and even added some gorgeous kill attempts towards the end of the season.