Women's Volley Continues Road Swing This Weekend at Utah State Tournament

Women's Volley Continues Road Swing This Weekend at Utah State Tournament

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• The Schedule 
Friday, September 1, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. 
UC Santa Barbara vs. Montana State (1-2)
at the Wayne Estes Center in Logan, Utah
All-time record vs. Bobcats: 1-0
Streak vs. MSU: Won 1
Last meeting: W, 3-1 (9/7/8)

Saturday, September 2, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. 
UC Santa Barbara vs. Pacific (1-2)
at the Wayne Estes Center in Logan, Utah
All-time record vs. Tigers: 29-51
Streak vs. UoP: Lost 2
Last meeting: L, 3-0 (9/13/14)

Saturday, September 2, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at Utah State (2-1)
at the Wayne Estes Center in Logan, Utah
All-time record vs. Aggies: 34-5
Streak vs. Utah St.: Won 1
Last meeting: W, 3-0 (9/6/08)

• The Week Ahead
This week, the Gauchos travel from Waco, Texas to Logan, Utah to participate in the Utah State Tournament, hosted by the Aggies at the Wayne Estes Center. The Gauchos open the tourney on Friday afternoon against Montana State at 3:00 p.m., then face off against former conference-mate Pacific and Utah State in a Saturday doubleheader. Live stats and video (if available) links are available through UCSBGauchos.com.

• The Week in Review
UCSB opened its season last week in the Baylor Tournament, going a combined 0-3 against Illinois State, No. 15 Florida State, and the host Bears. The Gauchos came tantalizingly close to a big upset of the Seminoles on Saturday, using career nights from Lindsey Ruddins, Chloe Allen, and Lexi Rottman to take FSU to a 13-13 tie in the fifth, but the Seminoles eked out the win. 

• Ruddins a Glutton for Kills
UCSB's standout redshirt sophomore outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins had a night to remember against Florida State on Saturday, posting new career highs with 36 kills (with an outstanding .337 hitting percentage) and 18 digs over five sets. Those 36 kills set a new UCSB rally-scoring era program record for a single match, and she finished just two short of matching the Gauchos' all-time record of 38 kills, set by Roberta Gehlke on Sept. 30, 1999 against Long Beach State. For her performance, Ruddins was named the PrepVolleyball.com Player of the Week. No player in the NCAA has more single-match kills than Ruddins' 36 so far this season, and no more than three individuals have notched 36 kills in a match in any of the past four seasons. 

• Lantagne Welch on the Verge of Milestone
Entering the weekend, UCSB head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch needs just two victories to reach 300 in her esteemed career. In her 17th season overall as a head coach (12 years at Miami), she is the winningest active coach in the Big West. 55 of Lantagne Welch's 298 career victories have come as the bench boss for UCSB, a position she took over before the 2013 season.

• Gauchos on the Small Screen
UCSB will make a pair of appearances on ESPN3 this season, on the road at Long Beach State (Sept. 30) and at UC Riverside (Nov. 18). In addition, every home UCSB match will be streamed live this season through Big West TV. 

• Meet the Newcomers
The 2017 Gaucho roster features five newcomers: four freshmen and one junior college transfer. With three starters gone from a season ago, many of these newcomers have been pressed into action right away. Freshman middle blocker Kjia Rivers has had the biggest impact so far, putting down eight kills in the Florida State marathon. Fellow freshmen Nicole Omwanghe (middle blocker) and Amanda Serex (middle/right side) have each started a pair of matches. Defensive specialist Kobie Jimenez (Ventura HS) and right side Megan Weaver (LA Pierce College) have yet to draw into a match but figure to play a part in the 2017 team's fortunes.

• Petrachi Hits the Ground Running
Junior libero Emilia Petrachi has gotten off to a strong start to the 2017 season, which is no surprise considering her consistent play over her first two years as a Gaucho. The Modena, Italy native has recorded at least four digs per set in each of the team's first three matches, including a season-high 25 against Florida State on Saturday night, the seventh 25+ dig match of her career. Petrachi currently ranks second in the Big West with a 4.91 digs per set average. She led the league in the stat a year ago with a 4.66 average, and finished second as a freshman in 2015 with 4.60 digs per set. 

• Allen is All In
One of the most promising developments of last season was the immediate impact that Chloe Allen, then a freshman, was able to make down the stretch while filling in for injured teammates. Well Allen didn't miss a beat to open the 2017 season, posting a team-best 10 kills in the season-opener against Illinois State before setting career highs by a wide margin in both kills (24, previously 19) and digs (15, previously six) against Florida State on Saturday. Allen ranks ninth in the Big West with a 3.64 kills per set average, trailing only Ruddins (league-high 5.50 K/S) among Gauchos. 

• Rottman Racks Up Assists
In her first start as a setter at the Division I level, junior Lexi Rottman dished out 60 assists over five sets against Florida State, creating some outstanding chemistry with Ruddins, Allen, and Rivers. Rottman's was the first 60-assist performance in the Lantagne Welch era and the most assists by any Gaucho player since Hanna Nielson had 63 as a freshman against UC Davis on Oct. 28, 2011. Rottman spent her first two seasons with UCSB mostly as a defensive specialist, but during her prep career she was a Channel League MVP setter at Santa Barbara High School. 

• At Her Bast
Rottman wasn't the only long-time defensive specialist to have a standout debut at another position last weekend, as senior and co-team captain Sydney Bast started at outside hitter against Baylor and led the team for that match in both kills (nine) and swings (36).