Gauchos Fly West for Annual Showdown at Hawai'i

Gauchos Fly West for Annual Showdown at Hawai'i

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Big West TV

• The Schedule 
Friday, October 6, 2017 at 10:00 p.m. PDT
UC Santa Barbara vs. Hawai'i (10-5, 4-0)
at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawai'i
Stream: Big West TV
All-time record vs. Rainbow Wahine: 6-36
Streak vs. UH: Lost 7
2016: UCSB went 0-2 against Hawai'i
Last meeting: L, 3-1 (11/19/16)

• Up Next
This week, UCSB will fly west to Honolulu to take on the Rainbow Wahine in the teams' annual showdown in Hawai'i. The Gauchos will be looking for their first win at the Sheriff Center since 2013, when first-year head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch led UCSB over then-No. 5 Hawai'i in five sets.  

• Gauchos on the Air
This week, as in every week of league play, UCSB's match will be streamed live through Big West TV. Gaucho fans with access to regional sports networks in Hawai'i can watch the match on Spectrum OC16. Later this season, the Gauchos will make their third ESPN3 appearance of the season at UC Riverside on Nov. 18. Links to all broadcasts are available through UCSBGauchos.com. 

• The Week in Review
After starting off league play with home wins over UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton, UCSB evened its conference mark after dropping road contests at Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State. The Gauchos performed decently on offense for the weekend – hitting over .200 in both contests and receiving major contributions from players like Lindsey Ruddins, Charlie Robinson, and Chloe Allen – but struggled to find consistency in the passing department. 

• Lantagne Welch Earns Career Win Number 300
UCSB's 3-0 victory over UC Riverside on Sept. 22 gave head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch the 300th win of 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. 58 of Lantagne Welch's 301 career victories have come as the bench boss for UCSB, a position she took over before the 2013 season.

• On A Roll
UCSB has begun to turn it around in all facets of the game over the last three weeks, going 3-2 over the last five matches after opening the year with losses in 11 straight. After hitting over .200 just three times in the first 11 games, the Gauchos have now gone over the .200 mark in five straight, outhitting the opponent in four of those contests. That stretch includes a season-high .330 mark against Eastern Kentucky in the final match of the Pitt Panther Challenge. 

• Omwanghe Stepping Up
UCSB's recent turnaround has coincided almost exactly with a sharp uptick in production from freshman middle blocker Nicole Omwanghe, who has been a Freshman of the Week candidate twice in the last three weeks. The Claremont, Calif. native is averaging 2.62 kills per set on .426 hitting and 1.05 blocks per set over the last six matches, including a career-high 13 kills against Cleveland St. on Sept. 16, eight or more kills in five of the last six matches, and .400 or better hitting in four of the last six. Despite being a freshman, she ranks fifth in the Big West with a .391 hitting percentage and second with a 1.08 blocks per set average in league play. 

• Ruddins Is Killing It
A year after breaking out with an attention-grabbing freshman season, UCSB outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins is continuing her strong play in 2017. The Aliso Viejo, Calif. native ranks second in the nation and first in the Big West with a 5.53 kills per set average. Emphasizing her importance to the squad, she's also second in the NCAA with a 14.31 swings per set average. The reigning Big West Freshman of the Year has led the Gauchos in kills in 11 of the 12 matches she's appeared in, and usually by a wide margin (an average of 10.3 kills more than the next-highest Gaucho over the last 11 matches). Earlier this season, she set a UCSB rally scoring era record with 36 kills against No. 15 Florida State, narrowly missing out on the program's all-time mark (38) set by Roberta Gehlke in 1999. Those 36 kills are also the most by any NCAA player in a single match this season. She has been a Big West Player of the Week nominee four times over the first six weeks of the campaign and UCSB is hitting over 100 points higher with her in the lineup (.210) than without (.096).

• Allen Arrives
Sophomore outside hitter Chloe Allen made a triumphant return to the UCSB lineup last week after missing three weeks and eight matches with an injury. The Santa Barbara native was eased back into the lineup against CSUN but excelled at the service line (three aces) and in the back row (nine digs) while dominating for a spell at the net with two solo blocks in three plays in the third set. Allen then found her offensive groove at Long Beach State, posting a 13-2-27 line (career-high .407 hitting percentage) while notching 12 digs for her fourth double-double of the year. A recipient of the team's Most Improved Award in 2016, Allen has shown the ability to contribute big-time when she's in the lineup, evidenced by her 3.12 kills per set average (second on the team by a wide margin) including a career-high 24 kills in a narrow five-set loss to then-No. 15 Florida State back on Aug. 26. 

• Petrachi is Digging 2017
One of the top liberos on the west coast, Emilia Petrachi has continued to pad her already-strong resume with an extremely productive 2017 campaign. The Modena, Italy native leads the league this year with a 5.10 digs per set average, up from her career mark of 4.74. She has stepped up her game even more in Big West action, notching a 6.69 digs per set average which is 1.5 digs more than the No. 2 player in the conference (UC Davis's Malia Bolko, 5.09 per set). Two weeks ago, Petrachi had 28 digs in just three sets against Cal State Fullerton, which the highest of any Big West player in a three-set match this season, a personal career-high for a three-setter, and just two off her overall career high of 30 (Aug. 29, 2015 vs. Pepperdine), which took her four sets to amass. Petrachi has reached double-digit digs in every match this season and has gone over 20 six times this year and 24 times in her career. 

• Robinson Shows Versatility
Spending the majority of the season as an outside hitter because of injuries, sophomore Charlie Robinson logged one of the best weeks of her career last week while spending more time in the middle. Against CSUN, she posted a career-high 13 kills on a season-best .407 hitting percentage, including seven kills on seven swings in the third set alone. That is the most single-game kills without a zero attack or attack error by a Gaucho this season, beating out freshman middle Kjia Rivers who has twice gone 4-0-4 this year.