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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 8:01 am | Fair 39º

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College Volleyball

UCSB Volleyball Closing in on Top-25 poll; Ruddins earns 2nd Big West Honor

After a 3-1 finish in the Thunderdome Classic, including a stunning 3-0 sweep of then No. 25 Colorado State, the UCSB women's volleyball had plenty to celebrate on Labor Day, as the team received votes in the AVCA Coaches Poll and Lindsey Ruddins earned her second Big West Freshman of the Week award.

The Gauchos have opened the season with a 5-2 record, which has been the team's best start under fourth year head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch. UCSB is also off to the best start among Big West teams.

Aside from the quantity of wins, the quality of those victories can't be overlooked, as UCSB has downed a pair of 2015 NCAA Tournament contenders in New Mexico State and the Rams, and has also defeated a top-50 RPI team from a year ago in Baylor.

This is the first time the Gauchos have received votes in the AVCA's national poll since November 2013, a season when UCSB captured the Big West crown and picked up two road wins against nationally ranked teams, Hawai'i and CSUN.

For individual accolades, Lindsey Ruddins earned her second straight Big West Freshman of the Week accolade after she led the Gauchos with 61 kills and 70.5 points in the Thunderdome Classic.

The redshirt freshman – who also made her second consecutive all-tournament team – averaged 4.69 kills per set through UCSB's four matches and finished with at least 14 kills in each contest. On the defensive side of the stat sheet, the outside hitter posted a team-high of 14 blocks and was second with 34 digs.

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