UCSB Women’s Volleyball Has a Sporty and Deep Team for the 2021 Season | Sports
The UCSB women’s volleyball program has continuously raised her athletic level, and coach Nicole Lantagne-Welch said she believes this season she has the strongest team she has ever had. never had in his nine years at the helm.
The Gauchos will be tested early in the 2021 season as they face the Illinois of the Big Ten in their first game at the season-opening Milwaukee-Wisconsin Panther Invitational on Friday.
Illinois are coached by former Laguna Blanca and former US national team player Chris Tamas. The Fighting Illini program featured two former gold medalist Team USA women’s indoor volleyball players Michaelle Bartsch-Hackley and Jordyn Poulter.
“We can’t wait to see a strong team in Illinois to start the season,” said Lantagne-Welch.
The Gauchos also play in Valparaiso and host Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Saturday.
After canceling last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lantagne-Welch said this year’s squad is a tight group and they’re hungry to play.
“They have worked hard over the past year to be ready,” she said. “This team has the greatest depth of any team I’ve had here. There is great competition in the gym, and that will only make us better. “
The UCSB is dismissing players such as midfielders Rowan Ennis and Deni Wilson, libero Kobie Jimenez and outside hitters Tasia Farmer, Tallulah Froley and Gigi Ruddins from the 2019 squad that reached the second round of the NCAA tournament.
A talented group of newcomers includes passer Mehana Ma’a, a transfer from Cal State San Bernardino who helped her team go 33-0 and win the National Division 2 title in 2019.
Since they didn’t play last year, this will be the Gauchos’ first season without All-American forward Lindsey Ruddins in five years.
“You’re not replacing someone like Lindsey with just one player, but we’ll do it by committee,” Lantagne-Welch said. “We have a lot more balance in our attack, and this production of more areas of the field will make us more unpredictable.
“We will be young on the pitch, but athletic and deep. “
The UCSB will make their home debut on Friday, September 3 against San Diego State in the Gaucho Invitational. The Gauchos will then face Kansas State and Pepperdine on Saturday, September 4.