UC SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

What a great first impression Nicole Lantagne Welch and Ali Spindt have made on UC Santa Barbara volleyball and the league.

In her first year with UCSB, Lantagne Welch was named Co-Big West Coach of the Year while Spindt received Big West Freshman of the Year.

The Gauchos won 13 of their last 15 matches to tie for the league title and earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. UCSB plays at the University of San Diego on Friday.

Spindt is also First Team All-Big West along with teammates Ali Barbeau, Leah Sully and Katey Thompson. Freshman Phoebe Grunt earned All-Big West Honorable Mention.