When the last volleyball bounced off the court Saturday, the Aggies were left with an all-too-familiar bad taste in their mouths.
For the third straight weekend, UC Davis (8-11, 0-6) suffered back-to-back Big West Conference losses.
The first defeat came in four sets against UC Riverside (7-13, 2-3), and the other was a quick sweep, courtesy of UC Irvine (8-10, 3-2).
Afterward, UC Davis head volleyball coach Jamie Holmes was left wanting more.
“I thought both nights we played very slow, boring volleyball,” she said. “I have to be honest, our venue was quiet but we didn’t do anything to make our venue any better or louder and say to our fans, ‘I gotta get out to the Pavilion to watch the Aggies play,’ and that’s a direct challenge to our leadership of our team and what kind of atmosphere you are creating on our side of the net.”
A combined total of 340 fans came out to watch the matches this weekend, a total that Holmes relates to her team’s play.
“When volleyball is played well it’s a very exciting sport to watch,” Holmes said. “But when you play it poorly, like we did, it’s not.”
Friday – UC Riverside 3, UC Davis 1
Three times the Aggies led late. Three times the Aggies couldn’t finish.
Despite being outscored by only four points on the night, UC Davis lost in four sets to the Highlanders, 25-22, 26-24, 21-25, 28-26. In each of those three lost sets, the Aggies held the lead with only five points or less separating them from a win but were unable to close it out.
“When push comes to shove,” Holmes said, “we need more players to step up. We stay in the process all night long but we need for more players to give us those momentum points.”
The Aggies did get a match-high 20 kills out of senior Renee Ibekwe, who was also active defensively with 16 digs for the double-double.
Leading the court in digs for the night was libero Avreeta Singh with 23, and opposite Chantal Paschetta served up three aces – another match high.
“Statistically, in pretty much every area we’re right there,” Holmes said. “We have to finish off the teams but we just don’t.”
Saturday – UC Irvine 3, UC Davis 0
For the third time in the last four matches, the Aggies were swept by a conference foe.
UC Irvine was the executor this week, winning 25-17, 25-19, 25-21 in 69 minutes, the Aggies’ shortest match of the year.
The Anteaters were propelled by their impressive .333 hitting percentage for the match while the Aggies managed only a .196 clip as a team.
Ibekwe paced the Aggies with nine kills, while Paschetta and sophomore Kayla Varney both added eight.
On the opposite side of the net, the Anteaters were led by Kari Pestolesi who recorded her 11th double-double of the season with her 12 kills and 10 digs.
MATT MILLER can be reached at email@example.com.