The Aggies‘ topsy-turvy season continues.
The UC Davis women’s volleyball team was on the upside of things this weekend, earning its first Big West Conference victories to double last season’s conference win total.
The victories came on the road and at the expense of Cal State Fullerton (1-7, 5-16) and Cal State Northridge (11-11, 4-3), as the Aggies‘ stellar defense held the weekend opposition to a .166 hitting clip.
“I think we had more of a court presence this weekend,” head coach Jamie Holmes said. “It’s nice to be that squirrel that gets the nut.“
Senior team captain Renee Ibekwe led the team this weekend with 23 kills, securing the top spot in the conference in kills with 273 (3.96 per game) once again.
Friday – UC Davis 3, Cal State Northridge 0
Bring out the brooms because the Aggies have some Matador to sweep away.
For the first time in conference play and third time this season, UC Davis earned a clean sweep of its opponent, besting Cal State Northridge 25-22, 26-24, 25-20.
In the first frame, UC Davis stumbled out of the blocks as they fell to an early 13-17 deficit – but freshman Keala Peterson didn’t take notice. A sharp seven-point swing in favor of the Aggies was made possible by three Peterson kills, helping the Aggies to grab the first set.
Peterson came up big again for the Aggies when they needed her most at a 24-24 standoff in the second game.
A pivotal set-point kill by Peterson provided the stage for a Carson Lowden and Tori Hooper game-winning block against Matador ace Brittany Williams.
The box score of game three spelled out the collapse of Cal State Northridge, who shot .000 as a team – eight kills negated by eight hitting errors.
Ibekwe paced the Aggies with 13 kills and added eight digs. Peterson chipped in with a total of 11 kills on 25 swings.
Saturday – UC Davis 3, Cal State Fullerton 2
Only two points separated four of the five games in Saturday’s match (23-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 15-9) as the Aggies took their second road conference victory of the weekend.
Sophomore Kayla Varney did it all against Cal State Fullerton, recording team-highs in kills (13) and digs (22).
Freshman Katie Denny matched Varney’s total in kills with a .400 hitting percentage, while Arveeta Singh recorded Varney’s total in digs and notched in four assists to boot.
Behind the service line, sophomore Melanie Adams – who leads the team with .31 serve aces per game – launched five of the Aggies‘ nine aces over the net to go along with her seven kills on 34 swings.
“If you look at the stats, you’ll see a more balanced attack,” Holmes said. “We had 45 attempts from our middles. We had Mel get 34 swings from the back.“
Leading the court in kills were Titans standouts Erin Saddler and Brittany Moore, while libero Cami Croteau picked up 35 digs – also a match-high.
UC Davis will look to keep its newfound winning streak alive on Friday at Long Beach State.
MATT MILLER can be reached at email@example.com.