Teams: UC Davis vs. UC Irvine; UC Riverside
Records: Aggies, 11-13 (3-8); Anteaters, 12-11 (7-3); Highlanders, 8-17 (3-7)
Where: Bren Events Center – Irvine; Student Recreation Center – Riverside
When: Today at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: Last week, sophomore Kayla Varney was the catalyst for UC Davis‘ upset of Cal Poly, recording 14 kills and 15 digs.
This weekend, UC Davis will look to lean on her for some much needed offense as the Aggies rank seventh in both hitting percentage and kills in the Big West Conference.
“We played Kayla Varney all around and she was a definite high point for our team,” head coach Jaime Holmes said. “She was a sparkplug who took some big rips.“
Did you know? UC Davis is a combined 6-32 all-time against UC Irvine and UC Riverside.
Preview: Coming off last weekend’s upset over the Mustangs, the Aggies look ready to turn the corner.
They now have won three of their last four matches to rebound from a six-match losing streak.
“When a team goes out, takes the shackles off and decides just to go for it, they can play at a certain level and start to enjoy that level,” Holmes said. “Once a team starts winning, it breeds winning, just like losing breeds losing. Once you start experiencing those things, it makes you understand how to get it done.“
This weekend, the Aggies will make a run down the home stretch.
UC Davis currently sits at eighth place in the conference but only three wins back from fourth place.
Standing in its way on the first night is UC Irvine, which sits comfortably in third place.
The Anteaters are led by last year‘s Big West Conference and West Region Freshman of the Year Kari Pestolesi. This year, ranks third in the conference with 3.56 kills per game.
The Anteaters are first in the conference in assists (12.89 per game) and team kills (13.94 per game) while the Aggies sit at sixth and seventh in those categories, respectively.
The team proved the stat sheet irrelevant last week, though, against Cal Poly, and it’ll look to do it again.
On Saturday, the Aggies face off against the lesser of the two foes inUC Riverside.
The Highlanders have struggled offensively all year, ranking last in the conference in three major offensive categories (kills, assists, and aces).
Despite their offensive woes, sophomore middle blocker Shannon Moyneur is doing her job, leading the Big West with 1.43 blocks per game on the year. In the two teams‘ most recent matchup, Moyneur recorded 14 of her team’s 18 blocks for a 3-1 victory at the Pavilion.
MATT MILLER can be reached at email@example.com.