This was the match the Aggies were waiting for. This was their chance for redemption against No. 23 UC Irvine. This was their chance to take sole possession of first place in front of a home crowd.
“Though the stakes are high, I think the team is relaxed and ready to play,” Coach Jamie Holmes said before the match. “I hope to see the band and some rowdy students.”
Over 750 Aggie faithful showed up strong for Holmes and her team Friday night at Upper Hickey Gymnasium.
With the stage set, the Aggies did not disappoint as they defeated the Anteaters in four sets 25-22, 18-25, 25-17, 25-22. The win gives the Aggies sole possession of first place in the Big West Conference and a step closer to a league title.
On Saturday, the Aggies hosted UC Riverside with similar results as they swept the Highlanders 25-19, 25-23, 25-11. The wins give UC Davis a six game winning streak, their longest since the start of the 1999 season.
Saturday – UC Davis 3, UC Irvine 1
The Aggies faced a ruthless crowd when they visited UC Irvine earlier this year.
“When we were down there [in Irvine], their fans were down right rude,” Holmes said. “I hope we can return the favor, but do it in good spirit by keeping it classy.
The Aggies did keep it classy as they beat Irvine behind a respectful but rowdy crowd of almost 800 fans.
Junior outside hitter Kayla Varney posed a team-high 15 kills while sophomore middle blocker Katie Denny lead the Aggies with a .412 hitting average.
The Aggies had a well-balanced attack against the Anteaters, led by senior setter Carson Lowden. Freshman outside hitter Allison Whitson had 14 kills on 34 swings while sophomore Betsy Sedlak and junior Melanie Adams each had 8 kills in the match. Senior libero Avreeta Singh lead the Aggies with 19 digs.
The Aggies split the first two sets with UC Irvine before heading into a pivotal third set. Both teams were locked into five ties up until 14-14.
The Aggies’ attack took over, scoring three straight points to give UC Davis a 17-14 lead, one that they would never surrender.
With the win, the Aggies catapulted past UC Irvine into first place in the Big West.
UC Davis 3, UC Riverside 0
The Aggies put their first place standing on the line the next day against UC Riverside, taking care of the Highlanders in three sets.
Varney had 17 of her game high 18 digs in the first two sets. Sophomore middle blocker Sedlak contributed on six of her team’s eight third-set blocks to lead the Aggies over the Highlanders.
The Aggies are riding a six game winning streak going into next Friday against Cal State Fullerton. The Aggies control their own destiny as they need to win out the rest of their conference games to capture their first Big West title.
KYLE HYLAND can be reached at email@example.com.