Teams: UC Davis at Cal State Fullerton; Long Beach State
Records: UC Davis (18-7, 9-2); Cal State Fullerton (13-10, 4-6); Long Beach State (14-6, 7-3)
Where: Titan Gymnasium – Fullerton, Calif.; Walter Pyramid – Long Beach, Calif.
When: Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: Junior outside hitter Kayla Varney was named Big West Conference Player of the Week as she averaged three kills and 4.29 digs per set for the weekend.
The Murrieta, Calif. native led the Aggies with 15 kills against No. 23 UC Irvine and 18 against UC Riverside. She is currently tenth in digs in the Big West with 3.34 per set.
Did you know? The win against No. 23 UC Irvine last weekend was the first time in program history that the Aggies have beaten a top 25 Division I team. The Aggies have also amassed their highest win total since 2000 with five more matches to go.
Preview: There is no hotter team in the Big West right now than the Aggies. They are currently riding a six-game winning streak and beat No. 23 UC Irvine in four sets last weekend to move them into sole possession of first place in the league.
“What separated us from Irvine is that we got better swings in transition,” said coach Jamie Holmes. “I think that had a lot to do with the rhythm and tempo. Usually the team with the most solid swings in transition will win the point.”
The Aggies will have to be on top of their game this weekend if they want to retain first place. It will not be an easy task as they go up against two strong conference foes in Long Beach and Fullerton.
Long Beach is still in contention for a Big West title and they would like nothing more than to take down the conference leaders.
“This is an important weekend going into Fullerton and Long Beach,” Holmes said. “We talk about having a bullseye on the wall and having a vision of the center of that bullseye.”
The Aggies are in the driver’s seat for the Big West title, but it will not be easy as this weekend’s road trip poses a challenge to the first-place Aggies.
– Kyle Hyland