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Davis, California

Monday, July 26, 2021

Column: Top stories roundup

Two quarters down, one to go.

Spring quarter – home to the day of Picnic and of Whole Earth – is now beginning. April showers will most likely bring May flowers (and my 21st birthday, but that’s not important right now).

With spring quarter comes a fresh start. That doesn’t mean, however, we can forget what has happened so far this year.

Here are some of the main Aggie sports headlines from fall and winter quarters.

Football wins Great West

It had been a little while. Two years, to be exact.

The UC Davis football team had losing records its first two years of Division I play after posting 37 straight winning seasons from 1970-2006.

That changed this season as the Aggies finished with a 6-5 record en route to winning their first Great West Conference championship.

In addition, the Aggies claimed the Golden Horseshoe with a 21-10 win over Cal Poly, their first win over the Mustangs since 2005.

UC Davis’ successful season also paved the way for the best recruiting class the school has ever seen.

“I think we answered a lot of questions, depth-wise, across the board at every position,” said coach Bob Biggs. “The quality of the people we recruited is as strong as we’ve ever had.”

Volleyball earns 20-win season

In 2007, the Aggies won four matches.

One season later, they tripled the total.

Then, this past fall, UC Davis posted 20 wins for the first time since 1996.

The phenomenal season was highlighted by a four-set win over No. 23 UC Irvine to take first place in the Big West Conference. The Aggies finished in a three-way tie for second.

Jamie Holmes received Co-Big West Coach of the Year honors while three other Aggies took home honorable mention awards.

While the loss of two four-year starters in setter Carson Lowden and libero Avreeta Singh will be tough on the Aggies, Holmes has the team primed to accomplish more big things in 2010.

Most of the team returns next season, including kill leaders Allison Whitson, Kayla Varney and Melanie Adams.

Sophomore middle blockers Katie Denny and Betsy Sedlak also return to the top blocking squad in the conference.

Swimming and diving takes it all

The men’s swimming and diving team finished the regular season 8-0.

So it’s no surprise to learn the Aggies captured the Big West title at the conference championships in February.

The women’s team, on the other hand, ended the season with a 5-6 mark and entered the league championships with an outside shot at overtaking defending champ UC Santa Barbara.

The Aggie women were in third after the first day, but moved up to second after two days of competition.

On the fourth and final day, the Aggies passed the Gauchos to claim the title.

“I’m thrilled for the gals,” said coach Barbara Jahn. “They pulled together as a team. … I’m very pleased with how they performed. I don’t know that I could’ve asked for anything more from them.”

Women’s basketball cuts down the nets

Haylee Donaghe couldn’t hold back the tears.

After UC Davis’ 80-52 win over Cal State Fullerton on March 6, the sixth-year senior talked about winning the Big West regular season title.

“I don’t think I could’ve seriously imagined a better [end],” Donaghe said. “I wanted to cut down the net so bad. To finally get to do it on my last night on Hamilton Court – I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

The conference championship was the first for the women’s basketball team during the Division I era.

Even though UC Davis was later cut down by UC Riverside in the conference title game, the Aggies took major strides this season.

Despite missing a chance to get in the big dance, one thing is for sure – it won’t be their last opportunity.

UC Davis returns all but two players. First-team All-Big West selection Paige Mintun will lead the way. The junior averaged 12.6 points and five rebounds per game this season.

MAX ROSENBLUM knows that of the events happening this spring, his 21st birthday is the most important. That’s not for a little while, though. Till then, he’ll be covering Aggie sports and can be reached sports@theaggie.org.

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