Teams: UC Davis vs. Cal Poly; vs. UC Santa Barbara
Records: Aggies 12-6 (4-2); Mustangs 14-5 (4-2); Gauchos 10-8, (4-1)
Where: The Pavilion
When: Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: Melanie Adams is just one of two seniors in the Aggies this year, and she is certainly playing the part.
The El Dorado Hills, Calif. native tallied 25 total kills in UC Davis’ matches against Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton last weekend. Adams leads the Aggies in service aces and is fourth on the team in kills for the season.
Did you know? Junior middle blocker Betsy Sedlak continues to dominate the Big West Conference in hitting percentage, leading the conference by a substantial amount with a .440 percentage. Sedlak is also .005 percentage points away from the national lead in the category.
Preview: Last weekend’s slate of matches didn’t turn out how the Aggies wanted.
UC Davis will spend no time sulking the losses, however.
“Both matches this weekend will be really tough,” coach Jamie Holmes said. “We’ll have to prepare and work at practice. We also have to improve in some aspects of our game.”
UC Davis will attempt to rebound after a heartbreaking, fifth set loss at the hands of Cal State Fullerton last weekend on the road. The Aggies fought back from a one set deficit, only to fall in the deciding game.
There’s good news and bad news for the Aggies as they continue their trek through the Big West. The good news is they’ll return home for their next slate of matches. The bad news, however, is that UC Davis will match up against two of the top teams in the conference. UC Santa Barbara is tied for first with Cal State Fullerton while Cal Poly is tied with UC Davis for second place.
“We’ll have back-to-back weekends of playing top teams in the conference,” Holmes said. “Cal Poly is a good team and [UC] Santa Barbara has beaten some credible opponents.”
Holmes feels the Aggies have the ability to top both the Mustangs and Gauchos as long as UC Davis protects the ball and makes smart decisions.
“It will have to be more of the same from us,” Holmes said. “We’ll need to identify their tendencies on offense and try to disrupt them. We’ll need to serve, pass and block better.”
The one intangible UC Davis possesses over its opponents is the home-court advantage. While this weekend’s set of matches will only be the Aggies’ third and fourth at home games while school is in session, Holmes wants to see the Aggie Pack fill the bleachers.
“I think the familiar environment at home is fantastic,” Holmes said. “I hope the student body decides to back us up and get people into the stands to see the wonderful product we have here.”
– Jason Alpert