Entering the second half of Big West Conference play, the Aggies wanted a big win to gain much needed momentum.
That’s exactly what UC Davis got in their powerful three set sweep of UC Riverside Saturday night.
“We executed very well on all sides of the ball,” coach Jamie Holmes said. “We took smart shots and made big plays when we needed to.”
From the opening serve, one knew it would be UC Davis’ night. In front of a packed house at Hickey Gym, the Aggies cruised to a first set victory, 25-16.
Junior Betsy Sedlak was a dominating force in the middle as the Pleasanton, Calif. native had seven blocks in the opening game. The Highlanders were unable to sustain any positive momentum, committing nine errors in the first game.
Sedlak’s intimidating performance didn’t stop in the first set. The middle blocker finished the game hitting .600 with 10 kills.
Holmes believes Sedlak’s strong play will be key for the Aggies down the stretch.
“[Sedlak] had a very good night,” Holmes said. “She settled down nicely and connected on all the chances she had.”
The second set was more of the same for the Aggies as they continued to capitalize off UC Riverside errors en route to a 25-11 victory. Whether it was by ace, block or kill, UC Davis was finding a way to score.
Like the previous two games, the third set belonged to the Aggies. With the 25-17 win, UC Davis took the match.
Sophomore Allison Whitson led UC Davis with 11 kills on the night. The smaller UC Riverside line-up had no match for senior Melanie Adams at opposite as she secured eight kills for the game.
The Highlanders were missing one of their strongest players due to a torn ACL. Holmes was still impressed with her team’s performance.
“It’s always nice to start the second half of conference play with a win and gain some confidence,” Holmes said. “We stayed focused all match and played very well.”
UC Davis currently sits in fifth place in the Big West, but just one game separates the Aggies from the first place UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.
The Aggies travel to south next weekend to take on UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton. UC Davis topped both teams somewhat easily earlier in the season at home. Nonetheless, Holmes isn’t going to take either game lightly.
“We’re going to take each match one point at a time,” Holmes said. “We’ll continue to play tough matches the rest of the season.”
JASON ALPERT can be reached at email@example.com.