Teams: UC Davis at UC Santa Barbara; at Cal Poly
Records: Aggies 16-10 (7-6); Gauchos 15-12 (8-5); Mustangs 19-7 (9-4)
Where: Thunderdome – Santa Barbara, Calif.; Robert A. Mott Gymnasium – San Luis Obispo, Calif.
When: Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: Senior Kayla Varney is on pace to accomplish something few Aggies have ever done.
The Murrieta, Calif. native needs 58 digs over the Aggies’ final three matches to reach 500 in a season. Should Varney amass 500 digs, she will join Nichole Brown and Avreeta Singh as the only UC Davis players to do so.
The outside hitter/libero will need to average 19.6 digs per contest to reach the plateau. History is on Varney’s side as she totaled 63 digs in her previous three matchups against Pacific, Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara – the Aggies’ final three opponents for the season.
Did you know? It’s safe to say UC Davis’ game at Cal Poly will be in a hostile environment.
The Mustangs have averaged 1,048 people per Big West Conference home game. The highest attended Aggie home game this season was 856 against the same Mustangs.
Preview: It doesn’t get any easier for the Aggies from here.
One week after facing the top two teams in the Big West Conference, UC Davis will travel to face third place Cal Poly and fourth place UCSB.
Coach Jamie Holmes believes how well the Aggies do this weekend will come down to the offensive movement of the ball.
“This weekend will be determined on our ability to pass,” Holmes said. “We’ve been working on this at practice a lot this week. We need to be efficient on offense and not force as many errors.”
Unforced errors were a big factor in the Aggies’ two losses over the weekend. As a result, the Aggies are mathematically eliminated from winning an outright Big West title. UC Davis sits three and a half games out of first with just three games left on the year.
Even though the Aggies aren’t playing for a Big West banner, Holmes believes there is still plenty to compete for.
“We’re playing for pride, a winning record in conference play and to finish as strong as we possibly can,” Holmes said. “And I don’t want to eliminate this: we’re playing for our seniors, who have dedicated four years of their lives – their blood, sweat and tears – to success. We work hard and we definitely don’t want to be the dog that lays down and dies.”
– Jason Alpert