Teams: UC Davis at Cal Poly; at UC Santa Barbara
Records: Aggies, 16-1 (2-0); Mustangs 5-10 (0-2); Gauchos 8-6 (1-1)
Where: Mott Gym, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; The Thunderdome, Santa Barbara, Calif.
When: Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Who to watch: After starting just three games last season, sophomore Devon Damelio has started all 17 of UC Davis matches this year.
The Fairfield, Calif. native has tallied 140 kills and 167 digs this season and will look to keep that going as the Aggies go on the road this week.
Did you know? With a pair of wins this week the Aggies have a chance to move into the national rankings. UC Davis’ 16-1 start garnered it 55 votes in the NCAA rankings poll released earlier this week.
Preview: The Aggies may be heading to the coast, but this week will be no trip to the beach. UC Davis will have their minds strictly on business as it looks to extend its 11-game winning streak.
While a winning streak might present some extra pressure for some teams, the Aggies are keeping their focus on their long-term goals.
“This team is really good at focusing on one game at a time,” said sophomore Jenny Woolway. “We know how to keep our eyes on the prize.”
Part of keeping their focus requires the Aggies continue critically evaluating themselves, even when they are winning. Even with the string of victories, Woolway knows the Aggies can still get better.
“There are always things that we can improve on,” she said. “We need to continue working, no matter how many games we’ve won. We need to work on keeping our momentum going over the course of a game, and not letting our opponents make big runs.”
UC Davis will be put to the test as they continue their Big West Conference schedule on the road this week.
The Aggies will open against Cal Poly, a team UC Davis struggled against last year – losing to the Mustangs twice, both by the score of three sets to one.
The schedule won’t get any easier as the week progresses, as UC Davis will square off against UC Santa Barbara on Saturday. The Gauchos have a record above .500 this season, and the home field advantage in the Thunderdome is known as one of the best in the Big West. The Aggies can expect a hostile crowd as UCSB will be in their first home contest of the year.
Despite the tough challenge ahead, the Aggies know that the games will come down to fundamentals.
“We just need to be solid on our passing and our hitting,” said junior Allison Whitson. “If we do that we’ll be good.”