It wasn’t the ideal venue for the Aggies.
UC Davis was forced out of the Pavilion this week due to chancellor’s events, instead being forced to play in less than favorable Hickey Gym.
“It definitely presents a home-court advantage for us,” said coach Jamie Holmes. “We just don’t like how 1940s it is. It is definitely a ghetto facility. We don’t even have a working scoreboard.
“It is probably the worst gym in the entire Sacramento area, including all high schools and junior highs.”
Despite the lack of aesthetic appeal, UC Davis won’t be too eager to leave Hickey after making quick work of both UC Riverside and Cal State Northridge – beating each squad three sets to zero.
With the victories, the Aggies improve to 18-3 on the season, 3-2 in Big West Conference action. UC Davis may also be one step closer to making an appearance in the national rankings after receiving eight votes last week.
Friday – UC Davis 3, UC Riverside 0
Coming off a pair of tough road defeats, a three-set win over UC Riverside was just what the doctor ordered.
The Aggies battled to a difficult first-set victory 27-25 before taking the next two sets by the more comfortable margins of 25-19 and 25-20.
Freshman Valerie Brain posted a team-high of 12 kills while sophomore Devon Damelio tallied eight.
On their own side of the net Caroline Mercado led UC Davis with 15 digs. Sophomore Jenny Woolway tallied 32 assists.
Holmes believed the contest represented a much-needed win.
“It was nice to be back at home this week,” she said. “It was big to start with a win.”
Saturday – UC Davis 3, Cal State Northridge 0
Saturday was more of the same for the Aggies.
UC Davis exploded out of the blocks, taking a 17-12 lead in the first set before winning the frame 25-19.
The Aggies didn’t let up from there, holding off a Matador surge in the second set to win 26-24 and finishing the 3-0 sweep in a hotly contested 25-23 third set.
Junior Allison Whitson posted 11 kills while Damelio and Brain added 10 apiece.
Mercado again led the Aggies with nine digs and Woolway tallied 20 assists. Lindsay Dowd added 15 assists, and provided a burst of energy for UC Davis late in the contest.
“[Dowd] is definitely a spark-plug for the Aggies,” Holmes said. “She is a team leader and she brings incredible enthusiasm to the court.”
While the Aggies faced a difficult challenge against the Matadors, the difference in the match according to Woolway was UC Davis’ never-ending effort.
“The hustle on the court was just a reflection of the work we put in practice,” she said. “We never give up and that’s a testement to how much we believe in this team.”
Despite the duo of wins, however, Holmes still believes her team can continue getting better – particularly around the net.
“We just need to continue working on a lot of some things,” she said. “Particularly blocking. We are putting up nice blocks right now, but we’re not finishing them. If we could block balls better these games wouldn’t have been as close as they were.”
The Aggies will continue their conference schedule Friday when they face Long Beach State in one of their most challenging matchups of the season. The 49ers are also receiving votes in the national volleyball poll and finished second in the Big West last season.
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at email@example.com.