Teams: UC Davis at UC Irvine
Records: Aggies, 18-5 (4-4); Anteaters 7-11 (2-5)
Where: Crawford Court – Irvine, Calif.
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: Sophomore Jenny Woolway is the driving force behind the UC Davis team.
The San Diego native has played in 79 of the Aggies’ 84 sets this season and has tallied 849 of the team’s 1066 assists. She has also proven to be effective going forward, with a .305 attack percentage.
Woolway will need to be at the top of her game if the Aggies plan to get back on track against the Anteaters.
Did you know? After starting the season 16-1, the Aggies have gone 2-4 over their last six games.
All four of those losses have come on the road, and UC Davis has won just two sets in those four defeats.
Preview: Coach Jamie Holmes has constantly harped on her opinion that the Big West Conference will be decided by which team wins on the road.
The Aggies have struggled in league play away from Davis, but they will have a prime chance to get back to their winning ways on Friday.
UC Irvine is just 2-5 in conference this year and 1-2 on their home floor.
Despite the Anteaters underwhelming record, the Aggies are still planning to give 100 percent this week.
“To beat Irvine, we’ll have to work hard in practice,” Holmes said. “If we take our work seriously and take our contacts seriously, I know we can go down there and be successful. It will take a work ethic and a desire.”
The team’s effort will be important as they enter a key portion of the season.
UC Davis is currently two games behind conference leader Long Beach State with eight Big West matches remaining.
With vital contests ahead, Holmes is placing the emphasis on her upperclassmen to lead the team.
“They are our leaders. Where they go, so goes the team,” she said. “That’s pressure on me to hold them accountable, and it’s pressure on the seniors and juniors to hold themselves accountable.
“That’s how we win ballgames.”
– Trevor Cramer