The Aggies turn the table on visiting UC Irvine
Starting off slow after losing 15-25 in the first set, it looked as if the Aggies’ win from just a few days ago would be a one-time event. However, they came back with renewed vigor, taking the second set 25-22 and the third 25-23. The offensive stance they had started in the second peaked for the fourth and final set as they led the way to an 11 point win at 25-14, mirroring the result at the onset of the match.
Averaging over 15 total attempts per set, senior outside hitter Kaylin Squyres ended the match with 62, over a third of the 159 total attempts made by the Aggies throughout the game and 24 more than her closest teammate, junior outside hitter Kendall Walbrecht, who had the second most attempts.
“We need to get the middles and our right side more involved in the offense,” Head Coach Dan Conners said. “[Squyres is] a key player, she’s going to get a lot of sets. I think more balanced [offense] is going to help her and it’s going to help the team.”
Squyres also led with 25 kills, followed again by Walbrecht who ended with 13. Freshman libero Malia Bolko led her team with 17 digs.
A quick loss in the first set seemed to have little effect on the rest of the match, even fueling the team to attack the court relentlessly for the remainder of the match.
“The difference in the first set and the rest of the match was in the first set we gave them 18 of their 25 points,” Conners said. “We play a little better when we’re not giving up so many points. Less errors. Less hitting errors, less serving errors. That was the biggest thing.”
UC Davis hung on to a narrow lead for the majority of the second set, until they were overtaken by UC Irvine at 18-19. The game was tied up soon after at 20-all, with the Aggies bringing the score up to 23-20 in retaliation. The Anteaters made a last ditch effort to overturn the Aggies, gaining two in the process, and after fighting through a slew of long and exciting volleys they were silenced with the home team’s win.
“There is a time when you need to swing hard and put the ball away,” Squyres said. “I just try to have an aggressive mentality as often as I can. All the time really, I try to.”
By the end of the third, Squyres had opened up, battering UC Irvine with shots predominantly from the left side. Her persistence at the net was a large determining factor in the set-win of 25-23.
The Anteaters took the lead to start the fourth set but relinquished their hold as the Aggies blew past them at 7-6. In an exercise of domination, UC Davis became even more aggressive and put away their competitors in the second home game win on the new court at the Pavilion.
Two more games await UC Davis in their four-game homestand with the next one taking place against UC Santa Barbara on Thursday.