Aggies head coach Jamie Holmes knew this weekend would be a tough road trip for her team. At the same time she felt confident with her team’s performance on the road as they began the season with 14 straight games away from home.
“I’m pretty encouraged,” Holmes said. “I think our team plays well on the road, and we’ll be able to get back into our on-the-road-routine.”
The road trip was not to be an easy one for the Aggies as they were set to face a strong team in UC Santa Barbara and a team with more talent than its record indicates in Cal Poly.
“UC Santa Barbara is doing some really good things, while Cal Poly has the potential to be really good,” Holmes said. “Athlete-for-athlete they play a lot higher over the net than we do. So I want us to do a really good job playing all out defense.”
The Aggies did not disappoint their coach taking down their conference foes in five exciting sets on both Friday and Saturday.
Friday – UC Davis 3, Cal Poly 2
On Friday night the Aggies took on the Mustangs of Cal Poly, a team with a lot of athleticism and talent. The Aggies found a way to squeeze past the Mustangs with a 19-25, 27-25, 22-25, 25-22, 15-12 victory in San Luis Obispo.
The Aggies were lead by freshman outside hitter Allison Whitson who tallied a match-high 20 kills while junior Kayla Varney had 14 kills and 17 digs to help lead the Aggies over the Mustangs.
Cal Poly and UC Davis had 25 total ties in the second and fourth sets both of which the Aggies won. The game four win sent the match into a deciding fifth set.
Freshman Kaitlyn Plum served up an ace while Varney and Kaite Denny each pounded a kill, getting the Aggies up 6-3 start in the final set. The Aggies never looked back from there as they kept the lead throughout the set, finishing off the Mustangs by a fifth-set score of 15-12.
Saturday – UC Davis 3, UC Santa Barbara 2
One night later, the Aggies traveled to Santa Barbara to take on the Gauchos. UCSB had never lost to UC Davis in 11 past matches between the two sides.
Even though history was working against them, the Aggies found a way to upset the Gauchos in the Thunderdome in five-set fashion, taking the last game 18-16.
The Aggies rallied behind Varney who tallied a team-high 18 kills while hitting at a .382 clip. Junior opposite hitter Melanie Adams added 13 kills and a pair of aces.
The victory pushed the Aggies’ record to 15-7 overall and 6-2 in conference play as they handed the Gauchos their first home loss of the season.
The victory over the Gauchos was big for the Aggies not only because it was their first against UCSB in school history, but also because it was against a team receiving votes in the national coaches’ poll.
The Aggies put their three-game winning streak on the line Saturday as they continue their road swing with a game at Cal State Northridge.
KYLE HYLAND can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.