Teams: UC Davis at Hawai’i; at Cal State Northridge
Records: Aggies, 10-10 (4-3); Warriors, 15-2 (8-0); 49ers, 13-7 (4-4)
Where: Honolulu, Hawaii; Northridge, Calif.
When: Thursday at 10 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m.
Who to Watch: Keep a close eye on the Aggies’ young guns this coming road trip. Sophomore middle blockers Victoria Lee and Katie Quinn have emerged as key components to UC Davis’ success this year.
These two may not be your team leaders in many statistical categories, but just their presence alone can be enough to help their team win.
Both players have the ability to block and smash a heavy ball at any point in the game. Once they have put that first ball down, opponent blockers have no choice but to pay attention to them.
With the defense keeping a close eye on Lee and Quinn, the rest of the UC Davis offense will have more opportunities to put away points of their own.
If UC Davis is to have success on the road, it won’t be without the stellar play of Lee and Quinn.
Did you know? The Aggies faced Cal State Northridge twice last season, winning the first in a sweep of three games 25-19, 26-25, 25-23.
The Matadors came back with a vengeance less than a month later and returned the favor with a 25-23, 25-16, 25-17 sweep of their own.
Because of the history of close scores and drastic swings in momentum, the Aggies will have to put a big emphasis on the small details to curb Northridge point streaks.
Preview: Aloha Aggies fans. Prepare yourself for the UC Davis Women’s volleyball team’s first ever trip to the University of Hawai’i this Thursday.
Yet, the Aggies don’t expect to be greeted with lustrous leis or fashionable muumuus. Hawai’i’s team will undoubtedly show up ready to play.
In fact, the Warriors’ record of 8-0 in the Big West Conference is enough to make any volleyball team shudder.
Both of their starting middle blockers, Jade Vorster and Kalei Adolpho, are ranked one and two, respectively, in Big West kill percentage.
If that doesn’t scare you enough, their outside hitter—Emily Hartong—leads the conference in kills per game and was last week’s Big West “Athlete of the Week.”
However, being a veteran of the sport, coach Jamie Holmes knows the mysterious ways in which the volleyball gods can work. With the right attitude and work ethic, anyone can beat anyone on any given night.
“It’s not a vacation. We’re not going to go to a luau,” Holmes said. “We’re there for business. Our mindset has to be a mindset that we are in it to win it.”
When the Aggies are passing and serving well, their offense is hard for anyone to manage. But, if they allow Hawai’i to take them out of rhythm, it could end up being a long night in a not so friendly paradise.
UC Davis will also play Northridge just two days later—yet another tough opponent on the road.
“Everything starts with the serve and pass game,” Holmes said. “And for us, we need to cover our hitters. We need to enjoy the atmosphere and not cower to it, but embrace it.”
— PK Hattis