Women’s Volleyball preview

Teams: UC Davis vs. Cal State Northridge; vs. Hawaii
Records: Aggies, 15-13 (9-6); Matadors, 18-9 (9-5); Wahine, 22-2 (14-0)
Where: Pavilion — Davis, Calif.
When: Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m.
Who to Watch: It’s no secret that senior outside hitter Allison Whitson is an irreplaceable piece to the Aggies’ offense. But for those who haven’t noticed, the Palo Alto, Calif. native reminded everyone across the Big West with performances that garnered Player of the Week honors for the second time this year.

Whitson was the clear-cut winner this week after posting phenomenal stats against Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara over the weekend.

After recording 19 kills on Friday night against the Mustangs, Whitson came out firing again the following night against the Gauchos and managed to put away 20 more, totaling 39 in just six total games.

Whitson will need to bring her A-game this weekend as well, as UC Davis will take on two more tough opponents to close out the year at home, including Hawaii, who remains undefeated in Big West match-ups.

Did you know? This is the final home series of the year, making Saturday’s match-up against Hawaii the annual “Senior Night.”

With heavy hearts and puffy eyes, UC Davis will wave goodbye to seniors Whitson, Kaitlyn Plum and Caroline Mercado, three special players that have embodied hard work, consistency and Aggie Pride in every match they have played in.

But first, there will be business to attend to. Before each senior is sent off to their respective futures, UC Davis will take on the heavily-favored University of Hawaii Wahine, which is an unblemished 14-0 in conference.

If it is inspiration that the Aggies have lacked, look for there to be plenty of it to go around Saturday night as the Aggies will fight for the massive upset against their tropical foe. After all, what better way is there to go out, than as spoilers of a perfect season?
Preview: After enjoying two sweeps at the expense of Cal Poly and UCSB last weekend, UC Davis will return home in hopes of two more big wins against Cal State Northridge and the University of Hawaii.
The task will not be an easy one, as both CSUN and Hawaii bring a highly intelligent and competitive approach to each match.
“We will definitely want to take this one team at a time,” said coach Jamie Holmes. “Northridge always competes hard. What we need to do is be ready to battle with them and be fast in transition.”

As coach Holmes said, what will separate these two teams will be transition offense and defense, which involves each player being in the right spot for each play. The team that most frequently wins the long rallies will be a good measuring stick for the ultimate outcome.

“One of our strengths is our ability to come out and establish a physical game from the get-go,” Holmes said. “Against a good team like Hawaii, we’re going to have to contain some of their best hitters. That doesn’t mean we have to stop them by any means, but we’ll have to be able to slow them down.”

The task of stopping Hawaii’s explosive offense this season has appeared to be near impossible, and slowing them down appears equally as daunting.

Hawaii features an offense that lays claim to the top spots in hitting percentage and kills. Disrupting their tempo, if only for a few plays in a row, can be the key to a UC Davis victory this weekend.

UC Davis will also host a ceremony for this years seniors, as Saturday will be the final home game of their careers.

“I can’t believe it. I am so excited and proud of their careers,” Holmes said. “All three of them have brought so much to our program and I can’t imagine a season without them.”

— PK Hattis

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