It was a weekend of mixed emotions for the UC Davis women’s volleyball team, but one thing is for sure: it’s one they won’t soon forget.
Friday night’s game was packed full of individual achievements and team triumph as the Aggies outlasted Cal State Northridge 25-19, 25-19, 17-25, 23-25, 18-16. Seniors Allison Whitson and Caroline Mercado both achieved career highs in this match: Whitson set a personal best with 25 kills while Mercado set a personal record of 27 digs of her own.
The Aggies sent a clear message to the Big West community, proving that they do indeed belong among the top programs in the conference.
Saturday’s game against Hawaii marked the highly anticipated “Senior Night.” With the win, Hawaii achieved perfection in an unmatched 16-0 in conference for a perfect Big West record.
However, the night ended on a special note as each senior’s career was honored in front of the massive Davis crowd. Each athlete thanked the community of Davis for all their enthusiasm and support over the years.
Friday — UC Davis 3, Cal State Northridge 2
Second time has been the charm for the UC Davis women’s volleyball team this season, as they defeated yet another talented Big West team in their second meeting on the season.
UC Davis began the game still carrying feverish symptoms from their run of consecutive sweeps from last weekend, out-hustling, out-hitting and out-blocking the Matadors in the first two sets of the night.
The Aggies sported a 63 percent side-out conversion rate in game one and improved even more for a rate of .75 in game two with scrappy defense and overpowering offense.
However, CSUN recovered in a flash behind the stellar play of their junior setter Sydney Gedryn and made up for the deficit, evening the match at two games apiece.
Two extra sets of play gave the Aggies enough time to make some adjustments of their own as they battled back and knocked the Matadors down for good, winning the match with an incredible fifth-game score of 18-16.
Friday also marked yet another career milestone for Mercado. The graduating libero recorded her 1,000th career dig in the match, joining the ranks of just six other players before her. Senior defensive specialist Kaitlyn Plum also contributed 13 digs and a “never say die” attitude that has sustained UC Davis throughout the year.
Saturday — Hawaii 3, UC Davis 0
The Aggies fought hard to subdue the relentless Wahine attack, but ultimately Hawaii’s quest for perfection was too much to overcome as they went on to sweep UC Davis 3-0 late Saturday night.
“Hawaii is definitely a tough opponent for ‘Senior Night,’” said coach Jamie Holmes. “Our blocking tonight was a bit off, as was our attack in the middle. So the rhythm and synergy of our game was definitely challenged tonight.”
Saturday’s win for Hawaii also marked the 1,100th of head coach Dave Shoji’s exceptional career. Coach Shoji has been at the University of Hawaii since 1975 and is a lock for the Hall of Fame when he decides to put the clipboard down for good.
UC Davis will travel to the University of Pacific next Saturday to finish out this year’s season. The two teams last matched up on Sept. 22 and UC Davis won the match 3-1.
PK HATTIS can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.