Volleyball heads to Central Coast for two matches

Junior OH Emily Allen (center) will play in front of a hometown crowd at UC Santa Barbara Saturday. (Wayne Tilcock, AggiePhoto.com)
Nov. 6, 2017

Weekly Release No. 12 Get Acrobat Reader | Live Stats (Friday) | Live Audio (Friday) | Live Stats (Saturday)

DAVIS, Calif. -- The annual trip to California's Central Coast can be a daunting one for any Big West Conference women's volleyball team, and UC Davis is certainly no exception. Now in fourth place in the league standings, the Aggies make that trip this weekend with tilts at Cal Poly (Friday) and UC Santa Barbara (Saturday).

Both matches carry different types of significance in the overall Big West picture. No. 22 Cal Poly is the league's only member in the AVCA Top 25, with only Hawai'i coming close to a match win. UCSB looks to leapfrog past the Aggies into fourth in the conference standings.

UC Davis head coach Dan Conners welcomes the challenge of facing tough teams down this final stretch of the season. Not only does his Aggie team take on Cal Poly and UCSB, but it will host Hawai'i for Senior Day on November 16 before heading to No. 19 Colorado State for the 2017 finale.

"It's good to be tested, and we definitely will be this weekend. We're playing well, but so are they," said Conners. "We still have a young team, so going into these matches and seeing how we compete will be a good experience regardless. All four of the teams we finish with are very strong opponents. I want to see how we respond to the challenges at the end of the season."

UC Davis has enjoyed contributions from throughout its roster in recent weeks. Freshman OH Mahalia White picked up her fourth Big West Freshman of the Week award in the past five weeks. Junior libero Malia Bolko had 43 digs in last week's wins to claim Defensive Player of the Week. Junior OH Brianna Karsseboom, who hit 18-2-35 (.457) during the previous road trip, led the Aggies in kills in each victory last week. UC Davis also enjoyed top performances from MB Kelechi Ohiri (1.75 blocks per set), MB Lauren Jackson (.636 hitting), setters Paloma Bowman and Maddie Merlino (.280 team hitting), junior OH Emily Allen (.340 hitting) and sophomore MB Jackie Graves (1.00 bps) last week.

CAL POLY (22-2, 12-0) has now won a program-record 17 straight matches after its Blue-Green rivalry win over UC Santa Barbara. Sisters Adlee and Torrey Van Winden posted kills totals of 20 and 13, respectively, in Friday's victory. Both siblings rank among the Big West's top five in kills per set. UC SANTA BARBARA (6-17, 5-6) picked off the second set in Friday's Blue-Green matchup in San Luis Obispo. Last year's Big West Freshman of the Year Lindsey Ruddins highlighted the Gaucho side of the net with a match-high 26 kills. She leads the conference at 5.68 per set -- almost a full kill per frame ahead of second-place Toree Van Winden (4.69). Ruddins has amassed 20-plus kills in six straight matches, a span that includes a 26-6-59 (.339) night against UC Davis on October 17.

Live stats for both matches are available via Presto Sports, while Cal Poly also has live audio on Stretch Internet. Links are found above.

QUICK SETS: In her previous three matches, junior MB Lauren Jackson has posted attacking lines of 8-1-16 (at CSUN), 7-0-8 (vs. CSF) then 8-1-14 (vs. UCR) for a three-match total of 23-2-38 (.553)... Saturday's match against UC Riverside was dedicated to the memory of Gary Colberg, but Thursday's match with CSF was every bit a tribute... Sisters Paloma Bowman (UC Davis) and Nastassja Bowman (CSF) handled setting duties on either side of the match... Their families plus Debby Colberg, the Bowmans' coach at Five Starz VBC, sat right in the middle of the court... Paloma also had the honors of walking Debby onto the Pavilion floor during Saturday's prematch ceremony.

Thursday's win over Cal State Fullerton saw the highest Aggie attack average (.383) since Nov. 9, 2012 (.385 vs. Cal Poly)... The minus-.078 marks the first time the Aggies have held a team to negative hitting since Arkansas-Pine Bluff managed 20-25-89 (-.056) on Sept. 2, 2011... Those two matches are the only such instances of sub-.000 opponent attacking in the school's Div. I era (since 2007)... UC Davis' overall defensive leaders continue to rank high among Big West statistical standings... Malia Bolko (5.02) is the only player in the league with better than five digs per set, while Kelechi Ohiri moved into third at 1.07 blocks per set... Jackson also climbed into the top five at 0.98.

ABOUT UC DAVIS: Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. The No. 6-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and plant and animal programs.

DON'T MISS OUT!: Season and single-game tickets for all UC Davis fall and winter sports are now on sale by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting us online at UCDavisAggies.com.