Aggies head to Colorado State for non-league tilt

Nov. 21, 2017

Weekly Release No. 14 Get Acrobat Reader | Live Stats | Ram Vision

DAVIS, Calif. -- While the university’s final examinations do not begin until for another three weeks, UC Davis women’s volleyball has opted to impose a tough year-end test on itself. The Aggies close out their 2017 regular season on Saturday in a non-conference match at Colorado State, which claimed its 14th Mountain West Conference title this year.

Then again, when you’re representing the No. 6 public university in the country, and a school with the No. 1 veterinary medicine and agriculture programs, a great year-end test is part and parcel for head coach Dan Conners and his Aggie squad.

“Colorado State is a great team, one of the top schools in the country, and a great opponent for us to see where we’re at,” said Conners. “This gives our players the opportunity to play an NCAA tournament team at the end of the year. This will get us comfortable with that experience moving forward.”

The match will provide a bump in UC Davis’ RPI, regardless of outcome. Colorado State ranked 23rd in Monday’s AVCA Coaches Top 25 poll, and sits a consensus 33rd in all three of the NCAA RPI, the Rich Kern RPI and the Pablo Rankings. The Aggies’ national standing still carries some weight, especially with the return of the National Invitation Volleyball Championship this year. UC Davis ranked 133rd in the RPI through its last match, and any substantial uptick will put the team into the mix for the NIVC field. 

In all, the Aggies will finish no lower than a tie for fourth in the Big West standings, depending on UC Santa Barbara’s match at UC Irvine Tuesday night. The team also clinched a winning season, entering this weekend with a 16-13 overall record. 

Individually, three individual UC Davis players have either hit or are approaching key program milestones. Now with 529 digs for the year, junior libero Malia Bolko broke Nichole Brown’s season digs record. She needs 40 to surpass Mary McClelland (1,446 from 2001-04) for third on the school career list. In fact, Bolko will need 425 digs between the remainder of this season and her entire senior year to overtake Avreeta Singh (1,831 from 2006-09) for the UC Davis career benchmark.

Meanwhile, freshman Mahalia White led the Aggies with 13 kills in Thursday’s Big West finale with Hawai’i, raising her season total to 378. That marks the most by a UC Davis freshman, surpassing Allison Whitson’s 2009 first-year record of 370. White entered the conference’s top five in kills per set (3.50), and was one of our players in the Big West to average better than four kills per set (4.19) in conference play.

Finally, Kelechi Ohiri needs just seven blocks to match Kate DeVore (329, 1999-2001) for fifth on the school career list. Like DeVore, Ohiri amassed that total in three seasons – both players opted to graduate rather than playing a fourth year of eligibility. Oddly, Ohiri made her collegiate debut in Fort Collins, when UC Davis traveled to the Rams Volleyball Classic. She hit 5-0-7 against the host, then followed that with her record-setting 12-block performance vs. Baylor that weekend.

COLORADO STATE (27-3) reached as high as No. 19 in the national coaches’ poll before an upset loss to San Jose State on Nov. 11. The Rams ran away with the MWC title at 17-1, five wins ahead of runner-up Wyoming. They lead the MWC in hitting (.319), opponent hitting (.173), kills (14.15), blocks (2.85), aces (1.49) and, for that matter, attendance (2556 per home match). Sophomore MB Paulina Hougaard-Jensen, an alumna of the Denmark national team, leads the conference with a .470 average. The centerpiece of that offense is sophomore setter and 2016 All-America honorable mention Katie Oleksak. 

Live coverage of Saturday’s regular-season finale is available in the form of live stats via Sidearm and video via Ram Vision. All links are posted above. Match time is noon local, 11 a.m. Pacific.

QUICK SETS: Not counting the four-year Div. I reclassification period, in which the Aggies competed as an independent, all but one season in UC Davis women’s volleyball’s 44-plus years has ended in one of the following forms: a conference match, a Causeway Classic meeting with Sacramento State, or AIAW/NCAA postseason... The odd season out was 1989, when the Aggies wrapped up the year at Saint Mary’s... This is only the second meeting in the all-time series with Colorado State, after an Aug. 29, 2015 loss at the season-opening Rams Volleyball Classic.

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 winter sports are now on sale by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting us online at