Let’s not kid ourselves. The rivalry that exists between Cal Poly and UC Davis is not exactly legendary in college athletics. It’s not as heated as that of Ohio State and Michigan and it doesn’t reach the same caliber as USC and UCLA. Yet, it is undeniable that any competition against our rivals from the Central Coast instantly becomes more interesting than “just another matchup.”
The women’s volleyball game Friday night was no exception. The Aggie Pack was out in full force in the Pavilion, the Band-uh were rocking out in those fisherman hats covered in buttons, and the possibility of victory over one of the hottest teams in the Big West hung thick in the air. Though coming off of a season in which they struggled mightily, Cal Poly is not only a perennial Big West contender, but a player on the national scene as well. Needless to say, this was a big game.
The teams appeared evenly-matched in the first set, battling back and forth constantly, with the Aggies ultimately taking a 1-0 lead. The Aggies survived the 10 ties throughout the first game with a combination of excellent defense by junior middle blocker Katie Denny and the strength of sophomore Kaitlyn Plum’s two service aces.
Unfortunately, from there the Ags were only occasionally competitive. On their way to being blown out in the second game by a score of 25-15, UC Davis allowed Cal Poly to go on a 12-1 run and the game was more one-sided than even the score would indicate.
The game was relatively close in the third set, with the teams deadlocked at 21, but after the Mustangs ultimately prevailed, the energy visibly left the arena and the Aggies team.
Though they didn’t completely roll over, the effort present in the previous games was not there for UC Davis, as they lost 25-18.
All in all, I’d say that the game was a positive learning experience. The Aggies remain in fourth place in a tight Big West race at 4-2, only one game back of conference leader Cal State Fullerton. If they are able to get their hitting percentage above the .157 that they hit against Cal Poly, and control the amount of hitting errors, the solid defense that they played can keep them contenders.
- Steven Vote