University set for first-ever varsity home game

FRESNO, Calif.

The women's volleyball team is set to play the university's first ever varsity home game for any sport in the university's history.

"It feels good because we know we're making history here at UC Merced, and we're just going to keep growing as the years go by," student athlete Valeria Martinez said.

The team is one of four on campus that joined the California Pacific Conference in the National Association Of Intercollegiate Athletics this fall.

"Men's and women's cross country, women's volleyball and men's basketball are all our varsity sports this year," David Dunham, Director Of Athletics and Recreation, said.

The volleyball team's young women will be the first to compete at the varsity level in front of a home crowd when they take on Pacific Union.

"It feels exciting. We're coming in as the underdogs and the new kids and we don't want to drop the ball our first game out," UC Merced volleyball player Caroline Mack said.

The team's coach says he's been using his experience to help get them ready for the big night.

"The biggest thing is I've been coaching in the conference for a few years back at Holy Names University and I know the conference, I know the teams, I know how it's ran, so the girls are getting ready for that. They're training hard, and they're ready to play," women's volleyball coach Allen McCreary said.

Dunham is expecting a sell-out crowd for the first match and sees a bright future for all of the Golden Bobcats' teams in the NAIA.

"We get recruiting requests every day through our website. The students around the state, even some out of state are really excited, they're interested, which is good for us. And it's gong to be good to help us grow our student body," Dunham said.

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