By Nicole Ramsey

It wasn’t an easy win for the UC Santa Cruz women’s volleyball team on Friday, at the crowded East Field House gym. Despite tight quarters for bo th players and fans, the Slugs pulled energy from the crowd, which helped lead the team to a 3-1 victory over Holy Names University—the first of two big wins over the weekend.

“We had a really slow start the first two games,” Coach Selene Teitelbaum said. “[But] in the third and fourth game we really picked it up and played solid.”

Aside from the tough competition, the team had to face the obstacle of adapting to its sudden relocation from their home at the West Field House gym to the unfamiliar and cramped East Field House gym due to construction. Despite the overcrowded gym and lack of seating for their fans, the team is making the best of the situation.

“It was hard at first because there was not that much room for us and no bleachers for our fans,” junior Daniella Reagan said. “But it creates a very intimate setting between us and the fans who cheer us on.”

The team continues to make the most of their new location.

“We still make it our home,” Teitelbaum said. “We play for the crowd.”

On Saturday the Slugs traveled to Oakland where they battled Mills College in a close match, finally pulling out a 3-2 victory. Though they came through with a win, some players thought they underestimated the other team, which made for the close match.

“It wasn’t our best game and the other team played 110 percent,” senior and team captain Nicole Payne said. “But we pulled through and got many of our players out on the court.”

The Slugs, now 11-13 overall and 6-10 in Division III, started preparing for their season during the summer, bringing together a number of key players from last season along with some talented freshmen. Their hard work over the summer definitely shows out on the court.

“We have a huge team,” Payne said. “[And our] team has great chemistry,”

The Slugs are optimistic about the rest of the season and their goal is to make it to the regional playoffs. There are only a few weeks left in the regular season and they continue to train both physically and mentally for the rest of their games.

The team travels to Hayward this weekend to participate in the Wild West Shootout Tournament and will be back at home Tuesday to take on CSU East Bay.