Aug. 24, 2012
Murfreesboro, Tenn. -
Senior Allison Whitson tallied 16 kills while junior Devon Damelio added 14 to lead UC Davis to a 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 sweep of Furman at the Blue Raider Bash women's volleyball tournament, hosted by Middle Tennessee State.
The Aggies open the 2012 season at 1-0. The Paladins even their mark to 1-1, having defeated the tournament hosts earlier in the day.
Both Whitson (.412) and Damelio (.458) hit better than .400 for the day at the pins, helping UC Davis amass a team hitting average of .371. Senior libero Caroline Mercado scooped up 18 digs, sophomore middle blocker Victoria Lee tallied seven kills, a .545 attack rate and a pair of block assists. Jenny Woolway and Lindsay Dowd handled setting duties as part of the team's new 6-2 system, combining for 41 assists.
Senior Chandler Ambrester led Furman with 15 kills and a .333 average. The Paladins committed 11 service errors and managed just two aces against UC Davis' passing crew.
The Aggies actually struggled early in the match, with Ambrester putting away four kills in her team's 7-1 start. Damelio scored a kill and block assist to help UC Davis take the lead at 9-8. Lee and Whitson combined for three straight kills and Damelio served up an ace to cap a 4-0 run that put the Aggies to a 21-16 lead late in the first set.
UC Davis enjoyed a 7-1 run midway through the second set, helped by a pair of block assists from freshman middle Kaylin Squyres. Whitson was an errorless 6-for-13 on the attack while Damelio provided another five kills as the Aggies went to the break with a 2-0 match lead.
The third set brought the most dramatics, with 12 ties and four lead changes along the way. Again, Whitson had six kills and Damelio added five to lead UC Davis offensively. Squyres provided 4-16 hitting in the third. Her third block of the match capped a 4-0 run that turned a 16-15 deficit to a 19-16 Aggie lead. The Paladins never approached by closer than two points down the final stretch.
Furman is one of three strong Aggie opponents at the Blue Raider Bash, having posted a 19-12 record last season. Host MTSU went 21-12 in 2011, making its sixth straight NCAA tournament appearance. UAB went 23-9 and finished second in Conference USA a year ago.
The Aggies face UAB at 8 a.m. Pacific time on Saturday, then wrap up the tournament with a 3:30 PDT match against the host Blue Raiders.