Sept. 1, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. -
Tournament MVP Chaniel Nelson tallied nine kills while Emily McGee recorded a team-best 12 to lead North Carolina to a 25-16, 25-22, 25-17 sweep of UC Davis in the final match of the Aggie Invitational women's volleyball tournament at the Pavilion Saturday evening.
Junior Devon Damelio led the Aggies with 14 kills with just two hitting errors in 30 swings, compiling a .400 hitting average. She also had eight digs and three blocks against UNC, helping her earn all-tournament honors. Senior Allison Whitson recorded a double-double of 10 kills and 12 digs.
UC Davis moves to 2-4 for the year.
In Saturday morning's action, UC Davis battled back from a 2-0 match deficit to force a fifth set against Santa Clara, eventually losing by scores of 19-25, 17-25, 25-19, 25-22 and 6-15. Whitson led the Aggies with 14 kills and Damelio added 11, but it was the play of middles Victoria Lee and Katie Quinn that particularly helped the UC Davis comeback effort. Lee hit nine kills with just one error for a .533 average while Quinn was an errorless 9-for-21 with two block assists.
Despite a combined 10-1-18 hitting from Whitson and Damelio in the first set, North Carolina posted a decisive win behind its .444 attack rate. Chaniel Nelson served three tough points in a 4-0 ran that gave the Tarheels an 8-3 start, then Kayla Berringer's solo block and an Aggie net violation increased the stretch to six unanswered. Damelio had a kill and a block assist on successive points to cut the margin to 15-9 later in the frame, but UNC responded with three straight to bump its lead back to nine. The Tarheels rode out that lead the rest of the way.
UC Davis fell into an early 3-0 hole in the second set but found its stride soon after. Sophomore middle Victoria Lee smashed a 1-set into a gap in the UNC defense to give the Aggies its first lead at 13-12. The 'Heels regained the lead later in the set until Damelio's ace sparked a 4-0 Aggie run, bringing the score to 19-17 in the host's favor. UC Davis led as late as 22-21 on Whitson's tool near the left antenna, but UNC responded with the final four points with an ace for the winner.
The Tarheels again crafted a quick lead out of the gates in the third set, but UC Davis rallied back. Whitson had a kill and a block to put the Aggies up 9-7, then senior defensive specialist Kaitlyn Plum picked up four digs in a long rally that resulted in a Damelio kill, boosting UC Davis to its largest lead of 10-7. The Tarheels then responded with 12 of the next 14 points, with setter Cora Harms ringing up two kills and two aces amidst that run. The Aggies never recovered, and UNC scored three straight to finish the sweep.
In Saturday's opener, middles Megan Anders and Haley Cameron figured heavily in Santa Clara's first-set win, hitting a combined 8-for-11 with no errors, including five kills in the 13-8 start. Anders hit back-to-back kills in a 3-0 run to boost the lead to 16-10. UC Davis came back to within four points on four separate occasions but never came closer to equalizing.
In the second set, the Broncos served up four aces, after committing as many service errors in the first set. Four miscues -- one at the service line and three on the attack -- allowed UC Davis to assemble a 5-1 run, then kills by middles Quinn and Lee put UC Davis to within a 19-16 deficit. However, the Broncos scored six of the final seven points, getting two blocks and a kill from senior Kayla Lommori.
UC Davis bounced back for the third set, riding a Damelio kill and a Plum ace to an 8-4 lead. Whitson scored a key block to make it 11-6, then later dropped in a kill from the back row to bring the score to 14-8 in the Aggies' favor. Damelio had four kills in the third while Lee went 3-for-4 to help UC Davis prevent the Bronco sweep.
Whitson had two kills and two digs in a run of six unanswered to help UC Davis transform a 6-2 deficit to an 8-6 lead to start the third. The Aggies extended the margin to 14-8 on Lindsay Dowd's reverse tip followed by a Whitson/Quinn block assist. However, SCU fought back to within three points on several occasions down the stretch, threatening to close the match in four. Whitson pounded a big four set to put 23-20 on the board, SCU missed a shot long, then Damelio's off-tape shot fell in for the set-winner.
As well as UC Davis had fought back in the third and fourth, the Broncos regained their composure in a dominating fifth set. Anders had two kills of her 4-0-9 hitting to light a 6-1 SCU start, and her team held at least a four-point edge the rest of the way. Anders had a block and a kill in the Broncos' final 4-0 run as well.
North Carolina won both of its matches in a total of 148 minutes, sweeping Santa Clara by scores of 25-17, 25-19, 25-16 in Saturday's lone neutral match. Nelson had 13 kills and a .333 hitting average. Libero Ece Taner posted 21 digs against the Broncos, the highest total by any player throughout the tournament.
UC Davis continues tournament action at the Fresno State Classic on September 7 and 8 before returning home for a match against San Francisco on September 11.