Aggies fall to Hornets in five-set rollercoaster

Sept. 5, 2017


DAVIS, Calif. - Junior outside hitter Emily Allen notched 15 kills and 22 digs while junior libero Malia Bolko picked up a season-best 27 digs, but UC Davis failed to protect an 8-2 start in the fifth set, ultimately falling to Sacramento State by scores of 25-17, 19-25, 25-22, 16-25, 15-13 in collegiate women's volleyball action at the Pavilion Tuesday night.

The Aggies fall to 4-3 for the year. The Hornets improve to 3-4. Tuesday's match was also the first meeting between the two schools in the annual Causeway Cup multi-sport competition, giving Sac State a 5-0 start to that race.

Allen was the only UC Davis player with double-digit offense, although players like Alexa Rockas (7-1-18), Lauren Matias (8-2-29) and Anna Donald (5-0-14) provided sparks on the attack. Junior middle blocker Kelechi Ohiri added eight kills and a .400 average to go with her team-leading five blocks.

For Sacramento State, senior left-sider Shannon Boyle posted a match-high 16 kills while matching setter Kenendy Kurtz' total of 22 digs. Junior Brie Gathright put down nine kills with just one error en route to a .421 clip.

UC Davis hit .310 in the second set and held its guest to just eight kills and .000 hitting in the fourth. However, untimely errors largely undid the Aggies, particularly in the first and fifth frames. The Hornets finished on a 12-2 run in the opener, turning a 15-13 UC Davis lead into a 25-17 Sac State win.

"In set one, we made 16 total errors when you combine ball-handling, nets, hitting errors and serving errors," said Aggie head coach Dan Conners. "You can't beat anybody when you make that many errors. Part of that is finding a rhythm and a personnel that works out, and being consistent. We have some young players who are getting opportunities, and they're learning. They've got a lot to figure out, and that's just part of the game."

The Aggie attacking errors fell from nine in the first set to just three in the second, helping to equalize the match at 1-1. Allen posted five kills while Donald came off the bench to provide 4-for-7 hitting and a block assist. In the fourth set, a total of 23 digs plus two team blocks limited Sacramento State to just eight kills. Junior Brianna Karsseboom scored three kills plus a service ace down the stretch, highlighting a 13-4 finish and forcing the rubber set.

"In sets two and four, when we just played steady and put pressure on them, we were fine," said Conners. "The sets we lost were not them beating us, but us beating ourselves. That's hard as a coach, because that's exactly what you try not to do. I want to do a better job as a coach, training them and preparing them to be a lot of more consistent."

Five different Aggies scored kills out of the gates in the deciding set, helping UC Davis craft an 8-2 lead at the changeover. But Hornet junior Mikaela Nocetti scored five of her six finale-set kills after that point. The Aggies held a 13-10 lead thanks to two late Matias kills, then Sacramento State answered with five straight. Gathright and opposite Sarah Davis combined on two blocks while Nocetti scored three kills in that 5-0 finish.

UC Davis held advantages in kills (63-57), aces (9-3) and digs (102-92) over the course of five sets, but also suffered more attacking errors (27-20), service errors (10-6), blocking errors (6-2) and ball-handling errors (2-0).

The Aggies return to action on Friday with the UC Davis Invitational, hosting Portland State, Boise State and Santa Clara during the two-day event.

Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. The No. 6-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation’s best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and plant and animal programs.

Season and single-game tickets for all UC Davis fall sports are now on sale by contacting the Athletics Ticket Office at (530) 752-AGS1 or by visiting us online at