Sept. 14, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS - Senior Allison Whitson and junior Devon Damelio each tallied 11 kills to lead UC Davis to a 25-20, 25-19, 25-14 sweep of tournament host Butler in the Friday nightcap at the Butler Invitational held in historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. The victory was the second of two sweeps for the day, as the Aggies dispatched Kent State by scores of 25-13, 25-12, 25-19 earlier.
UC Davis evens its record to 6-6 overall.
Whitson supplied a double-double of 11 kills and 11 digs in the win over the host Bulldogs. Sophomore Valerie Brain contributed 10 kills and .321 hitting while senior libero Caroline Mercado notched 13 digs. Junior setter Jenny Woolway provided 36 assists and lead UC Davis with 15 digs.
Both Aggie sophomore middles enjoyed solid matches for the day. Katie Quinn combined for 12-3-23 and nine blocks in the two matches while Victoria Lee was 10-1-23 on offense and posted 12 blocks on net defense across the six sets.
Damelio ignited UC Davis from the start against Butler, scoring two kills and a block assist during a 4-0 run that put the board at 10-6 in the Aggies' favor. The Bulldogs fought back to within two points on two different occasions before Damelio and Lee teamed up for consecutive blocks to set the lead at 15-9. Whitson later pounded out three kills to bump the margin to 21-13, Butler managed two late blocks to hold off set point before Valerie Brain knocked down the winner.
In the second set, the Dawgs held a brief 9-8 lead behind a kill and ace from Rachel Barber. The two teams traded points through six ties before Lee and Brain each scored a kill and block in a 3-0 run to make it 17-14 for UC Davis. Damelio tallied a block assist and a kill to help the Aggies finish the frame on a 4-1 roll en route to a 2-0 match lead.
After the break, Whitson and Damelio had two kills while Mercado served up a pair of aces to send UC Davis to a 13-4 start in the third. Two kills from freshman Belle Obert - who grew up near Davis in Loomis, Calif. - helped Butler cut the deficit to 13-8, but that proved to be the last chase for the hosts. Whitson provided two kills and an ace to help the Aggies score five of the next seven, all but putting the match out of reach.
Butler is coached by Sharon Clark, formerly Sharon King, who mentored UC Davis in the late 1990s. Additionally, 1996 All-American setter Camille Gutierrez serves as the Bulldogs' assistant coach.
In Friday's early match against Kent State, Whitson hit 17 kills and compiled a .387 attack rate to lead UC Davis to a 62-minute sweep. Lee added four kills and seven blocks, Damelio hit an errorless 4-for-11 with four blocks, and Mercado scooped up 15 digs.
As a team, the Aggies posted 10.5 team blocks, helping to hold the Golden Flashes to minus-.061 offense in the first two sets. Furthermore, other than Kent's 2-1 start in the first set, UC Davis never trailed in the entire match. Lee had three of the team's 4.5 combined stuffs in the opening set, including two in a 6-0 Aggie run in the early going. Whitson had three kills in the final five points while senior Kaitlyn Plum served up an ace to help UC Davis close out the match with a 7-2 stretch.
Whitson hit six of her team's 11 kills and Lee figured on four of the Aggies' five blocks in the second set. In fact, UC Davis never surrendered consecutive points by the Flashes in taking a 2-0 match lead.
Kent State improved from its 20 combined hitting errors in the first two sets to a .407 average in the third, but could not match the Aggies' explosive offense. Whitson hammered home seven more kills to lead six players with two or more winners. Sophomore Mary Schroeder came off the bench to chip in 3-for-5 attacking, including two in a string of five unanswered UC Davis tallies. Setters Woolway and Lindsay Dowd combined for 17 assists in that set.
Friday's victories marks the first time the Aggies have posted two 3-0 sweeps on a single day since September 2 of last season, when they knocked off Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Texas-Arlington in tournament action at Tulsa.
The Aggies close out the Butler Invitational with a single match against Southeast Missouri State on Saturday at 11 a.m. PDT.