Sept. 22, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - Junior outside hitter Devon Damelio tallied 15 kills while sophomore middle blocker Victoria Lee hit .500 and posted a career-high 10 blocks to lead UC Davis to a four-set upset over Pacific in a Big West Conference women's volleyball match at the Pavilion Saturday night in front of a season-best crowd of 614. The Aggies won by scores of 25-22, 14-25, 25-19 and 25-20.
UC Davis evens its record at 7-7 and opens Big West play at 1-0. Pacific, among the teams receiving votes toward the AVCA Top 25 national poll, slips to 11-2 overall and 0-1 in league. The Tigers only previous loss had been against then-No. 8 Stanford in tournament action two weeks prior.
Damelio added nine digs and four blocks to her offensive contributions. Lee tallied seven kills with just one error, including perfect 4-for-4 attacking and three blocks in the fourth set. Sophomore Valerie Brain added nine kills with five blocks, junior setter Jenny Woolway engineered the offense with 40 assists and 12 digs, and senior defensive specialist Kaitlyn Plum served up two of her team's seven aces.
For Pacific, junior Megan Birch and freshman Kat Schulz each matched Damelio's match-high total of 15 kills. Junior middle Jennifer Sanders struck 12 kills and hit .417 on the attack while leading the Tiger net defense with four blocks.
In the first set, UC Davis ran out to an 11-5 lead when Plum served up both of her aces amidst a 4-0 run. The Tigers later rode three Birch kills and two Aggie attack errors to tie the frame at 14-14, then took their first lead when Sanders hammered a kill through the midcourt to make it 19-18. Setter Hannah Clancy put down a kill to give Pacific a 22-21 lead, but that proved to be the end of the Tiger scoring in the first. Lee figured on three straight Aggie blocks to end the set: a solo stuff, an assisted block with Damelio, then a rare triple block at the center of the tape for the winner.
The Aggie block continued to carry the load to start the second set, with sophomore Katie Quinn contributing on a pair of stuffs in a 3-0 start. However, Clancy served two aces in a Tiger comeback effort that erased UC Davis' lead and gave Pacific an 8-5 edge. The Aggies briefly reclaimed the advantage at 10-9 before the Tigers exploded for a 13-2 run. effectively taking the set for good. UC Davis managed only five kills in the second set while Birch exceeded that on her own with her six kills on the Pacific side of the tape.
After a close battle early in the third set after the break, UC Davis began to pull away with its serve and its block. Caroline Mercado and Woolway each had aces in a 5-1 run that put the tally at 14-9 in the Aggies' favor. Quinn teamed up on two different blocks to help extend that edge to 19-11. UC Davis saw its lead wither to just four down the stretch, during which sisters Allison Whitson and Pacific setter Kimmy Whitson faced off for a few points. The Aggies held on, as Quinn and Damelio scored back-to-back kills to end the Tiger comeback hope.
The Aggies never trailed in the fourth set. Lee figured on two blocks during her team's 8-3 start. The Tigers stormed back to just a 10-9 deficit behind Schulz' serving before Lee delivered two kills and another block to break the margin back to 17-12. Brain hit three kills in the final nine points to help maintain at least a four-point cushion the rest of the way toward the victory.
Saturday's victory marks UC Davis' third straight in the series against Pacific. Furthermore, it represented the first home win of the year for the Aggies, which had a relatively tough preseason schedule at the Pavilion.
UC Davis continues Big West play at home with matches against UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton on Sept. 28 and 29.