Sept. 29, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - Senior Allison Whitson and sophomores Valerie Brain and Victoria Lee each tied or set career highs in kills, but UC Davis was unable to protect a 2-1 match lead in a five-set Big West Conference loss to Cal State Fullerton Saturday night. The set scores were 28-26, 19-25, 22-25, 25-16, 15-11.
The Aggies even their record to 8-8 overall and 2-1 in conference.
Whitson led UC Davis with 24 kills to match her previous best, set against Utah Valley earlier this season. Brain tallied 15 kills for the fourth time in her career, hitting .316 for the match. Lee smacked 12 kills against just one error for a .423 average. As a team, the Aggies collected 95 digs, led by seniors Caroline Mercado and Kaitlyn Plum with 25 and 19, respectively.
For the Titans, senior Kayla Neto delivered a match-high 27 kills on 75 swings while Bre Moreland and Leah Best contributed offensive totals of 15 and 12. Senior libero Gabrielle Dewberry led all players with 31 digs.
Best and Lauren Kissell each hit a pair of kills amidst a 7-2 run to lift Fullerton to a 15-9 lead in the opener but he Aggies fought back with three straight points to halve the lead to three. UC Davis later took an 18-16 lead after a 5-0 run, jumped up to 22-19 on Mercado's consecutive aces, and held a 24-22 set point after Whitson's side-out kill. But the Titans scored six of the next eight to snipe the first set.
The Aggies responded well in the second, as Brain's five kills kickstarted a 12-4 edge. In all, UC Davis hammered out 18 kills and hit .368 in that frame. Brain was 6-for-11 with no errors. She also posted a solo stuff during the quick start.
The two teams battled to 14 ties in the third set, exchanging scoring runs and trading eight lead changes. Best had two blocks and a kill in a 4-0 Fullerton run to give the Titans a 13-9 lead. Damelio teamed with Katie Quinn on a block then put down a kill in a 4-0 Aggie run to tie the set back to 13-13, only to see Best post two kills in a 3-0 run that restored the CSF edge to 16-13. As the Titans had done in the first, the Aggies pulled away with a strong finish, scoring four of the last five points. Whitson had kills on UC Davis' 21st, 24th and 25th points in the win.
However, the Aggies' offense struggled in the fourth set, managing just eight kills and a .062 average while converting just 43 percent of its side-out opportunities. Neto had six kills in the fourth, including the 20th of the match to push the Titan lead to 19-11. She followed with an ace to make it 20-11 while Fullerton never allowed its host to within less than seven the rest of the way.
Neto continued to power the Titans in the fifth, scoring three kills in her team's 4-2 start. Setter Kaylynne Taeatafa served up three points for Fullerton, forcing UC Davis out of system to a pair of errors and an 8-3 deficit before Damelio's back-to-back kills helped right the ship. The Aggies cut the Titan lead to three on five more occasions but could not string enough points together to overtake CSF. Neto added two more kills down the stretch to help the Titans finish off the match.
The two teams combined for 137 kills and 196 digs in a match that lasted two hours, 29 minutes.
UC Davis continues Big West Conference play with road matches at Long Beach State and UC Irvine on October 5 and 6.