Matadors halt Aggies in fifth set

Oct. 5, 2017

Final Stats

DAVIS, Calif. - Freshman opposite Mahalia White tied her career high of 20 kills while hitting .415, and UC Davis overcame a two-set match deficit but ultimately fell in five sets by scores of 25-19, 35-33, 12-25, 22-25, 15-10 to CSUN in Big West Conference women’s volleyball action at the Pavilion Thursday night.

The Aggies move to 8-9 overall and still seek their first conference win at 0-4. The Matadors improve to 10-7 for the year and 4-1 in Big West play.

White committed just three attacking errors on 41 swings en route to her hitting average. She also served up two aces and chipped in on four of her team’s 11 blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Matias added 15 kills while junior middle blocker Kelechi Ohiri contributed another 10. Junior middle Lauren Jackson added 5-for-12 hitting with five blocks, while junior libero Malia Bolko led all players with 22 digs.

For CSUN, junior outside hitter Aeryn Owens posted a match-high 23 kills. Middle blocker Rachel Diaz chipped in 12 kills and a .435 efficiency rate while sophomore middle Melissa Eaglin had eight total stuffs.

The Matadors made relatively quick work of the first set, storming to a 14-4 start mostly behind the serving of libero Katie Sato. The Aggies whittled away at that margin, closing the gap to within four points on three separate occasions, but a block by Eaglin and Lauren Conati finished the frame.

CSUN held a 22-16 lead in the second before UC Davis employed a 9-2 run back to a 25-24 set point. White had three kills and a block assist during that comeback. The two teams exchanged nine ties and Aggies fought off seven set points before a Rachel Diaz ace finally closed out the marathon set. Overall, the two teams combined for 46 kills in that long and pivotal second set.

Nonetheless, the momentum shift carried into through the break and into the third set: with junior Maddie Merlino taking over setting duties, UC Davis hit 11-0-24 and converted 11 of 13 side-out opportunities in the third frame to prevent a Matador sweep.

The fourth set also saw CSUN craft a late lead and apparent position to finish off the match. Junior Nada Dragovic came off the bench to provide two kills and a two blocks to help boost the Matadors to a 21-17 lead. However, the Aggies again battled off the ropes, scoring eight of the next nine points to win the set and tie the match at 2-2. Ohiri and White each scored a kill and teamed up for a block during that run. Ohiri’s slam on a one set gave UC Davis a 24-21 set point, then White knocked down a kill from the left pin for the winner.

The Matadors regrouped in the fifth set, with Eaglin posting four block assists and a kill. Two of those stuffs occurred during a 7-2 run that gave CSUN an 11-6 lead. Owens hit back-to-back kills in a later 4-0 run, then provided the match-winner for her 23rd kill.

UC Davis hit .404 in the second set, .458 in the third and .310 in the fourth for .390 combined, but slipped to just six kills against five errors in the finale. Still, the .294 total average for the match represents a season best.

The Aggies return to action on Saturday against Long Beach State. Match time is 7 p.m. at the Pavilion.

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.

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