DAVIS, Calif. - Freshman opposite Mahalia White scored a career-high 23 kills while sophomore outside hitter Lauren Matias added 17 kills, 12 digs and a .433 hitting average to help UC Davis to a 25-13, 25-17, 22-25, 25-20 win over Long Beach State in Big West Conference women's volleyball action at the Pavilion Saturday night.
The Aggies pick up their first league win of 2017, and their first-ever victory over the 49ers. They improve to 9-9 for the season and 1-4 in Big West play. LBSU moves to 5-14 overall and 2-4 in conference.
Junior middle blocker Kelechi Ohiri led all players with seven blocks with junior libero Malia Bolko contributing a match-high 17 digs to pace UC Davis defensively. Junior middle blocker Lauren Jackson chipped in another 10 kills and a .421 success rate, while junior outside hitter Emily Allen posted a double-double of 11 kills and 10 digs.
Overall, the Aggies hit .285 for the match, with clips of better than .300 in each of their set wins.
For Long Beach State, junior outside hitter Megan Kruidhof provided 14 kills and four blocks. Junior Emma Kirst hit 8-1-14 for a .500 average with six blocks. The 49ers struggled to 17 kills and 13 errors in the first two sets before settling down offensively for the final two frames.
The Aggies came out firing in each of the first two sets, holding the 49ers to 1-7-17 hitting (minus-.353) during a 15-4 start in the opener, and getting perfect 4-for-4 hitting from Matias in a 7-2 start to the second. White had six kills while Matias and Jackson combined for 5-0-7 on the attacking chart in the first frame, during which LBSU managed just five total kills.
The 49ers did close the gap to within deficits of 13-12 and 14-13 midway through the second set. Allen had an ace and a kill while Matias provided two kills in a 6-1 run that set the board at 20-14. UC Davis tallied five straight down the stretch to take a 2-0 match lead into the break.
According to head coach Dan Conners, the Aggies' serving game played a significant role in establishing the 2-0 match lead. "That was something we talked about. We didn't feel like we served tough against Northridge [on Thursday] and we wanted to make sure we made that change against Long Beach. I think that really got them on their heels. Then offensively, we wanted to be very aggressive throughout the whole night. Except for a little blip in the middle of the match, I thought we stayed aggressive for most of the match."
Long Beach State asserted itself in the third set, assuming its first lead of the match at 15-14 on an Aggie attacking error, then later holding a 21-18 edge for its largest lead of the contest. UC Davis, which suffered from seven hitting errors and three serving miscues, fought back to a 21-21 tie. However, Kruidhof and redshirt freshman Brooke Earkman scored back-to-back kills to help the 49ers pull away and avoid a match sweep.
White helped the Aggies right the ship with eight kills in the fourth set. UC Davis held a 15-9 early lead, before surrendering four of the next six to see its edge diminshed to 16-15. LBSU tied the score at 19-19 on another UC Davis hitting error, but spotted the Aggies a one-point lead on a service error. Sophomore Anna Donald then came in to serve, helping ignite what became a 6-1 finish to the match.
"I thought a key for us was playing unaffected by how well they were playing," said Conners. "They definitely turned it up. They started hitting harder, attacking higher and serving tougher, which put us in tougher situations. I thought we responded to that a lot better tonight than we had been historically. Hopefully, that's a good sign for what's to come."
UC Davis and Long Beach State had met 25 times previous to Saturday's match. The Aggies had taken the former national powerhouse to the full five sets in 2007, 2008 and 2010, but had never posted a victory in the series.
The Aggies hit the road for Big West matches at UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton on October 13 and 14.
ABOUT UC DAVIS
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.
DON'T MISS OUT!
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 UCDavisAggies.com.