Oct. 9, 2010
FULLERTON, Calif. - Despite sophomore Allison Whitson's team-best 22 kills and junior Katie Denny's .407 hitting, UC Davis was unable to complete a comeback from a first-set loss, falling in five sets to Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference women's volleyball match at Titan Gym Saturday night. The Titans won by scores of 25-16, 23-25, 21-25, 25-17 and 17-15.
The Aggies fall to 12-6 for the year and 4-2 in conference play. CSF picks up a crucial win for the Big West standings, improving to 4-1 in league and 15-4 overall. The Titans are among the teams receiving votes in Monday's American Volleyball Coaches' Association Top 25 poll.
Whitson tallied 22 kills in 46 swings, while senior Melanie Adams posted 14 kills, three aces, 11 digs and three block assists. Libero Kayla Varney led all players with 18 digs, while sophomore defensive specialist Kaitlyn Plum added 13.
For Fullerton, senior middle blocker Erin Saddler registered 22 kills with a .358 hitting average. Sophomore Kayla Neto chipped in 18-1-34 offense for a .500 average while stuffing five shots at the net.
UC Davis hit just .024 in its first-set loss, committing three hitting errors and surrendering two kills by Titan junior Torrie Brown in a 6-0 skid midway through the frame. Leah Maurer, a 6-foot-5 opposite, picked up a pair of kills down the stretch to send CSF to the opening win.
However, Whitson and Adams combined for 13 kills on 18 attempts in the second set to help the Aggies escape an early 13-6 deficit. Adams connected for back-to-back kills to tie the frame at 21-21, then served up an ace to send the score to a 24-22 set point. Whitson put down the winner two points later for a 25-23 UC Davis victory.
The Aggies again rallied from behind to take the third, erasing a 5-0 Titan start and taking a 12-11 edge on a Plum service ace. Neto converted a side-out kill to tie the score at 12 each, then Brown and Saddler each landed kills to send CSF up by two. The Aggies again equalized at the service line, with Adams' second ace evening the tally at 17-17. Denny scored a kill and ace during a 3-0 run that put UC Davis ahead by a 22-20 margin, then Adams and junior Betsy Sedlak helped close out the stanza to lift the Aggies to the match lead.
But despite perfect 6-for-6 hitting by Denny, Cal State Fullerton dominated the fourth set with .452 hitting. Saddler compiled seven kills and five digs. Neto added 4-for-7 offense with two blocks to pull away from a 9-7 battle to start the frame.
Whitson scored four kills in the span of five points to help UC Davis build a 5-2 start to the fifth and deciding set, but a pair of Aggie errors coupled with Cami Croteau's serving flipped the score to 9-6 in favor of the hosts. Nonetheless, Whitson's kill tied the frame at 13-13 and her block assist against Fullerton's Leah Maurer put UC Davis in a position to take the match. Saddler ended the threat with her side-out kill. The two teams traded points before Saddler's 22nd kill established a 16-15 match point for the Titans. Brown then put up the solo stuff to end the two-hour, 21-minute marathon.
UC Davis held the edge in kills (69-68), digs (73-62) and blocks (7-6) in the match. Fullerton hit .325 to the Aggies' .256 and enjoyed a 9-5 edge in service aces.
Saturday's match was the second straight in which UC Davis faced a team in the Others Receiving Votes section of the national poll, having lost to Long Beach State on Friday. The Aggies return to action in home matches against Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara on October 15 and 16, respectively.