Oct. 19, 2012
HONOLULU - Senior Allison Whitson and junior Devon Damelio each tallied 13 kills, including five apiece in a first-set win, but ninth-ranked Hawai'i ultimately defended its home court in a four-set Big West Conference women's volleyball match at the Stan Sheriff Center Thursday night. The Wahine prevailed by scores of 23-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-16.
The Aggies slip to 10-11 for the year and even their league record to 4-4. UH improves to 16-2 overall and remains unbeaten at 9-0 in Big West play.
Whitson added 11 digs and three blocks to her offensive total, hitting .257 in 35 swings. Sophomore outside hitter Valerie Brain added 10 kills while junior setter Jenny Woolway matched Whitson's team high of 11 digs. The Aggies hit a respectable .237 in the first three sets before struggling to a .077 clip in the final set.
On the other hand, Hawai'i improved from a .171 average in its first-set loss to a .441 rate in the second, finishing the match at .341. Junior left-sider Emily Hartong paced the Wahine with 18 kills while fellow junior Ashley Kastl delivered 11 kills with just one error for a .455 average plus a match-high 17 digs.
Both squads served aggressively, totaling eight aces but committing a combined 24 service errors. The Aggies accounted for 14, five in each of their more competitive first and third sets.
Whitson hit 5-1-10 with two solo stuffs in UC Davis' victory to open the match. The Wahine opened with a 4-1 lead before Kaitlyn Plum's service ace equalized at 6-6 and Woolway's tip gave the Aggies a 7-6 edge. Hawai'i later regained the edge at 12-11 but a serving error and two hitting miscues put UC Davis back up by a 14-12 margin. The Aggies led the rest of the way, with Damelio figuring on each of her team's final three points: a block assist with sophomore Katie Quinn and a pair of kills down the stretch.
However, the Wahine regrouped in the second set, committing just one error and converting 13 of 16 side-out opportunities. Hartong supplied two kills while Ginger Long and Emily Maeda each served up aces in a 10-4 start. Whitson, Quinn and Woolway scored consecutive points to cut the deficit to 10-7 but UC Davis never came any closer to equalizing. Freshman Tai Manu-Olevau had three kills in a span of six points to extend the Wahine lead to 19-12. The Aggies committed two more service errors in surrendering a 5-1 finish to even the match at the break.
The Aggies stormed out of the gates in the third, with Damelio posted three straight kills in a 7-2 start. Hawai'i managed to close to within a single point on three occasions, first on back-to-back kills by Manu-Olevau to make it 8-7; then on consecutive Hartong kills to bring the tally to 12-11; and yet again when Manu-Olevau teamed with Stephanie Hagins on a block at 15-16. The Wahine finally pulled ahead when sophomore middle Kalei Adolpho teamed up on two straight blocks to push her team ahead to a 19-18 lead.
UC Davis quickly regained the lead when Quinn's tip and another Whitson kill set the board at 20-19. But again, Hawai'i closed out the third with another strong finish, scoring six of the final seven points. Hartong had three kills in that stretch while Jade Vorster posted a kill plus a solo stuff for the winner.
Although a run of four unanswered Aggie points wiped a 6-2 Wahine start, Hawai'i never trailed in the fourth. Hartong had five kills to lead her team's .423 hitting in the finale. Maeda served up consecutive aces to bring the score to 22-14. Adolpho and Kaela Goodman combined for a big block against the Aggies' 4-set attack to give the Wahine a 24-15 match point. A hitting miscue put UC Davis back on the service line but the next serve sailed long to end the match.
The opening set marks the first time UC Davis has taken a frame off a top-10 team in the Division I era. The Aggies had previously lost in three to then-No. 4 Washington in 2006 and to No. 10 Cal in 2010.
The Aggies will use Friday to travel back to the contiguous states, then face Cal State Northridge for a Saturday night road match.