Oct. 27, 2012
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Junior outside hitter Devon Damelio tallied 11 kills with a .579 hitting average while senior Allison Whitson matched that offensive total to lead UC Davis to a 25-13, 25-15, 25-16 sweep over UC Riverside in Big West Conference women's volleyball action at SRC Arena Saturday night.
The Aggies even their overall record to 12-12 and improve to 6-5 in conference play. The Highlanders fall to 5-19 for the year and remain winless in Big West matches at 0-11.
Damelio committed no hitting errors on 19 attempts for her match-high attacking efficiency. For her part, Whitson had only three attack errors to finish at .308, while sophomore middle blocker Victoria Lee went 6-for-9 with no errors. As a team, UC Davis hit .326, including a .435 clip in the third set. Furthermore, the Aggies finished with 10.5 team blocks to help hold UCR to a .063 hitting average while converting 73.3 percent of their side-out opportunities.
Damelio also served up two aces and five aces to match teammate Katie Quinn in each category, and led UC Davis with seven digs to tie senior Kaitlyn Plum for the team lead on floor defense. She and Whitson also were perfect on 12 serve receptions - in fact, the Aggies only permitted one UCR ace to fall.
For the Highlanders, senior Amanda Vialpando posted a match-high 15 kills but the rest of her team accounted for just 15 kills with 17 hitting errors.
UCR took an early 4-1 lead in the first set, getting a pair of Vialpando kills and an ace from freshman Ashley Cox to open the match. But Lee, Whitson and setter Jenny Woolway each had kills in a 6-0 run that gave UC Davis the lead for good. Damelio later served up five straight points to set the Aggies to a 21-10 edge, effectively sealing the match lead.
Damelio hit 5-for-8 and Whitson added four kills in a quick second set. This time, the Aggies opened on a hot start, with Damelio's side-out kill and ace kick-starting the team to a 3-0 lead. Quinn later put down a kill then served up four straight points to extend the UC Davis advantage to 10-3, while Lee posted two blocks in a 5-0 run that set the board at 15-5. The Highlanders briefly fought back from an 11-point deficit to a 19-12 margin when sophomore Tyler Dorsey delivered two blocks and a kill in a 5-1 rally. But Whitson all but iced the game with three kills in the final six points, sending the Aggies to the break with a 2-0 match lead.
The third set proved the most competitive with seven ties and three lead changes, although most of the battle took place during the early sparring. After three early Vialpando kills put UCR up by an 8-7 lead, Quinn and Damelio teamed up for two blocks in a run of five unanswered points to tip the board in the Aggies' favor, 12-8. UC Davis never allowed its host back into the match the rest of the way. Quinn's second ace highlighted a 5-0 run to push the lead to 19-12. Redshirt freshman Holland Seymour stepped in for a kill to spark a 4-1 rally that resulted in a 24-15 match point. A kill by setter Emily Borges put the serve back on the Riverside end of the court but the ensuing serve misfired, finishing the sweep for the Aggies.
UC Davis' .326 average is the best of its Big West season thus far and the highest since punishing Kent for a .360 rate at the Butler Invitational in mid-September. Furthermore, the Aggies needed only 76 set balls to win the match, helping to explain the relatively low 72 combined digs in the match.
The Aggies return home for conference matches against UC Irvine and Long Beach State on Friday and Saturday. Both contests take place at 7 p.m. at the Pavilion.