Oct. 28, 2011
DAVIS, Calif. - UC Davis battled back both from a first-set loss and a 20-14 deficit in the fourth set to claim a 20-25, 27-25, 25-23, 31-29 victory over UC Santa Barbara in Big West Conference women's volleyball action at the Pavilion Friday night.
The Aggies snap a three-match losing streak, improving to 19-6 overall and 5-5 in conference. The Gauchos slip to 12-11 for the year and also 5-5 in Big West play.
Sophomore setter Jenny Woolway posted 59 assists, helping four teammates tally double-digit kills and three hit .300 or better. Valerie Brain delivered 15 kills and a .333 hitting average, including 12-1-24 attacking stats in the third and fourth sets. She added four of her team's 13 blocks, including two solo stuffs. Senior middles Betsy Sedlak and Katie Denny tallied 13 and 10 kills, respectively, combining for a .354 success rate. Sedlak also contributed on seven block assists.
Furthermore, juniors Caroline Mercado and Kaitlyn Plum enjoyed strong nights on floor defense. Mercado had 18 digs to supplement two service aces, while Plum added 15. Junior outside hitter Allison Whitson provided a double-double of 14 kills and 13 digs.
For UCSB, senior right side Stacey Schmidt hammered away for a match-high 24 kills and a .417 hitting average. Sophomore Leah Sully tallied 20 digs and 16 kills, while Kara Sherrard went for 15 and 13 in those respective categories.
The Aggies struggled offensively with a .128 average and only 10 kills. They enjoyed six straight points to claim an 11-9 lead early on, but promptly allowed six of the next seven to go the Gauchos way, falling behind by a 15-12 margin. Sherrard fired three kills down the stretch to help seal the victory.
UC Davis jumped out to a 11-7 lead in the second, although more on the backs of some early Gaucho hitting woes. Sully scored two kills and a block assist to propel UCSB to a 4-1 run in claiming a 17-16 lead, while an Erica Lau ace later put the Gauchos up by a 21-19 edge. Then Denny struck back with consecutive kills and sophomore Devon Damelio tacked on a third to restore UC Davis' edge at 22-21. The two teams battled to four ties for the remainder of the frame before Sedlak's tool made it 26-25. Then Brain posted a solo stuff against the Gaucho's 6-foot-2 middle Lily Lopez to close out the win and tie the match score heading into the break.
Neither team surrendered more than a two-point cushion at any point in the third set. Sedlak figured in consecutive blocks then scored on a tool to transform a 14-13 deficit to a 16-14 lead. Kills by Brain and Denny also helped keep UC Davis up by two until Schmidt's back-to-back kills evened the proceedings at 20-all. A Sully kill gave UCSB a 22-21 lead and sent the Aggies into a timeout. They responded four of the next five points, with Sedlak scoring two kills and two blocks in that last stretch.
The Gauchos appeared ready to force a fifth set when they crafted an early 11-7 margin then held a 20-14 lead. After a timeout, the Aggies responded with five straight to cut the deficit to just 20-19. However, UCSB had its host against the ropes with a 23-20 lead. Nonetheless, Brain, Damelio and Sedlak each tooled the Gaucho front line to bring the set to 24-24, the fifth of 10 ties in the set. After Sherrard's kill evened the score at 29-29, Brain clubbed a four set across the net for the Aggies' 30th point. Then Schmidt, who had only committed three attack errors up to that point, missed a shot down the line for the final marker.
The Aggies managed to finish the match with a .238 average after the rough start in the first set. They had only four attack errors each in the second and third set. Furthermore, Mercado and Plum each posted six digs in the fourth, helping bring the Gaucho attack rate to below .200 for the last frame.
UC Davis continues its Big West Conference home weekend against Cal Poly on Saturday night. The first 800 fans through the door will receive a souvenir "Rally Towel" from Viridian apartments.