Gaudino Enjoys Career Night In Five-Game Upset

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DAVIS, Calif. --- Senior outside hitter Kelly Gaudino posted a career-high 29 kills, including the last two points of the match, to lead UC Davis to a 30-24, 27-30, 30-23, 27-30, 17-15 upset over Cal State L.A. in a California Collegiate Athletic Association women's volleyball match at Upper Hickey Gym Saturday. Her final kill, aided by a net violation from Maegan Bergeson, ended a 3-0 run that rescued the Aggies from a 15-14 match-point deficit to a 17-15 win in the fifth and deciding game.

UC Davis improves to 14-10 on the year and 9-8 in conference play. The Golden Eagles, one of a handful of teams receiving votes in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II Top 25 poll, drops to 17-7 overall and 11-5 in league play. The victory also ended a 13-match win streak for Cal State L.A. in the all-time series between the two teams.

Junior outside hitter Kate Wilton added 24 kills on 57 attempts for the Aggies, including eight kills and a .438 hitting average in Game 1. Mary McClelland led UC Davis with 19 digs while Gaudino added 18 and Marritt Cafarchia, in her second match as one of the team's defensive specialists, posted 11. Christina Ng put up 67 assists, 10 digs and three block assists in her second start at setter.

For the Golden Eagles, sophomore outside hitter Lizelle Jackson led her team with 26 kills and 18 digs. Junior middle blocker Krystal Green contributed five total blocks, including one solo stuff. Outside hitter Leslie Smith also posted a double-double for Cal State L.A., recording 14 kills and 17 digs for the match.

The fifth game featured scoring runs for each team. Wilton knocked down four kills in a five-point stretch to give UC Davis an 8-5 lead at the changeover. Freshman middle blocker Rachel Keener then recorded back-to-back service aces to stretch that lead to 11-6. But Green's solo block against Aggie freshman Nicole Read began a 5-0 run that tied the game at 11-11. Jackson had all four of her Game 5 kills after that point, but UC Davis managed to retie the game or stay within one point.

Gaudino tooled the Golden Eagle block to tie the game at 14-14, but Jackson countered with her fourth Game 5 kill to put the Golden Eagles in a 15-14 match-point opportunity. However, Jackson committed a serving error to put the score at 15-15 and give Ng the serve. Gaudino then posted her final two kills en route to the Game 5 win.

"I just felt we stayed really aggressive, even though [Cal State L.A.] had match point," said Aggie head coach Stephanie Hawbecker. "It was 15-14, and you know in their minds they were thinking about Bakersfield. That was 15-14 and we lost that 16-14. That just shows that they've taken a step. To be down 15-14 with all that emotion and win the last three points -- I'm just really proud of them."

Wilton and Gaudino enjoyed their best offensive numbers in Game 1, during which they combined for a .375 hitting average; and Game 3, in which they hit a collective .520. Wilton was 7-1-13 in the third game, while Gaudino had seven kills among an errorless 13 attacks. Wilton also started Game 5 with four kills on her first four attempts.

After taking a Game 1 victory, UC Davis opened Game 2 with a 9-0 start and eventually amassed an 18-11 lead midway through the frame. But fought back to take a brief 20-19 lead. Aggie outside hitter Kim Vincent came off the bench to put down back-to-back kills to lift UC Davis ahead 21-20, then Keener's ace put her team up by two.

The Golden Eagles tied Game 2 at 26-26 and again at 27-27, then took a 28-27 lead when Green's block forced an Aggie overpass. She knocked it back into the UC Davis open court for an unassisted kill and a 28-27 lead. Green and setter Tiare Tuitama then shared a block for the 29th point and Jackson hit the game-winner to tie the match at 1-1.

Christina Ng posted a career-high 67 assists in her second start at setter.
(Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)

Wilton and Gaudino's hitting heroics and excellent floor coverage by McClelland helped the Aggies break open a narrow 20-19 lead late in Game 3. Gaudino had kills for the 23rd through 26th points in the game, and enjoyed an unlikely ace to set up game point. Bergeson's reception of Gaudino's serve hit the Hickey Gym light fixtures and caromed out of Tuitama's reach to put UC Davis ahead by 29-23.

Jackson had kills for the final two points of Game 4, getting some defensive help from Tuitama for the game-winner. The Golden Eagle setter picked up a tough dump shot from Ng, which Green picked up for an underhand set to her teammate Jackson, who knocked it down into Aggie territory.

UC Davis had not defeated Cal State L.A. since a 3-2 neutral-court victory at Cal St. San Bernardino early in the 1995 season. The match was also designated as Senior Appreciation Night, as seniors Gaudino and opposite Ellen Fitzpatrick made their final weekend home appearance at Hickey Gym.

UC Davis plays its home finale against Chico State on Wednesday, November 5, then hits the road for four straight road matches to end its final season in the CCAA.

Cal State L.A. (17-7, 11-5 CCAA)






UC Davis (14-10, 9-8 CCAA)






CSULA (kills-aces-blocks) - Lizelle Jackson 26-1-0, Tiare Tuitama 3-0-1, Dione McCrea 2-0-2, Te'Ara Epps 12-0-0, Krystal Green 7-1-5, Andrea Richardson 2-0-0, Shannon Johnson 0-1-0, Breanna Lee 0-0-0, Leslie Smith 14-2-0, Maegan Bergeson 8-3-1. Totals 74-8-5.0. Assists - Tiare Tuitama 63. Digs leaders - Lizelle Jackson 18, Tiare Tuitama 18, Leslie Smith 17, Maegan Bergeson 17.

UC DAVIS (kills-aces-blocks) - Kate Wilton 24-1-0, Kelly Gaudino 29-2-1, Marritt Cafarchia 0-0-0, Christina Ng 1-0-3, Rachel Keener 5-3-2, Nicole Read 11-3-7, Mary McClelland 1-0-0, Kim Vincent 3-0-0, Ellen Fitzpatrick 2-0-1. Totals 76-9-9.0. Assists - Christina Ng 67. Digs leaders - Mary McClelland 19, Kelly Gaudino 18, Marritt Cafarchia 11, Christina Ng 10.