Nov. 6, 2010
DAVIS, Calif. - Sophomore outside hitter Janisa Johnson put down two kills in the final stretch of the fifth set to close out Long Beach State's 19-25, 25-21, 25-21, 26-28, 16-14 win over UC Davis in Big West Conference women's volleyball action at the Pavilion Saturday night.
The Aggies fall to 16-10 for the season and 7-6 in conference matches. The 49ers, among the teams receiving votes in Monday's Top 25 coaches' poll, improves to 19-6 overall and 9-3 in Big West play.
Johnson was one of three players in the match to record a kill-dig double-double, finishing with 13 of each stat. UC Davis senior opposite Melanie Adams achieved the feat with a team-best 14 kills and 13 digs while sophomore outside hitter Allison Whitson tallied 13 kills and 11 digs.
Senior libero Kayla Varney tallied 25 digs to lead five Aggies in double figures defensively; freshman setter Jenny Woolway added 13 digs while sophomore defensive specialist Kaitlyn Plum chipped in 12. The two Aggie junior middle blockers combined for 21 kills on offense. Betsy Sedlak had 10 kills to go with her seven blocks, while Katie Denny tallied 11 kills and .258 hitting to complement her four block assists.
Long Beach State's Caitlin Ledoux led all hitters with 23 kills. Freshman Haleigh Hampton supplied 13 kills and eight blocks, while fellow first-year performer Delainey Aigner-Swesey recorded 9-1-18 hitting with a match-high nine stuffs at the net. Junior Lauren Minkel led all players with 29 digs.
Woolway dumped a reverse tip into the open Beach court then junior Katie Denny sent a kill down the line to help UC Davis break loose to a 14-11 lead in the opening set. Freshman outside hitter Morgan Borch aided on two blocks to extend the Aggie margin to 18-12, while Whitson later brought the score to 23-18 on a tool and a solo block. Denny's tip provided UC Davis with set point and an LBSU shot sailed wide for the 25th.
Betsy Sedlak and Melanie Adams each scored a pair of kills to propel the Aggies to a 6-2 start in the second and a Borch kill later set the tally at 9-5. But the Beach rallied back with a run of six straight to take over the lead at 13-10. UC Davis managed to cut the deficit to a single point on three occasions, including a 20-19 edge on a Woolway second-ball kill. However, the 49ers claimed four of the next five points to a 24-20 advantage. Haleigh Hampton and Janisa Johnson combined for the block two points later to tie the match at 1-1 heading into the break.
The Beach continued to pound away in the third set, tallying 14 kills and hitting .250 to the Aggies' .118. Hampton put down back-to-back kills to crack a 9-9 tie and ignite a 7-1 run, giving the 49ers the edge for good. Hampton and Aigner-Swesey each hit 4-for-5 in the third frame to give their team the 2-1 match lead.
After Whitson's kill and ace helped UC Davis score four straight and restore the fourth set to a 13-13 tie, Hampton hammered three straight kills to power her team back to a 18-14 edge. She later knocked down a free ball to stretch that lead to 20-14, putting the 49ers in good position to close out the match. However, UC Davis battled back, eventually tying the stanza at 22-22 on a Adams-Denny block along the right side.
Varney hit a rare down-ball kill to give the Aggies 24-23 set-point footing but Ledoux countered with a side out to tie the score at 24-all. The two teams chopped the next four points between them before redshirt freshman Devon Damelio boosted UC Davis to a 27-26 edge. Denny served deep toward the Long Beach State baseline. The 49er receive corp allowed the serve to fall in hopes of an error but the ball clipped the baseline for the 28th point.
A pair of Long Beach hitting errors and an Adams tool gave UC Davis a 5-3 lead early in the fifth, but the trend reversed as Ledoux scored three kills in a span of four points. Aigner-Swesey and junior middle MIchelle Osunbur combined on a block to send LBSU to a 9-7 advantage, which the Aggies quickly erased on a second Varney kill and a second Denny ace.
UC Davis later committed a net violation and a back-row attack violation to allow the 49ers to escape an 11-11 tie en route to a 13-11 lead. Then after Johnson's offspeed shot gave Long Beach State a 14-12 match point, the Aggies recovered to a 14-14 tie on another Adams-Denny block combination. However, Johnson sent a shot down the line and a UC Davis shot sailed just wide to close the final set with a 16-14 score.
Saturday's match was the eighth five-set contest for UC Davis in 2010, of which the Aggies hold a 4-4 record. It also the third time UC Davis has lost a five-setter in conference play, adding to road setbacks at Cal State Northridge and Cal State Fullerton.
The Aggies return to action for a Central Coast road trip at UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly on Friday and Saturday, respectively.