Nov. 10, 2012
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Senior Allison Whitson fired 20 kills and notched 11 of her team's 62 digs to lead UC Davis to a 25-23, 25-14, 29-27 sweep of UC Santa Barbara in Big West Conference women's volleyball action at the Thunderdome Saturday night. It marks the first time the Aggies have ever swept the Gauchos and only the second time they have on the road against their fellow UC foe.
UC Davis improves to 15-13 overall and 9-6 in Big West matches. UCSB dips to 13-16 for the season and 6-8 in conference play.
Whitson, who led the Aggies with 19 kills the previous night at Cal Poly, tallied her 16th kill-dig double-double of the season. Junior outside hitter Devon Damelio added nine kills with 12 digs and three blocks, while sophomore middle blocker Victoria Lee hit .462 (8-2-13) for the night. Five players finished with double-figured digs for UC Davis: besides Whitson and Damelio, senior Caroline Mercado, senior Kaitlyn Plum and junior Jenny Woolway each picked up 10.
Junior outside hitter Leah Sully led the Gauchos with 16 kills on 47 swings. Freshman libero Taylor Formico led all players with 23 digs.
The two teams battled to 14 ties and traded leads six times in the opening set, with neither side taking larger than a single-point margin until Valerie Brain hit two kills amidst a 4-0 run to give UC Davis a 16-13 edge. However, Sully put down two of her eight first-set kills to tie the score to 17-17. Whitson notched kills to provide the Aggies with leads of 22-19 and 22-20. Lee scored another to make it 23-21 and Brain put down her fifth kill of the first set to give the Aggies a 24-22 set point. The Gauchos held off their guests for one serve but an attacking error closed out the frame for UC Davis.
As tightly battled the first set went, the second was dominated by the Aggies. Quinn served up six straight points in an 8-0 run that pushed UC Davis out to a 15-5 advantage early on. Sophomore Mary Schroeder figured on three consecutive points to finish the set: she teamed with Quinn on a block for the Aggies 23rd point, put down a kill to establish 24-14 set point, then assisted Whitson on the game-winner. Schroeder hit 2-for-2 in the set, Lee was 3-for-3 and Quinn went 2-0-5 with a pair of blocks. Meanwhile, UCSB stumbled to minus-.032 attacking, managing just seven kills with eight hitting errors.
The Gauchos regrouped in the third, battling the Aggies to 16 ties and nine lead changes in similar fashion to the match opener. Ali Santi's ace capped a 3-0 run that gave UCSB an 8-5 lead before UC Davis answered with three straight of its own in tying the frame at 8-8. The Aggies later took as much as a three-point lead at 18-15 on a Whitson kill, only to surrender five straight to spot the Gauchos a 20-18 edge. The see-saw battle continued with eight ties from 20-20 through 27-27. However, as she had done on Friday at Cal Poly, Whitson hit consecutive kills to finish the third and complete an Aggie sweep.
Whitson pounded 10 kills on 22 attempts in that final set. Sully and junior opposite Katey Thompson combined for 11 kills with just two errors on 30 swings to lead UCSB offensively.
Saturday's sweep is just the fourth Aggie win in 20 meetings between the two programs.
UC Davis returns home for its final homestand of the 2012 season, hosting Cal State Northridge on Friday before honoring its seniors during Saturday's match against No. 7 Hawai'i.