UC Davis tops UC Irvine in defensive battle

Senior Valerie Brain hit .364 with seven blocks in two matches this weekend.
(Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)
Nov. 15, 2014

Final Stats

DAVIS, Calif. - Junior outside hitter Kaylin Squyres posted match highs of 24 kills and 18 digs while providing four of her team's 14 total blocks, helping UC Davis overcome a first-set loss to post a 21-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-22 victory over UC Irvine in Big West Conference women's volleyball action at the Pavilion Saturday afternoon.

The Aggies improve to 10-3 in conference matches to move a half-win ahead of Hawai'i for second place in the standings. (The Wahine had a bye week). They also move to 15-11 overall with their fifth straight victory. The Anteaters slip to 17-11 for the year and 7-6 in Big West play.

Squyres' 18 digs led four UC Davis players in double figures on floor defense. Sophomore Allie Wegener picked up 14 while redshirt freshman setter Erika Conners and senior libero Megan Lancaster finished with 12 each. As a team, the Aggies post 77 digs to outperform the conference's leader in that category. Senior middle blocker Katie Quinn paced the Aggie net defense with seven blocks, while redshirt freshman Aima Eichie added five and senior opposite Valerie Brain chipped in another four.

For the 'Eaters, junior outside hitter Marisa Bubica led the attack with 15 kills on 44 swings while senior Allison Lee contributed 11 kills on 40 attempts. Sophomore libero Arden Davis scooped 17 digs with outside hitter Cassidy Pickrell posting 16 as part of UCI's 71 digs. Like the Aggies, the Anteaters enjoyed a strong blocking match, totaling 10.0 stuffs. Arielle Manz had seven of those blocks, including a pair of solos.



UC Davis struggled early in the first set, committing as many errors as kills to fall behind by a 13-8 margin. A Lee tool capped a 4-0 Irvine run that stretched the lead to 19-13, and an errant Aggie roll shot set up a 24-17 set point for the 'Eaters. UC Davis battled back five straight points, getting a spark of both offense and defense by junior Holland Seymour, who came off the bench to provide two kills and a block in the comeback. However, Pickrell ended the Aggie threat with her line shot by the left pin, sending UCI to the initial match lead.

Squyres responded with nine kills and six digs in a second set during which UC Davis never trailed. Sophomore defensive specialist Kendall Frisoli served up most of a 4-0 run that put the Aggies up by 11-6, while Quinn's consecutive block assists later kept UC Davis ahead by a 16-11 margin. Facing a 17-12 Aggie lead, UC Irvine fought back with five of the next six points to pull within 18-17. The Anteaters could not equalize, with Squyres scoring three kills and a block assist with Eichie down the stretch to even the match at 1-1 going to the break.

The third set proved to be a pivot point in the match, with the two teams battling to 15 ties and six lead changes. A 9-6 Irvine start later turned into a 12-11 Aggie lead. Quinn slammed a one set, Squyres returned a stray free ball, and Wegener served up an ace to flip the balance to UC Davis. Each side traded points until Lee's kill gave Irvine a 19-17 lead. The Aggies answered with three straight to claim a 20-19 lead, and subsequently held a 23-21 edge after Quinn and Brain combined for a block near the center of the tape.

Undeterred, Bubica scored a kill off a tough angle near the left antenna, then Manz and Lee combined for a block to equalize at 23-23 -- the 15th and final tie of the frame. Squyres again came through with the final two points: teaming with Eichie for a block assist to end a scrambling rally, then scoring the winner on a tool for the 25th.

Squyres continued her hot streak into the fourth, posting a pair of kills and a solo block in a 6-1 start. An attacking error and illegal set on the UCI side kept UC Davis ahead by 11-5. The Anteaters slowly whittled away at the deficit, eventually scoring four straight to tie the set at 14-14. Like in the third, the two teams traded blow by blow with five more ties.

The Aggies had a major scare while leading 19-18. Lancaster went down with an injury and the officials stopped play to allow the athletic training staff to tend to the situation. However, this forced UC Davis to play without a libero, as Frisoli had already appeared in the set as a DS. WIth setter Sophia Mar so often handling the first contact after the Anteaters' attack, Seymour again came to the rescue with two assists to Wegener, helping forge a 23-19 lead. Squyres set up match point at 24-21 with her rip from the 10-foot line, then the Aggies claimed the win on a UCI attacking error.

UC Davis and UC Irvine totaled respective hitting averages of .149 and .128 in the match. The Aggies failed to reach the .200 barrier in any of the four sets, while UCI slipped to .024 in that fourth. The 77 UC Davis digs is the most this season since recording 82 in a five-set marathon vs. Fresno State in the opening weekend.

UC Davis continues its four-match homestand with a Thursday night meeting with Big West leader Long Beach State. Match time is set for 7 p.m.