Nov. 17, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - Junior Devon Damelio tallied 13 kills with a .400 hitting average and the Aggies paid tribute to seniors Allison Whitson, Caroline Mercado and Kaitlyn Plum, but No. 7 Hawai'i ultimately outmatched UC Davis in a 25-17, 25-23, 25-17 sweep to remain unbeaten in Big West Conference women's volleyball action at the Pavilion in front of a season-high home crowd of 1,005 Saturday night.
The Aggies move to 16-14 on the year with a 10-7 conference ledger. The Rainbow Wahine improves to 24-2 overall and 16-0 in Big West play. Furthermore, Hawai'i head coach Dave Shoji picked up his 1,100th career win. He remains the winningest active coach in collegiate women's volleyball.
Damelio committed just three errors in 25 swings, adding six digs and three block assists. Whitson added 10 kills with two aces and seven digs while Mercado led the Aggies with 15 digs. Setter Jenny Woolway provided 4-for-5 hitting to go with 24 assists.
For Hawaii, Junior Emily Hartong and sophomore Jane Croson each assembled identical attacking lines of 12-5-31. Hartong matched Mercado's match high of 15 digs. Setter Mita Uiato figured on six blocks while posting 34 assists for the match.
The Wahine hit a rousing .484 in its first-set victory, amassing 18 kills against just three errors in the set. Croson and sophomore middle blocker Stephanie Hagins each had two blocks and a kill during an 8-3 start for UH. Emily Maeda served up an ace in a run of four answered Wahine points to stretch the lead to 20-12, and Hawai'i held at least a seven-point lead for the remainder. Croson finished with six kills the opener while Hartong added four.
UC Davis managed its best offense in the second set. After redshirt freshman middle Jade Vorster hit 4-for-4 in a 9-2 start, the Aggies managed to chip away until two Damelio kills and a Whitson ace closed the gap to 15-13. Sophomore Valerie Brain followed a tool with a block assist to narrow the deficit to just 17-16 before the Wahine scored five of the next six in stretching their lead to 22-17.
Trailing 23-19 in the second, UC Davis scored four straight points -- two Whitson kills, another by Damelio and a block assist by Damelio and sophomore Victoria Lee -- to tie the frame at 23-23. But Hartong responded with back-to-back cross-court kills to finish the win for Hawai'i. Damelio had five kills with five digs and two blocks in the frame, helping the Aggies improve from .207 in the first to .295 in the second.
The two teams battled to five ties early in the third set, with Whitson's kill equalizing the score at 8-8. However, the Wahine went on a 12-1 tear to take a 20-9, surrendering only a triple block by Whitson, Mary Schroeder and Katie Quinn in that run. UC Davis never recovered, finishing the set with 11 attacking errors for a .000 attack rate.
The Aggies conclude the 2012 season on the road, facing Pacific for the latter's final match as a member of the Big West Conference. That match takes place on Saturday, Nov. 24.