Nov. 19, 2011
DAVIS, Calif. - Playing in their final collegiate matches, senior middle blockers Betsy Sedlak and Katie Denny combined for 18 kills with just one error in 30 attempts to lead UC Davis to a 25-21, 25-22, 25-23 sweep of Pacific in a Big West Conference women's volleyball match at the Pavilion Saturday night.
The Aggies finish the season at 21-10 overall and 7-9 in conference play. The Tigers slip to 17-12 for the year and 8-8 in Big West matches.
Sedlak tallied 11 kills on 20 attempts, not committing an attacking error until near the end of the third set, and added five total blocks at the net. Denny hit an errorless 7-for-10 for the match. Junior outside hitter Allison Whitson completed a double-double of 12 kills and 11 digs. Junior libero Caroline Mercado picked up match highs of 15 digs and three service aces.
For Pacific, senior Samantha Misa tallied 15 kills, 11 digs and a pair of block assists. Sophomore Jennifer Sanders hit a robust .588, putting down 10 kills on 17 swings. She also had three blocks to lead the Tiger net defense.
Pacific rallied to a strong start to the second set, scoring seven of the first 10 out of the chute. UC Davis whittled away at the lead, tying the score at 9-9 when Whitson slammed an errant free ball that had crept over the tape. But the Aggies were unable to take the lead until Whitson stepped up with a solo stuff at 12-11. The Tigers committed two hitting errors in a run of four straight UC Davis points to put the margin at 16-13, but they settled enough to knot the score at 19-19. The two teams locked up at 20-20 and 21-21, the 10th and 11th ties of the frame, but the Aggies finished strong with four of the last five. Sedlak hit back-to-back kills to close out the set and give her team a 2-0 match lead.
In contrast to the nip-and-tuck second set, UC Davis never trailed in the third. Sedlak hit two kills and Pacific committed two errors in a 7-3 start. Junior Gabby Cowden put down a kill then served up an ace to close the gap to 10-9, but the Tigers never equalized. Mercado served up two aces in a 4-0 run to 18-12. Although Pacific again cut the deficit to a single point at 21-20, UC Davis lined up another strong finish. Whitson slammed a block over the top of Sanders and 6-foot-4 freshman Gillian Howard, then served an ace to establish a 24-21 match point. After two more Tiger points, Sedlak and Damelio teamed up for the winner.
Sedlak and Denny finish at No. 2 and No. 3 on UC Davis' career blocks list. Sedlak's five stuffs brought her total to 393, while Denny's block assist lifted her tally to 361. Sedlak also finished with a career hitting average of .336, well ahead of Candy Lench's previous Aggie benchmark of .309.