Volleyball Opens Big West Play Saturday

Sophomore Valerie Brain hit 10 kills with a .321 hitting against the host Bulldogs at last weekend's Butler Invitational.
(Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)

Sept. 19, 2012

09.19.12 Weekly Release Get Acrobat Reader

Saturday, Sept. 22 - PACIFIC, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 11 - SAN FRANCISCO (L, 1-3)
Friday, Sept. 14 - vs. Kent State (W, 3-0)
Friday, Sept. 14 - at Butler (W, 3-0)
Saturday, Sept. 15 - vs. Southeast Missouri (L, 0-3)

TO RECAP: UC Davis (6-7) split its four matches during the week, falling in a two-hour, four-set battle with San Francisco on Tuesday then going 2-1 at the Butler Invitational... Junior OH Devon Damelio totaled 45 kills with just 10 errors for the week, hitting .299 in 13 sets... She hammered 20 kills against USF - a personal best for a match of fewer than five sets - then captured a fourth all-tournament nod for averaging 2.78 kills, 2.78 digs and 1.22 blocks during her stay in Indy... Senior Allison Whitsonjoined Damelio on the all-tournament team, mostly on the strength of her tournament opener with Kent State... Whitson hit 17-5-31 (.387) with eight digs against the Golden Flashes, then followed with a double-double of 11 kills and 11 digs vs. the host Bulldogs.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Senior Allison Whitson tallied 52 more kills for the week, moving her ahead of Kelly Gaudino for second on the school's career kills leaderboard... She enters the weekend with 1,343... Meanwhile, junior setter Jenny Woolway entered the Aggies' top five in career assists... Her 120 dimes for the week brought her collegiate total to 2,830, pushing her past Katelyn Astruc(2.760 from 2004-07).

STRENGTH UP THE MIDDLE: Perhaps the Aggies' greatest challenge entering the year was replacing the firepower of graduated MBs Betsy Sedlak and Katie Denny, who had combined for .316 hitting and 216 blocks last year... The sophomore tandem of Victoria Lee and Katie Quinnenjoyed their best overall weekend during the Butler Invite... Lee finished 21-2-44 (.432) with 16 blocks (1.78 average) while Quinn went 23-4-41 (.463) with 11 stuffs (1.22)... Each hit a career-high 11 kills in Saturday's match with SEMO... Additionally, Quinn blocked a career-best seven vs. Butler, Lee took a lifeftime-high 21 swings with a .476 average against Southeast.

STAT RANKINGS: Helped by her weekend in Marion County, Lee took over the top spot among Big West Conference leaders with 1.30 blocks per set, ahead of UC Santa Barbara's Jenna Wilson (1.22)... She also ranks 5th in hitting percentage (.294) while Quinn moved into 9th (.276)... Whitson ranks 8th in kills at (.3.70), Woolway sits 9th in assists (7.30), and senior Caroline Mercadoheld at 7th in digs (3.91)... As a team, UC Davis ranks 2nd in blocks (2.41) behind Cal State Northridge's 2.69 average.

UP NEXT: The Aggies launch Big West Conference play with a single home match against Pacific on Saturday... First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Pavilion... The UC Davis students move into the residence halls during this weekend, so the marketing & promotions office offers 2-for-1 admission for non-undergrads... Note: Pacific broadcasts its volleyball matches on the Stockton news/talk station KWSX 1280 AM... Fans outside that area can listen in on StretchInternet or via third-party providers (e.g. IHeartRadio or tunein.com).

PACIFIC (11-1, 0-0) swept the Marquette Invitational, taking down Iowa, the host Golden Eagles and UW-Milwaukee en route to the team title... Junior OH Megan Birch tallied 62 kills for the weekend, including a career-high 23 against Marquette, to earn Big West Player of the Week honors... The Tigers lead the conference in opponent hitting average (.151), thanks in part to a league-high 18.52 digs per set... Their lone loss in the preseason was a 3-0 setback to then-No. 8 Stanford on Sept. 8... Pacific entered the "Others Receiving Votes" portion of the AVCA Top 25 on Monday, picking up 11 points.

SIBLING RIVALRY: Saturday's matchup reprsents the first of two meetings between sisters Allison and Kimmy Whitson... Allison leads the Aggies in kills (175 total, 3.63 per set) and attempts (514), having earned Big West Conference Player of the Week honors a week ago... Kimmy, a freshman setter for Pacific, has seen more sporadic action as a backup to senior Hannah Clancy, appearing in six matches and seven sets... Expect parents Bruce and Debbie to take seats right on the net line.

"In terms of our statistical performance, I thought we hit some marks that he hadn't been hitting. So in terms of progress and in terms of just getting better, the stat line would say we have improved. I was pleased with our team's performance in the two wins."

"We're constantly trying to hit a mark in our reception patterns. Though we're not close to hitting those marks, I thought we were better than our average. I was pleased with our abilities with first-contact balls, and with our efficiencies at the pin. We were able to put the ball in play instead of making an error. Our error percentage is something I've paid a lot of attention to, and it was nice to see them lower. For me, those were two areas where I wanted to get better production - first contact and the ability to play the game out of system."

"Going into conference play, I know our team is disappointed in a 6-7 overall record, as am I. That's just an indicator that we need to work harder and get better. That's a challenge to our entire program in every regard, from the administration to the players. We all function as a unit. What's exciting is that we're 0-0 going into conference. It's a brand-new season and it's time to solidify our goals. We want to see what our team hopes to accomplish in the Big West Conference. We've improved. We'll have people back from injury - Kaylin [Squyres] has been out since our first week, and I'm excited to get her back. I'm really challenging our team."

"I haven't seen Pacific but I know they've worked extremely hard in recruiting. I'd give them the No. 1 recruiting coaches in our conference. They've earned it. They're competing for kids and getting them, they've gotten some international kids who have stepped up and made a difference. Some of their younger players have hit their statistical marks that enable a team to be successful. They're receiving votes to be in the Top 25. They know how to win and they're doing some things."