UC Davis Hosts UCSB, Cal Poly In Big West Series

Senior libero Caroline Mercado maintains a pace to become the seventh player in school history to amass 1,000 career digs. She has averaged 3.76 per set in five Big West matches.
(Wayne Tilcock, Davis Enterprise)

Oct. 9, 2012

10.09.12 Weekly Release Get Acrobat Reader

Friday, Oct. 12 - UC SANTA BARBARA, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 13 - CAL POLY, 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 5 - at Long Beach State (L, 1-3)
Saturday, Oct. 6 - at UC Irvine (W, 3-0)

TO RECAP: UC Davis (9-9, 3-2) split its first Big West Conference road weekend of the year, falling in four at Long Beach State before sweeping UC Irvine in straight sets on Saturday... Friday's loss to LBSU marks only the second time (since UAB on Aug. 25) the Aggies have won the first set but lost the match: they are 8-2 when capturing the opener... Senior Allison Whitson averaged 5.57 kills per set (39 total) while adding an ace and 24 digs (3.43) for the weekend... In fact, all three seniors performed well on the page in the two matches... Besides Whitson, libero Caroline Mercado finished with 29 digs (4.14) and committed just one receive error... Defensive specialist Kaitlyn Plum posted dig totals of 12 and 14 on the two nights, respectively...

The Last Meeting
UC Santa Barbara1
UC Davis3
October 28, 2011
Davis, Calif.
Aggies Score Key Comebacks In Win Over Gauchos
UC Davis 3, UC Santa Barbara 1
UC Davis battled back both from a first-set loss and a 20-14 deficit in the fourth set to claim a 20-25, 27-25, 25-23, 31-29 victory over UC Santa Barbara in Big West Conference women's volleyball action at the Pavilion Friday night.

The Last Meeting
Cal Poly2
UC Davis3
October 29, 2011
Davis, Calif.
Damelio Scores Career High As Aggies Outduel Mustangs
UC Davis 3, Cal Poly 2
Sophomore opposite Devon Damelio slammed a career-best 21 kills and hit .400 while three other Aggies set or tied career highs, helping UC Davis claim a five-set, 19-25, 30-28, 25-18, 23-25, 15-8 victory over Cal Poly in a Big West Conference women's volleyball match in front of 440 Saturday night at the Pavilion.

CONFERENCE PERFORMERS: Whitson has recorded 4.19 kills and 3.33 digs per set in Big West play, up from 3.65 and 3.04 averages in the preseason... However, no Aggie has improved in league action like sophomore Valerie Brain: she has gone from 1.93 kills, .119 hitting, 0.52 digs and 0.37 blocks in 46 non-conference sets to 2.29 kills, .209 hitting, 0.76 digs and 0.57 blocks in 21 Big West frames... Much of Brain's production came in the previous weekend series with UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton.

STATISTICAL LEADERS: Whitson moved up one spot to No. 6 among Big West Conference kills leaders... At 3.81, she now eyes Jane Croson of Hawai'i (3.84) and Leah Sully of UC Santa Barbara (3.85)... Sophomore MB Victoria Lee moved to fifth in hitting average (.315) while taking over the conference lead in blocks (1.26)... Mercado also moved up a place on the digs leaderboard, now comfortably in seventh (3.87)... Junior setter Jenny Woolway ranks eighth in that category at 8.17 per.

MILESTONE WATCH: Woolway's penultimate assist against Long Beach State made her the fifth Aggie in school history to surpass 3,000 in her career... She enters this weekend with 3,037, needing 89 to pass Kelly Urbanik for fourth on school's career list... Whitsonm, who became UC Davis' No. 2 career kills leader in mid-September, needs 69 to reach 1,500... A countdown can also begin for Mercado's 1,000th career dig... She enters the weekend with 870... With 267 digs in 18 matches and 13 dates remaining, she is on pace for 460 on the year and 1,063 career... Six players in school history have notched four digits, mostly recently Kayla Varney (1,462 from 2007-10).

UP NEXT: The Aggies return to the Pavilion for their fourth weekend of Big West Conference play, this time playing host to UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly... Friday's match against the Gauchos is UC Davis Staff & Faculty Appreciation night - admission is free for all campus employees... Saturday also features a discounted admission: as "Twitter Tweets Day," following the Aggies on Twitter (@UCDavisAggies) and printing out the volleyball-related Tweet earns a $3 admission.

UC SANTA BARBARA (9-11, 2-3) split a home weekend with Cal State Northridge and Hawai'i, playing the minimum six sets in beating the Matadors but losing to the Wahine... Junior OH Leah Sully posted 16 kills and 13 digs in the win over CSUN while libero Taylor Formico broke Kelly Heenan's school freshman record for digs... Formico picked up 18 digs in the match to bring her season total to 418, surpassing Heenan's 2010 mark of 413... Formico, who leads the conference with a 5.56 average, added 16 more digs on Saturday... Besides Sully's output, junior MB Katey Thompson has 198 kills (3.05) and 67 blocks (1.03).

The Gauchos have emerged into a heated rival in Big West play during the past few years... After losing to UCSB in straight sets on seven straight occasions from 2005-08, the Aggies have battled to the rubber set in four of the past five meetings... The Gauchos won 3-2 on 10/1/11 and 11/12/10, while UC Davis prevailed by that score on 10/16/10 and and 10/17/09.

CAL POLY (1-16, 0-5) saw its losing streak extend to 13 matches with home setbacks against Hawai'i and Cal State Northridge... The Mustangs did snipe a set win off the Wahine on Friday, something four other conference schools (including second-place Long Beach State) have failed to do thus far... Senior OH and Davis High product Molly Pon led Cal Poly with 12 kills and .312 hitting against UH... Junior OH Chelsea Hardin hit 10-1-20 (.450) against CSUN... The Mustangs have operated without two-time All-American Jennifer Keddy, who has sat out the year after undergoing preseason shoulder surgery... Junior Holly Franks leads Cal Poly offensively with 170 kills (2.88) while Nicole Kessler paces her team with 191 digs.