Energized Aggies Prep For Final Big West Road Trip

Valerie Brain tied a career high of 15 kills in Friday's win against UC Santa Barbara.
(Jack Zhang, CRZ Photography)

Oct. 31, 2011

10.31.11 Weekly Release Get Acrobat Reader

Friday, Nov. 4 - at Cal State Northridge, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 5 - at UC Riverside, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 28 - UC SANTA BARBARA (W, 3-1)
Saturday, Oct. 29 - CAL POLY (W, 3-2)

TO RECAP: UC Davis (20-6, 6-5) scored two emotional home wins over the weekend, coming back from a 20-14 deficit in the fourth set to beat UC Santa Barbara on Friday, then enjoying a commanding fifth set over Cal Poly on Saturday... Senior MB Betsy Sedlak tallied 32 kills and nine blocks with a .342 hitting average to claim Big West Conference Player of the Week honors... However, the Aggies rode heroics from the entire roster during the weekend: redshirt freshman Valerie Brain scored 15 kills and four blocks while senior MB Katie Denny hit 10-2-18 (.444) over the Gauchos... Sophomore OPP Devon Damelio tallied 21 kills and hit .400 while Sedlak added 19 kills in the victory over Cal Poly... Sophomore S Jenny Woolway tallied 59 assists against UCSB, 58 against Cal Poly... Junior DS Kaitlin Plum enjoyed a strong overall weekend of 26 digs in nine sets; she now has four straight double-digit matches defensively... Moreover, several reserves stepped in to spark the team at crucial moments: notably freshman DS Megan Lancaster, who had nine digs in six sets; and redshirt freshman MB Victoria Lee, who provided 2-for-3 hitting in a Set 4 relief appearance on Saturday.

Saturday's victory also marks the second 20-win season in head coach Jamie Holmes' four-year career... The Aggies last hit that milestone with a 20-10 season in 2009 which, in turn, was the first since the program's 21-11 mark in 1996... The school record for wins belongs to the 1990 team, which went a whopping 30-17 thanks to an extensive tournament schedule.

CAREER NIGHT: The team's career-high chart underwent a facelift after the weekend: Brain tied her best of 15 kills and set a new one of four blocks in Friday's match... Damelio set career bests in kills, attacks (45) and assists (10) on Saturday, the latter coming as a result of Woolway's 19 digs... Sedlak matched her personal record of 19 kills on a career-high 43 attacks... Juniors Allison Whitson and Caroline Mercado each tied career highs for digs with 19 and 23, respectively... Brain also fired a career-high 48 swings... Lancaster, who had appeared in just four matches and five sets entering the weekend, contributed five digs vs. Cal Poly for yet another high...

STATISTICAL LEADERS: Sedlak moved back up one place to No. 4 on the Big West hitting average leaders (.330) while remaining fourth in blocks (1.10)...Woolway strengthened her No. 2 hold on the assists leaderboard at 10.89... Mercado jumped back up to fourth in digs (4.12), Whitson also moved up a click to sixth in kills (3.63)... Denny still ranks 7th in hitting at .296... In conference only, UC Davis leads the league with 13.73 kills per set.

NEXT: The Aggies return to the road for one more Big West trip to Southern California, this time for matches against Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside... UC Davis swept both teams during a home weekend at Hickey Gym earlier in October... The Aggies hope to break away from a tight pack in the conference race: after leader Long Beach State (10-2), UC Davis, Pacific and UC Santa Barbara are tied for second at 6-5, CSUN stands alone in fifth at 5-5, while Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly are both 5-6.

CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE (11-11, 5-5) snapped a three-match winning streak with a 3-0 loss to Long Beach State on Saturday... The Matadors opened their weekend with a three-set sweep of Cal State Fullerton, tallying 12.0 blocks in holding the Titans to an .083 average... Sophomore OPP Natalie Allen hit 12 kills with 11 digs... Setter Sydney Gedryn led her team with seven blocks while MB Courtney Hinger added six to go with 8-2-16 attacking... Hinger led CSUN offensively with eight kills and 22 swings in the loss to Long Beach.

UC RIVERSIDE (5-19, 2-8) lost its third straight match after claiming a five-set upset of UC Santa Barbara on October 15... The Highlanders lost in a sweep to Long Beach State on Friday, then in a five-set heartbreaker against Fullerton the following night... Amanda Vialpando hit 10-4-30 in the loss to the 49ers, then tallied 19 kills and 16 digs in the setback to the Titans... UC Davis has now won six straight matchups against the Highlanders, with the last series loss taking place on October 10, 2008.

On the two wins: "We needed that. We went through a hard time in the middle of the conference season, a tough road swing. Sometimes it's hard to recover from that without thinking the world is crumbling onto you. So it was nice to revisit the basics of volleyball last week. We spent a lot of time concentrating on serving and passing, and statistically you can see our passing was really solid. We had a 63 percent perfect-passing average against Santa Barbara. It fell a little against Cal Poly, but when we pass the ball well, we're able to run our middles. It's refreshing to see our middles get as many attempts as they did, and that opens up our outsides as well. So as a team, we did well in our serving and passing. This was a big weekend for the Aggies in every regard."

On the upcoming weekend: "We'll continue to work on our serving and passing. Good things happen when we do well in those areas. We'll continue to work on our blocking. Our team has shown the ability to play well on the road, starting our season with three weeks straight and doing as well as we did. We'll revisit those concepts and know that we have some firepower. I look for us to stay in the process. We have some neat reasons to work hard and to take this weekend seriously. We have some stuff cooking on the backburner. We're not out of the NCAA tournament's eye, so we have to finish out the season strong by getting the wins that we should. But at the same time, we can't look at that. We have to make sure we're going through the process, playing to our abilities and even getting better. That will be the focus for this week. We can't look pass Riverside or Northridge. They do some nice things and when they get in rhythm and tempo, they can be scary."