Volleyball To Honor Seniors Against No. 7 Wahine

Senior Caroline Mercado needs just 25 digs to become the seventh Aggie to amass 1,000 in a career.
(Jack Zhang, UC Davis Athletics)

Nov. 13, 2012

Tickets | 11.13.12 Weekly Release Get Acrobat Reader

Friday, Nov. 9 - at Cal Poly, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 10 - at UC Santa Barbara, 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 2 - UC IRVINE (W, 3-0)
Saturday, Nov. 3 - LONG BEACH STATE (L, 1-3)

TO RECAP: UC Davis (15-13, 9-6) leapfrogged into fourth place in the Big West Conference standing with 3-0 sweeps of Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara over the weekend... The Aggies stand a half-win behind Cal State Northridge... Senior OH Allison Whitson earned her second Big West Player of the Week award, tallying 39 kills (6.50 avg.) with .326 hitting... Her 20 kills in Saturday's win at UCSB is the most by an Aggie in a three-set match in more than five years... As a whole, UC Davis hit .306 for the weekend... Besides Whitson, Devon Damelio went 18-5-43 (.302), Victoria Lee finished 12-3-23 (.391), Katie Quinn hit 11-3-22 (.364) and Mary Schroeder added 5-1-12 (.333)... Quinn also had nine blocks for the weekend... Saturday's victory in the Thunderdome marks the first time UC Davis has ever swept the Gauchos (home or road).

MILESTONE WATCH: With 10 digs in each of the two matches over the weekend, senior Caroline Mercado brought her career digs total to 975... She looks to become the seventh Aggie to surpass 1,000 and the first since Kayla Varney hit that milestone in the 2010 season opener.

STATISTICAL LEADERS: Lee held at No. 3 in blocks (1.17) and No. 4 in hitting average (.309) among Big West Conference leaders... Setter Jenny Woolway remains at seventh in assists (8.62)... Whitson jumped two places to No. 4 among the kills leaders (3.89) while Mercado held on to the No. 10 spot in digs (3.58)... Whitson is one of five players to average better than 4.0 kills per set in conference matches: Emily Hartong of Hawai'i (4.74), Kayla Neto of Cal State Fullerton (4.65), Ashley Cox of UC Riverside (4.31), Whitson (4.11) and UCSB's Leah Sully (4.02).

UP NEXT: The Aggies compete in their final home weekend of the season, hosting Cal State Northridge on Friday then No. 7 Hawai'i on Saturday... Friday's match gives UC Davis a chance to move into third in the conference race: the Aggies are 9-6 in league while the Matadors are 9-5...

Saturday's match will also honor the three UC Davis seniors: Whitson, Mercado and defensive specialist Kaitlyn Plum... Plum, who redshirted her first year at UC Davis, is the only player who has been in the program for all five of head coach Jamie Holmes' years at the helm... Note: fans who attend that afternoon's UC Davis-Sacramento State football game may use their ticket stubs for free admission to volleyball.

CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE (18-9, 9-5) took a break from conference play, losing a five-set home match to Loyola Marymount on Saturday... Freshman MB Cleana Stinson recorded 15 kills and hit .367 for the match while Britney Graff posted 12 kills, a .381 average and four blocks... Oddly, the Matadors outhit the Lions by a .291-.193 margin and combined for 16.0 stuffs, but eventually squandered a 2-0 match lead... CSUN is led on the left side by Mahina Haina (277 kills, 2.66 per set) and Graff (273 kills, 242 digs)... Casey Hinger ranks second in the conference with 1.26 blocks per set.

HAWAI'I (22-2, 14-0) clinched the Big West Conference title with its road sweep of Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara two weeks ago, then took a break from the league slate to crush BYU-Hawai'i in three sets on Thursday... Sophomore Jane Croson attacked at 13-2-32 (.344) to lead the Wahine as longtime head coach Dave Shoji reached deep into his bench: 17 different players saw action against the Seasiders... Junior OH and former WAC Freshman of the Year Emily Hartong continues her bid for Big West Player of the Year honors... She leads the circuit with 4.52 kills per set (407 total) while hitting .279 on 1,025 swings... Redshirt freshman MB Jade Vorster paces the Big West Conference with a .390 average (185-40-372).

On the Cal Poly/UCSB weekend: "What stands out to me about both matches is our tenacity and `stick-to-it-ness.' In both matches, we had to come from behind to win. Against Cal Poly in particular, we were down 23-18. We popped into a 6-2 and talked to Val [Valerie Brain] about upping her kill efficiency. Lindsay came in and had Area 2 to serve to. To be able to rattle off so many points in a row to put ourselves at 24-23 really showed so much character and fight. That display of competitiveness and heart deserves a shout-out."

"The same thing happened against Santa Barbara. They had some opportunities to take a set off us but when the going got tough, our team just performed at the end. At this juncture of the season, it's very satisfying to see."

"We played at such a high level. Even in Game 1 when you look at some of the defensive contacts and out-of-system transitions from our attackers, we continued to get some good swings. Santa Barbara scrambles well. They have the best libero in the conference. But we got better contacts and better swings in transition. So we were the more physical team. Then to start the second set, we flexed our muscles and said, `this is the tone of the entire match.' Ally [Whitson] was hitting high. Her cross-court shot has gotten legit. Add her strength to the types of angles she generates, and it makes her hard to defend."

On Cal State Northridge/Hawai'i: "Both teams have players who stand out on their team, so the first thing we'll have to do is contain them. Hawai'i has two players and Northridge has one who bear the biggest brunt of the load. We're not going to stop them but we also can't have them go off for career numbers. On the defensive side of things, that will be important for us. We want to set out on a high clip, pass the ball well, make smart distribution choices, and put the ball away. Then the defensive transition are what we rely on to separate us to win games. The emphasis this week will definitely be serve-and-pass, but also the defensive side of the ball. Last week, we spent a lot of time on blocking and defense. The same will be true of this week."