53.3 F

Davis, California

Monday, April 15, 2024

Home heartbreak

 It was the venue that had been the Aggies’ friend all year.

The UC Davis volleyball team had not lost a game in the Pavilion this season, and it entered the weekend ready to keep its homecourt momentum going against some tough opponents.

Unfortunately for the Aggies, all that changed this week.

UC Davis started off Friday with a 3-2 loss to Cal State Fullerton in a hard fought match. The Aggies then followed that with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Big West Conference leaders Long Beach State.

With the pair of losses, the Aggies moved to 20-10 on the year, 6-9 in conference play.

Friday — Cal State Fullerton 3, UC Davis 2

The Aggies got off to the start they were looking for against the Titans.

UC Davis claimed the first two sets, looking like the better team and taking a commanding early lead.

Still, CSU Fullerton battled back, winning a hard-fought third set 25-23. The Titans then followed that with a victory in the fourth frame to level the match at 2-2.

The final frame was a back and forth affair, slowed down by the officials who stopped the game on multiple occasions to temper the heckling coming from the UC Davis stands.

Ultimately it was the Titans who took both the set and the game, with a 15-12 fifth-frame win.

“We didn’t adjust to things as quickly as we needed to,” said senior Katie Denny when asked about the final three sets. “This clearly didn’t go the way we wanted it to.”

Junior Allison Whitson and sophomore Devon Damelio led the Aggies with 16 kills apiece, while Denny and freshman Valerie Brain added 12 each.

Damelio paced UC Davis with 19 digs and junior Caroline Mercado tallied nine.

Saturday — Long Beach State 3, UC Davis 1

It was back and forth from the very start.

The first set alone featured 12 ties and seven lead changes, as the 49ers jumped out to an early lead.

The Aggies came from behind in the second set to level the match at one set apiece, but in the end it was Long Beach State who took the next two sets to nab the 3-1 victory.

Despite the loss, coach Jamie Holmes was pleased with her team’s effort.

“Our team should feel really confident,” Holmes said. “To play against a team that is as good and as physical as Long Beach [State], and to be right there for the whole game, that is a real reason for optimism.”

Whitson again led the Aggies with 20 kills.

“[Whitson] has continued to be a performance leader for us,” Holmes said. “Her numbers were right where we’d want them to be tonight.”

Brain added 13 kills while Mercado paced UC Davis with career-high 27 digs.

UC Davis will return to action Saturday when it faces Pacific at the Pavilion for its final regular season match of the year.

TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.


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