As the UC Davis women’s volleyball squad battles through key Big West Conference competition, senior Allison Whitson has been etching her name into Aggie record books.
With 1,168 kills and 3,196 attacks, Whitson began her final UCD season in fifth place on each all-time list. So far in 2012, she already has climbed to No. 2 in both statistics.
The historic tally began with the 370 kills Whitson snagged in her freshman year, which was more than any first-year Aggie had ever posted.
Jamie Holmes, head coach at UCD for the past four years, said she cannot recall ever having a recruit who plays as high up on the net and one who hits with as much strength as Whitson.
“When she is on, she has a very high kill percentage, and she can really take over a match,” Holmes said. “Something that we work on her with is making sure she is a bit more efficient in her attacking numbers, but she is certainly one of the more physical outside hitters in the conference.”
Whitson’s unmatched power has earned her recognition outside of the program. In 2010, she became the only UCD sophomore in 16 years to be named to the All-Big West first team.
Despite being such a decorated athlete, Whitson is a modest young woman who won’t take all the credit for her memorable Aggie career.
“It’s a team sport; I never would have been able to do it without the rest of my team,” Whitson said. “We really push each other to work as hard as we can.”
In fact, it is her on- and off-the-court allies who have fueled her passion for volleyball.
“During high school (in Palo Alto), I was more of a swimmer,” Whitson said. “What drew me toward volleyball was that it was team-focused.
“Being on the (Aggies) is like joining a family. I live with three of my teammates, and we hang out all the time.”
The main goal of the 2012 campaign has not been to achieve individual benchmarks, she added, but rather to help the Aggies succeed in Big West play and make it to the NCAA tournament.
And those aspirations rely on the UCD squad (10-12, 4-5) breaking the gridlock that has them in sixth place, but separated from several other Big West rivals by just one game after the first round of conference matchups.
“We are middle of the pack with six other teams,” Holmes said. “For us, it’s exciting starting the second half of conference play, because it’s the tell-all of where we’re going to be.”
The Aggies are hoping to recover from two road defeats at Hawaii (3-1) and Cal State Northridge (3-1) in their match at Cal State Fullerton on Friday.
“The match is very important,” Holmes said. “It’s key that we contain Fullerton’s best attacker, outside hitter Kayla Neto. We’re going to have to slow her down.”
— Reach Brett Johnson at email@example.com or 530-747-8052.