Welcome home, Aggies. Goodbye, Hornets … take care.
After going 3-4 in invitationals at LSU and Nevada, the UC Davis women’s volleyball team obliterated visiting Sacramento State, 3-0, Tuesday night in its home opener at The Pavilion.
The win was complete and quick and appreciated by a committed crowd of 359.
“If we can receive serves well, we’re very dominant offensively,” Aggie coach Jamie Holmes explained. “Every position on our court has the ability to score easily … for us it’s being able to get the ball to our centers … where our centers aren’t running down balls and we’re able to run an offense.”
Mission accomplished — and how!
In an opening match that took just 21 minutes, outside hitters Valerie Brain and Kaylin Squyres collected five kills apiece and opposite Devon Damelio nailed four points en route to a 25-12 decision.
The second set — a 25-17 UCD win — wasn’t much better for the Hornets (5-3). Sacramento State did, however, lead twice by five points before losing the final set, 25-22.
Along the way, Aggie setter Jenny Woolway collected 36 assists.
The senior from Torrey Pines High now has 3,515 successful sets, just 34 behind the career school record (3,549 set by Denise Bilbaeno, 1987-90). Woolway, with eight against the Hornets, also is only 10 digs away from 1,000. Remarkable for a setter, she would be only the eighth player in program history to achieve the milestone.
In Tuesday’s first set, UCD roared out of the national anthem.
Squyres and Victoria Lee scored off assists from Damelio. Katie Quinn tallied, again thanks to Damelio, who also thwarted a kill shot at the net, resulting in yet another Aggie point. The locals opened a 7-1 lead before the Hornets settled in to make a match of it, albeit briefly, at 12-7.
From there, teammates began to defend Sacramento State serves and find Woolway — who, in turn, got the ball to hungry hitters.
UCD was on an 8-2 run and, when it closed out that first set, the tone was set. It was the Aggies’ night, earning the school 10 points in the Causeway Cup series between the longtime rivals.
“What impressed me (Tuesday was) the outside hitting department … both Squyres and Brain took some very aggressive swings not only from the pins but from the back row,” Holmes told The Enterprise. “It was refreshing to see them hot on the same night.”
Holmes praised Lee for being “very strong in middle” and libero Megan Lancaster, who “dug some balls and covered some balls she hadn’t been covering quite yet, so I was also impressed with her improvement.”
Lancaster led all players with 13 digs.
But it was finishing each set strong that most impressed the coach:
“We’ve been working on efficiency at the end of games. On the road we played well … just played some teams that out-physicaled us or out-teamed us in some aspects of the game. I was happy coming away from LSU and was happy coming away from Reno.”
On the night, Brain led the Aggies with 15 kills. Damelio (13), Squyres (11) and Lee (10) were all in double digits as the team made good on 37 percent of its attempts.
Lindsay Dowd, spelling Woolway, set up teammates on 10 occasions.
Now, UCD spends the weekend at the Portland/Oregon State Challenge. Friday it’s the co-host Pilots (7:30 p.m.), Saturday the Aggies face the Beavers (10 a.m.) and Toledo (4 p.m.).
The locals are next home against Cal on Sept. 19 (7:30 p.m.) and Cal State Bakersfield Sept. 22 (1 p.m.).
Notes: UCD’s defense was lights out as the Hornets converted only 22 percent of their attempts. The Ags also out-dug their guests, 56-42. … Kayla Beal’s eight kills paced Sac State … At Nevada, senior Damelio (48 kills, 29 digs) and junior Quinn (.414 hitting, 15 blocks) made the all-tournament team. UCD lost to Illinois State in what proved to be the title game in the Wolf Pack Invitational. … Big West Conference member Hawaii (5-1) is ranked No. 10 in the land, according to this week’s NCAA rankings. Cal State Northridge (6-0) received votes.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or 530-747-8047.