No. 4 Bears Hold Off No. 2 Huskies In Four Sets
Oct. 14, 2011
BERKELEY, Calif. - A battle between two top-five volleyball teams lived up to its billing tonight at Haas Pavilion, but it was fourth-ranked Cal that stayed perfect at home with a 3-1 win over the second-ranked Huskies, snapping a seven-match win streak for Washington (15-2, 7-2 Pac-12) in front of 1,875 fans. The Huskies varied their lineup and attack all night, and were just within reach of a fifth set, but Cal (18-2, 8-2 Pac-12) pulled out the win, 25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 27-25.
Freshman Summer Ross shone on offense and defense back in her home state, as she posted a career high 14 kills with 14 digs and three blocks, while making just one error for a .333 attack percentage. It's the first time this season she's led the Huskies in kills. Senior Bianca Rowland also had a big night with 11 kills and seven blocks while hitting .400. The Huskies ran two setters at the Bears all night, alternating senior Evan Sanders and sophomore Jenni Nogueras, and sophomore Gabbi Parker also saw her first extended run in the fourth set, adding three kills.
Washington out-blocked the Bears, 13.5 to 12.0, and held Cal to just .214 on offense, well below its Pac-12 leading mark of .291 coming in. But UW was also held well below its own average, hitting .157, in large part thanks to 94 digs by the Bears, far and away the highest for a Husky opponent this year.
Head Coach Jim McLaughlin thought the hard lessons would serve UW well moving forward, saying "we have a chance if we can learn from our mistakes, grind and accept it and get fired up about making some changes for the better. We're learning if we don't do things right there are consequences, and that's a good lesson."
After enduring her toughest pair of matches last week at home, McLaughlin was "proud of Summer" tonight. "She dug well, passed well, hit well, she did everything. Her composure and her competitiveness. They've written a lot of stuff about her, but she's starting to earn it a little bit. She is showing the kind of player she can be."
Sanders started the match off with an ace for the Dawgs. The Bears blocked Vansant's first swing on a low set for a 2-1 lead. Barfield had UW's first kill of the night out of the middle to tie it early. Ross used the block for her first kill and a 4-3 lead. A big triple block in the middle on Tarah Murrey was followed by a Rowland put-away from the middle for a 6-4 edge. Rowland put down a Cal overpass to maintain the lead at 9-8. A Vansant tip was called down by the line judge but the officials did not see it and Cal wound up with the point for a 13-10 lead and the Huskies called time. Barfield got a clutch block of Murrey out of the break to get the serve back for the Dawgs. UW trimmed the lead to one, but Cal tracked down two long deflections and eventually got a big block for the 15-13 lead. Barfield came back with a kill on the next point to quell a major momentum shift. Sophomore setter Jenni Nogueras rotated in for the Dawgs but missed her first serve, and Cal grabbed the next two points on an unlucky deflection and a ball-handling error for an 18-14 lead and the Huskies took their last timeout. Rowland and Vansant put away two overpasses to get back to 17-20, but after a Bears timeout, they broke the run on a slide kill from Correy Johnson. The Huskies could not cut the deficit any further, however, and after staving off one set point, Cal finished from the right side for a 25-20 set win. The Bears outhit the Dawgs, .312 to .146 in the first set.
Consecutive kills from Ross on the left side helped the Dawgs out to a nice 3-0 start to the second set, and then Barfield and Dunaway teamed up to reject Murrey for a four-point lead. Muñoz and Barfield then sent back a Johnson swing on the weak side for a 6-1 edge and Cal called time. The break paid off as Cal took the first three out of the break until a service error ended the mini-run. Long well-played rallies with clutch digs from each side dotted the next several rallies, with Muñoz and Rowland notching kills to reopen a three-point lead for the Dawgs at 10-7. A block from Ross and Barfield kept UW out front, 13-11. Cal took its first lead at 14-13 on an ace and the Dawgs whistled for their first timeout. Ross broke the 3-0 run with her fifth kill, connecting on the right side. UW got back even at 15-all as the Bears swung long. A key rally was adeptly finished by Muñoz who tipped the server dump back over for a kill to get to 16-17. Washington tied it once again at 18-all as Cal missed a back row swing. One of the great points of the season went back and forth with several incredible digs, until Vansant crushed one off the block to give UW the 19-18 lead. The teams traded sideouts, with emphatic kills by Rowland and Vansant keeping UW one point ahead. Ross then came through with the kill for the 22-21 lead. Cal tied it again but Muñoz finished for 23-22 and after a long think, Cal called time. A misplaced set led to Cal hitting long and UW got set point at 24-22. Murrey went up for a swing on the next rally, but Rowland and Muñoz were ready and waiting to put it back off the All-American and down for the 25-22 set win. UW hit .238 for the set and held Cal to .120 on offense.
After the intermission, it was Cal that came out with a quick 4-0 burst to force an early Husky timeout. Vansant ended the run with a kill out of the next serve-receive. Ross continued her big night with two early kills on each side of the court, the second cutting the lead to 4-6. The teams swapped two-point runs, with Cal grabbing a 10-6 lead. But the Dawgs ran off four-straight points to get back even at 10-all and force a Cal timeout. Muñoz put down a tip, and another Cal error was followed by an ace from Orlandini and a thunderous roof by Dunaway and Rowland off a left-side Higgins swing accounted for the run. Cal got two straight out of the break until Vansant cracked one crosscourt. But two more Cal points earned them a 14-11 lead and UW needed time. Nogueras went back to Vansant on the left and she put one off the defense and out, then Barfield stymied one swing and then put the overpass down for the next point to make it 13-14 Bears. Washington was called for a rotation error on serve and then a Murrey kill pushed the lead to 17-13 until Cal missed serve. Ross and Barfield chipped one off the lead with a block of Murrey but Dunaway then served it long. After a Barfield kill cut it to 16-18, Cal broke things open with a 5-0 run for a 23-16 lead before Ross finally stopped the bleeding with a well-placed right-side swing. But a block of Vansant on the next rally took Cal to set point. A powerful swing from Rowland saved one but the Bears finished on the next rally for the 25-18 win. UW had its most errors of any set in that frame with eight to hit just .051.
Gabbi Parker had checked in late in the third set for Vansant and remained on the floor to start the fourth. Ross continued to motor along with back-to-back kills for an early 3-2 lead. Parker's first kill in Pac-12 play came out of the back row tied it up at 4-4. UW answered a two-point Cal run with a four-point spurt of its own, with a Rowland and Muñoz rejection leveling it at 6-6. A long rally was then roofed down at the net by Rowland again on the next point, and she put away an overpass for an 8-6 Husky lead. Cal swung long for a 10-8 Husky edge. A pair of great digs by Ross led to a Parker kill for an 11-9 lead. Cal used a 3-0 run to get back on top, 14-13, as Barfield was blocked and Muñoz shot one long, forcing a Huskies timeout. UW got back ahead on a Nogueras ace, 15-14, then Rowland and Muñoz rejected Hawari on the next rally and it was Cal that needed time. The Bears took four of the next five points to retake the lead, 18-17, as Washington struggled to terminate, and called its last timeout. Nogueras set high to Rowland who found the floor to tie it out of the break. Parker turned what looked like an impending free ball into a kill with some perfect spin for 19-all, but a long rally went Cal's way on the next point. Down 19-21, Vansant checked back in for the first time in the set, and rolled a kill in over the defense. The teams traded sideouts, until Ross went off the block and out to get the Huskies back even at 22-all. Murrey killed the next swing on the left for a Cal lead, but Ross knotted it yet again with a rightside finish. The Dawgs thought they had a block on the next rally but it was called just wide for match point Cal at 24-23. Again it was the beach sensation that came through on the right to save it, but Murrey then finished out of the back row despite three UW blockers. Cal gave it back with a service error, but UW then returned the favor, Orlandini floating it long for 25-26. Finally Cal broke through when Vansant was blocked on the next rally, giving the Bears a 27-25 win.
The Huskies will head to Palo Alto tonight and look to break through against seventh-ranked Stanford on Saturday night at Maples Pavilion. First serve there will be 7 p.m.