BERKELEY – Cal’s women’s volleyball team spent much of training camp focusing on passing more than usual. If the first two matches of the season are any indication, that extra work is going to pay some big dividends.
The Bears hit for a .396 percentage, paced by middle blocker Lillian Schonewise’s 13 kills, in a 25-16, 25-18, 25-19 win over New Mexico State on Saturday during the Cal Molten Classic. Through two matches this season, Cal hasn’t dropped a set and is hitting at a .400 clip.
“We probably spent more time this preseason with boring passing drills and not as much fun stuff, and it’s paying off,” Cal coach Rich Feller said. “The game stuff comes as the season comes along. The name off the game is passing. We have enough offensive weapons that, if we can pass the ball, we can deliver to a good hitter with some good isolation. We’re doing what we want to do so far.”
After hitting .404 in their season-opening win Friday against Nevada, Cal’s offense was once again an emblem of consistency Saturday. Schonewise made no errors and hit .684, while outside hitter Adrienne Gehan had 10 kills and hit .500.
Middle blocker Lara Vukasovic had nine kills at a .417 percentage. Schonewise also had six blocks.
“It’s so much fun, especially when the passes are so perfect,” Schonewise said. “Our defense is awesome, which also sets up our hitters.”
Schonewise, who redshirted last season, is averaging 3.00 kills per set so far and has yet to make an error. She is hitting .667. Schonewise and Vukasovic are two new starters this season, replacing accomplished graduates Shannon Hawari and Kat Brown.
“Things are going well,” Schonewise said. “It’s good to be back out there. I spent a lot of time preparing for this. It’s worked out well.”
In other Cal Molten Classic action Saturday, UC Santa Barbara defeated Nevada and New Mexico State in five sets each.
Gehan was named the tournament's most valuable player while Schonewise and setter Joan Caloiaro made the All-Tournament team.