BERKELEY – Three days after taking the No. 2 team in the nation to the limit before falling in a heartbreaker, Cal’s women’s volleyball team silenced the team that had been the talk of the Pac-12.
Senior outside hitter Adrienne Gehan had 15 kills and the Bears registered an impressive 25-21, 25-17, 25-21 victory over Colorado on Wednesday night at Haas Pavilion.
The Buffs entered the match winners of three of four, including an upset of then-No. 1 Washington. But the Bears (10-4, 3-2) limited Colorado (11-4, 3-2) to a .144 hitting percentage to win for the third time in four tries themselves.
“I give them a lot of credit for what they’ve done this year,” Cal coach Rich Feller said. “It’s not easy to beat any of the teams they’ve beat. But road trips in the Pac-12 are very, very tough. Travel is tough and the competition is tough. I feel really good to beat a team that is extremely hot and very dangerous and has a couple of quality wins. It just shows you how good the conference is.”
Colorado notched landmark wins on consecutive Friday nights, first knocking off then-No. 11 UCLA before beating the Huskies. The Bears also beat UCLA last week and then fell in five sets to then-No. 2 USC, which is the No. 1 team in the land this week.
“Off the loss to USC, we just wanted to prove a point to everyone that we are Cal,” Cal defensive specialist Mary McKennon said. "Colorado just beat the No. 1 team in the nation, so we knew they were going to be really good. And they were really good. We just stepped up and performed.”
The Bears actually got off to a sluggish start, falling behind 5-0 in the first set. But Cal gradually climbed back into it and took its first lead at 11-10. Gehan served five points in a row later in the set to give the Bears a 20-14 lead, and after the Buffs closed it to 22-20, Cal put it away.
The Bears jumped out to an early 7-3 lead in the second set. Colorado eventually cut it to 12-11, but Cal scored nine of the next 11 points to take control.
The Bears led comfortably for most of the third set. The Buffs made a couple of runs to get close, but each time Cal answered.
Sophomore middle blocker Lara Vukasovic added eight kills and four blocks for the Bears, who hit a respectable .278. But it was Cal’s tough serving that kept Colorado out of an offensive rhythm all night.
“We served very well,” Feller said. “We’ve been working on that. I think we did a good job of picking our spots.”
Cal will next face Utah on Sunday night at Haas Pavilion at 7 p.m.. The match will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.