SALT LAKE CITY – After staving off 11 set points in the first set Thursday night, the third set was easy for the No. 22 Cal women’s volleyball team.
The Bears overcame a 24-19 deficit in the first set and a 24-20 disadvantage in the third to record a 31-29, 25-19, 28-26 Pac-12 Conference victory over Utah.
After Cal (15-7, 8-5 Pac-12) tied the first set up at 24-24, the Utes had five more set points before the Bears closed it out on a Utah attack error and a block by Lara Vukasovic and Christina Higgins. Cal erased the 24-20 deficit in the third, and then the Utes staved off three set points before the Bears polished off the match.
“Not only does it say a lot about our toughness and perseverance, but our mentality as a team,” said Cal sophomore outside hitter Michelle Neumayr, who had a career-high 12 kills. “We’re just a really calm and collected team. We come out and play the first point the same as when it’s 24-19. I think that really helped us with the comeback.”
It was the second consecutive strong offensive performance for Neumayr, who had nine kills at a .409 hitting percentage during Sunday’s win over UCLA. Neumayr hit .310 on Thursday night.
Neumayr is playing her first season at Cal after missing the past two seasons with knee surgeries.
“That’s something that has been sorely needed,” Cal coach Rich Feller said. “I know she feels great about the contribution she is making. She is getting better and better as the season goes along.”
“Getting through that first half of Pac-12 really gave me a taste of what it’s like,” Neumayr said. “I feel like I’m getting every day. Getting more experience under my belt has really helped me a lot.”