PALO ALTO, Calif. – Cal’s women’s volleyball team is on the mend, but the Bears weren’t quite enough back to full strength to overcome No. 3 Stanford on Friday night and closed out the 2013 regular season with a 25-16, 22-25, 25-17, 25-21 loss at Maples Pavilion.
Senior outside hitter Adrienne Gehan returned from a three-match absence due to an abdominal injury but her playing time was limited. She had two kills and two solo blocks in three sets of action.
Michelle Neumayr, who missed the Bears’ loss at Arizona State on Wednesday because of the flu, was also back on the court and had eight kills and 11 digs.
The Bears finished the regular season with a record of 17-12 and tied for fifth place in the Pac-12 standings with a mark of 10-10. Cal will now wait until Sunday to learn its NCAA Tournament fate.
Junior Christina Higgins, who played outside hitter the previous three matches in place of Gehan, returned to her more natural position of opposite hitter and her recent explosive production continued. Higgins, who had put down at least 20 kills in each of her past three matches, led the Bears Friday with 18 kills at a .415 hitting percentage.
Sophomore middle blocker Lara Vukasovic added 12 kills and three blocks for the Bears.
After the Cardinal (24-5, 17-3) dominated the first set, Cal responded and jumped out to a 5-1 lead to begin the second set. Four points in a row later in the set pushed the Bears’ advantage to 17-11 and they eventually extended the lead to 20-13. Stanford stormed back to shave the deficit to 24-22 but a kill by Neumayr finally ended the set and evened the match.
Stanford established a big early lead and cruised to the third set win but the Bears were able to muster some momentum with a late run and that carried over to make the fourth set tight. After the Cardinal took an 11-5 lead, Cal scored four in a row behind some good serving by senior setter Joan Caloiaro. The Bears were still within 22-20 after a kill by Higgins but couldn’t get any closer and the Cardinal closed out the match.