BERKELEY – The No. 23 Cal women’s volleyball team is seven matches into the 2013 season and has played opponents of all shapes and sizes.
But no matter the style or quality of the opponent, the Bears have yet to falter in a single set this season.
Cal made it seven straight sweeps to begin 2013 on Friday night, taking care of Santa Clara 25-20, 25-22, 25-17 at the Hilton Garden Inn Invitational at Haas Pavilion. That’s 21 straight sets the Bears have taken to start the season. The school record for consecutive sets won is 30, established back in 2011.
“We’ve had to play a lot of different styles and I’m pleased with the fact that we’ve been able to control our own tempo,” Cal coach Rich Feller said. “We’ve made adjustments and played at a pretty high level against different teams. We’ve controlled our side of the net, regardless of what the other team is doing to us.”
The Broncos (4-4) were one of the tougher opponents Cal has played so far. Santa Clara has taken sets from nationally ranked teams such as Hawaii and UCLA this season, and dominated Kansas State on Thursday during the first night of the tournament. Santa Clara stayed close during each of the first two sets Friday night before Cal rolled in the third.
“That’s the best team that we’ve played,” Feller said. “They were so prepared for us and they have aggressive players and a good system. I was really pleased with the consistency of the team. We never panicked when they went on a run. We have to feel good about it because Santa Clara is a good team.”
Senior outside hitter Adrienne Gehan once again led the Bears with 11 kills and eight digs while hitting for a .357 percentage. Junior opposite hitter Christina Higgins had 10 kills while sophomore middle blocker Lillian Schonewise had six kills and three blocks.
Freshman libero Maddy Kerr was spectacular on defense, finishing with 10 digs.
The Bears close out the Hilton Garden Inn Invitational on Saturday against Kansas State at 1 p.m.