BERKELEY –Adrienne Gehan has put up some lofty offensive numbers this season, but it’s that same right arm that has produced a lot of kills that got it done behind the service line Friday night.
Gehan served seven points in a row in the third set to turn a 19-13 deficit into a 20-19 advantage, and the Cal women’s volleyball team completed a sweep of Arizona, 25-23, 25-14, 25-23 to register its first Pac-12 victory of the season.
Gehan led the Bears (8-3, 1-1 Pac-12) with 13 kills and also had two service aces. But it was her tough serving in the third set that allowed Cal to close out the victory.
“Adrienne is strong and she has a great natural armswing,” said Cal coach Rich Feller, who notched the 590th win of his career. “She can go back there and jump-serve even though she’s jumped 34 times (on kill attempts). The armswing is so sweet and pure that she can go back there and do that jump-serve. She’s really lighting it up.”
Junior opposite Christina Higgins added 11 kills and six blocks for the Bears, who snapped a three-match losing streak with the victory. Sophomore middle blocker Lara Vukasovic had seven blocks for Cal.
The first set was close throughout, with neither team ever establishing more than a two-point advantage. The Wildcats (10-4, 0-2) led 21-20 but the Bears came back to take a 22-21 edge. It was tied at 23-23 when sophomore middle blocker Lillian Schonewise came up with a kill and Arizona made a hitting error to end the set.
Gehan served five straight points in the second set to help the Bears extend to an 11-4 advantage. Arizona never got closer than four points as Cal rolled to the win.
Gehan augmented her serving prowess during the third-set run with two kills from the back row as the Bears stormed back to take the lead. After Cal got to set point with a 24-21 advantage, the Wildcats scored two points in a row to cut it to 24-23. But the match ended on an Arizona service error.
“That was a pure case of us just kind of grinding it out, trying to make ourselves get up for a match that is as important as any other match,” Feller said. “When you have a team that doesn’t have the notoriety, it makes it really tough. We played well at times and a little rocky at times, but it’s still great to have the win.
The Bears now have a week off before visiting No. 11 UCLA next Friday night at 6 p.m. The match will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.