BERKELEY – With the match on the line, Lillian Schonewise threw a block party.
Cal’s sophomore middle blocker had four of her eight blocks in the fifth set, and the Bears’ women’s volleyball team outlasted Oregon State on Sunday afternoon, 25-18, 21-25, 20-25, 25-22, 15-8 at Haas Pavilion.
It was Cal’s third win in a row and pushed its Pac-12 record to 6-4 (13-6 overall) and tied for fourth place in the Pac-12 standings.
“We kind of kicked it into gear,” Schonewise said.”They pushed us and we rose to the challenge.”
Sophomore middle blocker Lara Vukasovic set a career-high in kills for the second match in a row with 18 and senior outside hitter Adrienne Gehan tied career-highs with 22 kills and 18 digs. Gehan went over the 1,000-kill mark for her career during the first set. She is the 15th player in Cal history to amass 1,000 kills in a career.
Vukasovic, who had 17 kills in Friday night’s win over No. 20 Oregon, hit for a .500 percentage and also had five blocks.
The Beavers fell to 0-10 in conference play (9-12 overall) but pushed the Bears to the limit after winning the second and third set and playing it close in the fourth.
“Oregon State played out of their heads,” Cal coach Rich Feller said. “That didn’t look like a team that’s 0-for the Pac-12. But it just shows again how strong this conference really is, that a team that can’t get a win can play that kind of volleyball.”
The Bears got off to a blistering start, racing out to a 9-2 lead in the first set. The Beavers stabilized things from there but Cal kept its lead comfortable throughout the set.
Oregon State outplayed Cal in each of the next two sets, but the Bears turned things around in the fourth, using a five-point run to open up a 17-11 lead. The Bears extended the advantage to 21-14 before the Beavers made a run to cut it to 24-22.
Cal won the first three points of the fifth set, including a block by Vukasovic and Christina Higgins. Schonewise then teamed up with Higgins for two blocks and Michelle Neumayr and Joan Caloiaro for two others. The final block gave the Bears a 12-5 lead and they cruised to the victory.
“It came together in the end,” Feller said. “There were a lot of holes in our block and our defense wasn’t able to handle it. Finally, at the end, we started getting some blocks. It took awhile.”
The win allowed the Bears to register their first weekend sweep in Pac-12 play this season after knocking off the Ducks on Friday night. Cal will host No. 4 USC on Friday and UCLA on Sunday.
“These wins were big. They put us back in the top half of the Pac-12,” Schonewise said. “We kept saying as a team that the game Friday doesn’t really matter if we don’t win today. We were really focused on getting both wins this weekend.”