MARIBOR, Slovenia – The Cal Volleyball team came close to handing the Chinese Junior National Team just its second loss in a set this year before falling 25-9, 25-19, 27-25, at the Hotel Dras Sports Center on Tuesday.
The Chinese team has dominated its competition this season, but the Bears had an opportunity to take a set in the second before dropping it in narrow fashion. The third set was also close throughout before China pull it out.
The match came as part of a four-team tournament taking place in Maribor, Slovenia. The Bears fell to the Slovenian Junior National Team on Monday and will close out the tourney with a match against the French Junior National Team on Wednesday.
Cal is now 2-3 overall during its two-week tour of Europe, which has brought it to Switzerland, Italy and Slovenia. The Bears will also visit Croatia before returning home.
The Bears and China played an extra set following the sweep to get in more work, which Cal dropped 25-22.
Junior middle blocker Lillian Schonewise continued her torrid play during the tour, registering 14 kills at a blistering .700 hitting percentage. Senior opposite hitter Christina Higgins added 11 kills while libero Mary McKennon had 18 digs.
Earlier in the day, the Bears took a three-hour tour of Maribor, which included a visit to the oldest grapevine in the world. Wednesday will be Cal’s final day in Maribor before heading on to Zagreb, Croatia, the hometown of junior Lara Vukasovic.
Vukasovic is one of three Croatians to play volleyball at Cal. One of them is former All-American Mia Jerkov, who attended Tuesday’s match. The Bears will meet up with the other, another former All-American Hana Cutura, in Zagreb.