STOCKTON, Calif. – After making history by playing its first match ever, the Cal sand volleyball team is now ready to look to the future.
The Bears fell to Pacific 4-1 on Sunday in the first official match in school history. The No. 2 team of sophomores Lara Vukasovic and Sarah Cole scored Cal’s lone victory with a 21-16, 21-18 victory over the Tigers’ Kimmy Whitson and Anne-Sophie Bauer.
The Bears’ No. 1 team of seniors Adrienne Gehan and Joan Caloiaro went to three sets against UOP’s Kat Schulz and Lexi Elman before falling 19-21, 21-18, 15-4. Cal’s No. 3 team of sophomore Nikki Gombar and freshman Maddy Kerr also went three sets before losing 20-22, 21-15, 15-7.
The Bears were able to practice only two times as a full team before Sunday because the sand season overlapped with the end to the Bears’ spring season. Cal will practice only in the sand from here on out.
“I think we’ll get better exponentially,” Cal coach Rich Feller said. “It’s good for us to get this under our belt. Our expectations are not to play for a national championship this year, but to really set the stage for some really top-level sand volleyball at Cal.”
At No. 4, the Bears’ team of sophomore Katarina Milosavljevic and freshman Sabrina Blackwell fell to Pacific’s Alicja Wilk and Hanna Levanen, 21-15, 21-16. Cal’s No. 5 team of freshmen Laura Leap and Caroline Olsen were downed by the Tigers’ Megan Birch and Katy Tagart.
“Our No. 2s did a great job and played really, really well together,” Feller said. “We kind of expected that. Both of their ball skills complement each other. Personality-wise, they’re extremely good together because they cooperate and they encourage, and they don’t get down on each other. They can help boost each other without being negative.”
The Bears will return to action Friday in their home opener against San Jose State. The action begins at 4 p.m. at the Clark Kerr Sand Courts.