BERKELEY – Cal’s sand volleyball team notched the first win in school history Friday afternoon with a 5-0 victory over San Jose State at the Clark Kerr Sand Courts
The Bears (1-1) swept all five matches in their initial match at their home facility. Cal’s No. 1 team of seniors Adrienne Gehan and Joan Caloiaro defeated San Jose State’s Kiely Pieper and Tyanna Roy, 21-13, 21-15. The Bears’ No. 2 team of sophomores Lara Vukasovic and Sarah Cole, who won Cal’s lone match during last week’s season-opening 4-1 loss at Pacific, rolled past the Spartans’ Lauren Jacobsen and Megan Powers, 21-14, 21-4.
“It’s wonderful to get it at home, to get our inaugural sand season on the books,” Cal coach Rich Feller said. “We had a great fan turnout and really opened the door to all sorts of possibilities with a brand new sport here at Cal.”
The afternoon began with Cal victories at the No. 4 and 5 matches. Cal’s No. 5 team of freshmen Caroline Olson and Emily Lunt defeated San Jose State’s Lyndsay Albiani and Felicia Segura, 21-16, 22-20. Sophomores Maddy Kerr and Nikki Gombar rolled past the Spartans’ Sabrina Webb and Brittney Diffine, 21-10, 21-11 at No. 4.
With the Bears leading at that point 2-0, sophomore Katarina Milosavljevic and freshman Sabrina Blackwell were in position to clinch the victory for the Bears, and they did just that with a 21-10, 21-6 victory over Cori O’Donoghue and Lyndsay Skadeland.
“It was great seeing the atmosphere of the fans and coaches and players,” Feller said. “Winning obviously is a nice bonus, but to be able to see the enjoyment the fans are getting out of the players themselves – it’s such a different game as far as the attitude of the players.”
The Bears had only two full practices before opening the season at UOP last weekend because they had yet to complete their spring indoor season. They finally had a full week of practice leading up to Friday, and the work they put in showed against the Spartans. Much of that is due to the work of volunteer assistant Nicole Walthall, an accomplished sand volleyball player and teacher who is heavily involved with the Bears’ training techniques.
“There’s great improvement. You can really, really see it,” Feller said. “I have to give a lot of credit to Nicole. She is really doing great things with the team – making them work hard with the nuances of the sand game.”
The Bears are back in action next Friday, March 21, when they host USF at 3:30 p.m. at the Clark Kerr Sand Courts.