Aug. 30, 2009
RENO, Nev. - Led by a match-high 16 kills by senior outside hitter Hana Cutura, the No. 6-ranked California volleyball team (2-1) swept Connecticut (25-19, 25-23, 25-21) at the Virginia Street Gym in its final match at the Nevada Marriott Courtyard/Fairfield Invitational. Cutura added seven digs and two blocks to her final stat line which included a .414 attack percentage (4e, 29att). Sophomore outside hitter Tarah Murrey had 13 kills (5e, 28att) and attacked at a .286 rate.
Senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley added eight kills (0e, 12att, .667) and tied a career high with eight total blocks. Junior setter Carli Lloyd led the team with 38 assists and added four digs and six blocks. The Bears registered a season-high .348 attack percentage in the match with 46 kills (14e, 92att) and held the Huskies (0-4) to .119 with 32 kills (22e, 84att). UConn was led offensively by junior middle hitter Rebecca Murrey, who had 10 kills (10e, 27att, .000).
The third set was the most tightly contested of the three as it saw 11 ties and seven lead changes. The Huskies pulled away first by creating a three-point lead at 11-8. Lloyd and Wiley came together for a block before the two connected again on a quick set in the middle to bring the Bears within a point at 11-10. Murrey blasted a kill out of the back row to tie the score for the eighth time at 11-all before Cal took its first lead when Cutura put a kill shot through the UConn block. The Huskies fought back to claim the lead once more and moved in front by four points on a kill to lead 19-15. The Bears replied with three kills over the next five plays to get to within a point before two straight Husky errors gave Cal the 20-19 lead. Lloyd and Wiley teamed up once more to get a block for a 23-20 lead before the two hooked up one last time in the middle for a 24-21 set-point lead. Cutura claimed her 16th kill of the night to put things away for the Bears, 25-21. Cal posted a .290 attack rate in the third set with 16 kills (7e, 31att) and held the Huskies to .048 with eight kills (7e, 21att).
Cal never trailed in the opening set as it raced out to a quick five-point advantage as Lloyd and Wiley blocked a Husky attack together. The Bears attacked at a scorching .517 rate with 17 kills (2e, 29att) and posted four total blocks in the first set. Cutura turned a high ball from Lloyd into a seven-point lead at 13-6 but UConn responded with a short run of three kills to draw within three at 15-12. The Bears stretched the lead to seven once more at 19-12 when Murrey blasted a shot down the line from sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari after Lloyd dug up the Husky attack. UConn pulled to within three one last time at 21-18 with a kill but two straight kills down the line from Murrey and Cutura followed by a solo block by Cutura gave the Bears set point at 24-19. Cutura went down the line once more to close the first set, 25-19. The Huskies posted 13 kills (6e, 31att) and attacked at a .226 rate in the first set.
The Bears thought they had things in control in the second set when two consecutive blocks by Lloyd and Wiley stretched their lead to six points at 12-6. But the Huskies turned the corner to nab four kills and capitalize off Cal errors to lock things up at 16-all. The teams traded leads through 11 points before the Bears took the last lead on a kill by Cutura. With set point in hand, the Bear block forced the Huskies to hit high, sending the final attack out of bounds for a 25-23 Cal win. The Bears registered a .250 attack rate in the second set with 13 kills (5e, 32att) as they held the Huskies to a .062 rate on 32 attacks (11k, 9e).
Cal stays on the road next week as it heads to the islands for the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic in Honolulu. The Bears face No. 2 Texas on Thursday (Sept. 3) at the Stan Sheriff Center. Please check CalBears.com for information, updates and scores.
2009 Nevada Marriott Courtyard/Fairfield Invitational All-Tournament Team