Sept. 7, 2012
BERKELEY - Cal's women's volleyball team opened the home portion of its 2012 schedule with a 25-23, 25-12, 25-19 victory over Penn on Friday on the first night of the Cal Molten Classic.
Shannon Hawari led the Bears with 11 kills at a .375 hitting percentage. Adrienne Gehan added nine kills and nine digs and Lara Vukasovic had eight kills at a .400 percentage. Vukasovic started at opposite for senior Correy Johnson, who is resting an injured leg.
While Cal (3-3) won in a sweep, it was a challenge early on. The Bears saw the Quakers (2-2) erase a three-point deficit late in the first set to tie it up at 20-20. It was still tied at 23-23 when Penn committed a hitting error to give Cal a one-point advantage. Hawari and Vukasovic then teamed up for a block to close out the first set.
"They disrupted our flow and we couldn't get into a rhythm," Cal coach Rich Feller said. "It was a back-and-forth game all the way to the end. I feel good that we pulled it out and we didn't panic."
Cal dominated the second set from the outset, but Penn kept it close for most of the third. The Bears' lead was only 18-16 when they scored three in a row on a block by middle hitter Kat Brown and setter Joan Caloiaro, an attack error by the Quakers and an ace by Caloiaro to make it 21-16.
Christina Higgins added six kills for the Bears, who held Penn to a .086 hitting percentage.
"I loved the way we came out in Game 2 and just took control," Feller said. "We got some great performances."
One night after Hawari led the Bears offensively in an exhibition loss to Jiangsu, a Chinese club team, she fueled Cal's attack again Friday. Hawari appears to be in a comfortable sync with Caloiaro.
"There is a certain rhythm a setter can feel with a hitter," Feller said. "There are some nice things going on there."
Cal has two more matches Saturday in the Molten Classic. The Bears take on UC Riverside at 11 a.m. and then meet Northern Arizona at 7 p.m. Northern Arizona beat UC Riverside in three sets earlier Friday.