BERKELEY - With one more weekend of matches left before the start of Pac-12 Conference play, Cal's women's volleyball team is back on track.
The Bears captured the championship of the Cal Molten Classic on Saturday night, defeating Northern Arizona in the title match, 25-22, 25-21, 23-25, 25-17 at Haas Pavilion.
Earlier in the day, Cal defeated UC Riverside, 25-19, 25-15, 25-19.
After beginning the season 1-3, the Bears (5-3) have now won four in a row.
Senior middle hitter Shannon Hawari was named the most valuable player of the tournament and setter Joan Caloiaro made the All-Tournament team. Hawari registered 13 kills and 11 blocks against the Lumberjacks, who suffered their first loss of the season (8-1). Northern Arizona also saw a 17-match win streak in nonconference tilts come to an end.
"Shannon was very aggressive," Cal coach Rich Feller said. "She can always be counted on. I'm very happy for her."
Junior outside hitter Adrienne Gehan led the Bears with 21 kills and 12 digs against the Lumberjacks while freshman opposite Lara Vukasovic added 10 kills and five blocks. Cal had 16 blocks as a team.
The first set was close throughout but the Bears went on a 6-2 run to lead 21-17. Northern Arizona got as close as 23-21 before Cal closed it out.
The Bears came out scorching to begin the second set, leading 6-1 and forcing a Lumberjacks timeout. But after leading 9-2, Northern Arizona began whittling away at the lead and cut it to 14-13. Cal never relinquished the lead and held on.
The third set was close throughout. But after the score was tied at 21-21, the Lumberjacks scored three straight points. Back-to-back kills by Gehan made it 24-23, but Northern Arizona went on to force the fourth set.
Cal took a quick 5-2 advantage in the fourth set and gradually extended it to 20-12. The Lumberjacks got as close as 21-15 before the Bears polished things off.
Vukasovic played her third straight match in place of injured starter Correy Johnson, who is nursing a stress reaction in her leg but is expected back next week.
"We are getting a lot of experience, which will really help our team in the Pac-12," Hawari said. "We're going to need to give people rest and get other people in, so I think it was very helpful to give the younger players that experience."
The Bears return to the court Friday with a match against Bay Area rival Saint Mary's at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.