Sept. 17, 2011
BERKELEY - The No. 1 California volleyball team completed its inaugural week of Pac-12 play with a 3-0 sweep of Utah (25-9, 25-20, 26-24) on Saturday night to keep its overall and conference records unsullied at 13-0 and 3-0, respectively.
Utah finished its tour of northern California with two losses to drop to 6-6 on the year and 1-2 in conference play.
Once again, the Golden Bears came out strong in set one, smashing the competition by hitting .536 as compared to Utah's .000. Overall, the Bears out hit the Utes, .290-.104. Though they suffered from runs of attack errors, the Utes tallied 9.0 blocks to Cal's 7.0.
After a self-described lackluster performance on Friday night against Colorado, head coach Rich Feller was more pleased with Cal's Saturday outing.
"Our focus was good," Feller said. "We came together early in this match and just played really good Cal style volleyball. We played fast, lose and made some good plays."
Overall, Kat Brown led her Bears by hitting .700 (7k, 0e, 10att) and putting up five blocks. Tarah Murrey laced 17 kills (8e, 51att, .176) to tally a team-high 18.5 points. Elly Barrett had 39 assists while Robin Rostratter chipped in four.
"We were really able to utilize the players we had on the court," Feller said. "I liked the way we had some match-ups going in sets one and two. It's kind of fun to see the three DSs in the back row. Our passing was really on. Almost 60 percent of our passing was perfect. When we do that, we can be pretty lethal."
Kat Brown set a new season high with 11.5 points, just higher than her previous best of 11 points, to go with five blocks, which tie her season best. Tarah Murrey put up 51 attempts to match her previously established 2011 high. Robin Rostratter also tied a season high with four assists.
Set One - Cal 25, Utah 9:
The Utes reacted well off a let serve by Elly Barrett, but Kat Brown and Correy Johnson denied the eventual attack, upping Cal's lead to 5-1. After the Bears opened things on a 13-4 run, the Utes breached the five-point mark with a kill by Chelsey Schofield. For Cal's 20th point of the set, Tarah Murrey and Brown teamed up with a double stuff, bringing the tally to 20-6. Brown had her hand in Cal's next point with a cut shot from the right side. Utah looked to tally double digit points but McKenzie Odale thwarted that idea when she served it into the net for set point, 25-9.
Set One Highlights:
Tarah Murrey posted a set high of eight kills (0e, 11att, .727)
Set Two - Cal 25, Utah 20:
After Utah opened with a slight lead, teams traded points before Correy Johnson notched a power alley kill to push the Bears ahead, 5-4. The Utes crawled to within one and then tied things, 9-9, with a block by Odale and Erin Redd. A Tarah Murrey kill and two Utah errors gave the Bears some breathing room at 12-9. Shannon Hawari laid down a line shot to put the Bears ahead, 19-15. Kat Brown made a dig and then notched the kill with Elly Barrett assisting to bring Cal within three of set point, 22-18. Christina Higgins led the Bears to victory, 25-20, by scoring the Cal's final two points of the set.
Set Two Highlights:
Set Three - Cal 26, Utah 24:
The Utes capitalized off a chance Tarah Murrey error for the first point of the set, but Cal's sole senior recovered in quintessential Murrey fashion - with three kills to lead the Bears to four unanswered points. Correy Johnson tallied her fifth kill of the night to distance the Bears, 12-8. Murrey came out of an official's timeout on fire, bringing the score to 16-13. Lillian Schonewise tipped the ball over for Cal's 20th point of the set. A double stuff by Redd and Alli Suppier blocked an attack by Murrey to edge the Utes within three at 22-19. Redd tied things, 23-23, prompting the Bears to take a timeout. Utah pulled ahead when Odale and Redd double stuffed a Murrey attempt but the tables were turned with Johnson and Brown teaming up on the next block. Correy Johnson laced a kill for set point, 26-24.
Set Three Highlights:
Next Week on the Court:
The Bears take their second road trip of the season, heading south to La-La Land. On Sept. 23, the Bears take on USC at 7 p.m. in a replay of the semifinal match of the 2010 NCAA Championship. Sept. 24 will see Cal take on its baby sister ursine in UCLA at 7 p.m.