Oct. 14, 2011
BERKELEY - In front of 1,875 fans at Haas Pavilion in the FSN Match of the Week, the No. 4 California volleyball team defended its home turf with a 3-1 victory (25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 27-25) over No. 2 Washington on Friday night. Senior outside hitter Tarah Murrey and junior setter Elly Barrett both notched double-doubles to propel the Golden Bears to victory.
Cal improves to 18-2 overall and 8-2 in the Pac-12 while dealing Washington only its second loss of the year to fall to 15-2 and 7-2 in the conference play.
After the Bears hit .312 to take a 25-20 victory in set one, the Huskies evened things in set two. The Bears bounced back in sets three and four to take the key conference victory.
"I really thought our blocking and defense came on tonight," Cal head coach Rich Feller said. "Also, being able to adjust when we couldn't pass very well helped. We still weren't as good as we could have been on some of our defense but we can make some adjustments and be even better."
Tarah Murrey tied a season high with a tremendous 21 kills, equaling the mark she set against Sacramento State (Sept. 10). She added 18 digs for her 10th double-double of the season - marking the seventh straight match she has had double-digit kills and digs.
Elly Barrett had a career-high 55 assists and recorded her seventh double-double of the year with 12 digs. Erin Freeman set a new season high in digs with 13, tying her career high set against USC on Oct. 9, 2010.
Cal set a new season high in kills with 63 thanks to a balanced attack with four Bears amassing more than 10 kills. Christina Higgins tallied 13, Shannon Hawari contributed 12 and Correy Johnson added in 11.
Overall, the Bears out hit the Huskies, .214-.157, but UW out blocked Cal, 13.5-12. After the Huskies hit their match-high .238 in set two, Cal shut them down, allowing Washington to hit just .051 in set three and .180 in set four.
"I thought our blocking and our defense really slowed them down and gave us second and third opportunities," Feller responded when asked about the differences between set two and sets three and four. "I think the other thing was our volleyball I.Q. When we couldn't score a point, we started to reduce our errors and put the ball into an area of the court that made them play a high-ball game. That's not a game that they want to play very often and it worked for us. We kept their middles out of the offense for the most part. We did a pretty good job of taking them out of their system."
Set One - Cal 25, UW 20:
The first set saw nine ties and five lead changes, all in the first twenty points. UW's Evan Sanders opened the match with an ace, but Cal answered back with a Correy Johnson line shot and a Johnson and Shannon Hawari block to take an early 2-1 lead. After the teams traded lead possession, three straight points - highlighted by a pancake save by Elly Barrett and a Tarah Murrey kill that fell just inside the sideline - earned Cal a 13-10 lead. Lauren Loerch twice saved the ball for the Bears to free ball it over before Hawari and Barrett double stuffed the Huskies, putting Cal up 15-13. Washington rallied off two straight points to crawl within three at 20-17. Hawari laced her third and fourth kills of the night to push Cal to a 25-20 set win.
Set Two - UW 25, Cal 22:
The Huskies jumped to an early 6-1 lead before kills by Murrey and Hawari cut the UW advantage to 6-3. Barrett and Hawari twice combined on the block to bring the Bears within one at 8-7. With a crowd-eliciting, outside hitter-esque kill from the right side, Barrett lessened UW's lead to two at 10-8. A Murrey kill and an ace by Johnson handed the Bears their first lead of the set at 14-13. The Huskies tied things at 15, 19 and 20 before three unanswered points gave them the set victory.
Set Three - Cal 25, UW 18:
After dropping the second stanza, the Bears returned with a vengeance, opening the third set on a 5-2 run. Back-to-back kills by Christina Higgins upped Cal's lead to 10-6. The first tie of the set came at 10 all, at which point the Bears went on a 4-1 streak to pull ahead for good. With six unanswered points the Bears commandeered the set at 23-16 before Summer Ross put down her ninth kill of the night to stem the deluge. Barrett and Brown then blocked Ross' next attempt to put the Bears up for set point, which came courtesy a Higgins kill.
Set Four - Cal 27, UW 25:
The set was tied seven times before Christina Higgins ignited a Cal spurt with three kills to knot things at 17, when Correy Johnson put down a kill to push the Bears ahead, 18-17. Consecutive kills by Murrey - the latter of which resulted in a Husky campfire - handed the Bears a 21-19 lead. The Huskies made things interesting by tying the set at 22-22, prompting the Cal fans to grow quite vociferous, and even more so when Murrey laced a kill off a Robin Rostratter bump set. Kills from Hawari and Murrey sandwiched one from Summer Ross to bring things to 25-24 in favor of the Bears. The teams traded service errors before Kat Brown and Correy Johnson combined on a block for match point. The fourth and final set was the closest of the match, featuring 15 ties and six lead changes that saw Washington fight off two match points
Washington State (11-7, 3-5 Pac-12) faces off against the Bears on Oct. 15, also at 7 p.m. There will be a pre-match chalk talk with Rich Feller in the Club Room from 6:20-6:35 p.m.