Oct. 28, 2011
BERKELEY - In one of the week's top match-ups in all of collegiate volleyball, the No. 2 Golden Bears fell to their baby sister ursine in No. 6 UCLA for the second time this season, 3-1, at Haas Pavilion on Friday night. The Bruins posted the 25-17, 20-25, 25-17, 25-16 win over California, sweeping the 2011 series with the Bears.
Suffering its first loss of the year at Haas Pavilion, Cal drops to 21-3 overall and 11-3 in the Pac-12 while UCLA improves to 19-3 and 12-2 in conference play.
"We have no one to blame but ourselves," Cal head coach Rich Feller said. "When the passing was good, the setting and hitting wasn't. Overall, we fell well below expectations. We'll see how we bounce back."
The Bears have a short time to recover from the setback for they face No. 2 USC at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening. No. 5 Stanford tallied an upset sweep of the Trojans on Friday night in Palo Alto. Feller noted that the Bears and coaches will examine the effectiveness of their goal setting prior to Saturday's match.
"It's a lot of little things," Feller said of the fixes needed. "Every single individual on the team sets goals for themselves. They have to examine their goals to see if they accomplished them and if they're making the changes they're being asked to make in practice. If we can answer yes, then we're fine. If the answer is no, then we need to go and see what kind of changes we can make. It's about each player being responsible for themselves and not worrying about someone else."
Cal started set one with a lead, but UCLA pulled ahead after the six-point stalemate, hitting .308 in the first set to the Bears' .065. The second stanza was a set of different color with the score tied 11 times with three lead changes before Cal silenced UCLA, 25-20, hitting .147 to the Bruins' .043.
The Bears were connecting well early on in set three, but a pair of 4-0 runs by the Bruins gave UCLA a 25-17 set three win. Cal posted its highest hitting percentage in set four - attacking .290 - but it still was not enough to fully compete with the Bruins' .441.
Rachael Kidder put forth an impressive outing with 22 kills (9e, 56att, .232). Zoe Nightingale hit .421 (10k, 2e, 19att) to help her Bruins out hit the Bears, .268-.154. Cal out blocked UCLA 9-7. Across the four sets, the score was knotted 25 times and the lead changed hands 13 times.
Christina Higgins tallied a team-high 13 kills (6e, 29att, .241) and 14.0 points. Tarah Murrey posted her 12th double-double of the 2011 campaign with 10 kills and 14 digs. Robin Rostratter claimed the Bear best in digs with 20. Shannon Hawari posted nine kills and three blocks en route to 10.5 points.
Elly Barrett and Lindsey Parrott split setting duty with Parrott entering in set two. Barrett posted 25 assists. Parrott notched career highs across the board with 10 assists, two kills in three attempts for three points.
"There was a nice spark there," Feller said of bringing Parrott in to set. "We benefitted from change with the different look, and the players seemed to rally a little bit. It would have been nice to be able to sustain that in set three, but unfortunately we didn't. But it was good to see that we're capable of doing something a little bit different and still playing some really good volleyball. It leaves me more options for the future."
Set One - UCLA 25, Cal 17:
The Bears opened the match with a 3-1 lead off two UCLA errors and a kill by Tarah Murrey that landed just inside the end line. Things were tied 6-6 before the Bruins pulled ahead 13-8, thanks to a 7-2 run. Kat Brown tooled it off the block and Brown and Correy Johnson put up a block of their own to cut Cal's deficit to three at 13-10. After another short spurt by UCLA, a kill by Brown and a Tarah Murrey solo block brought the Bears to within five at 17-12. A 4-0 run distanced the Bruins, 21-14, but a UCLA service error and two Christina Higgins kills inched the Bears to within five at 22-17. The Bruins capped off the set win with three unanswered points.
Set Two - Cal 25, UCLA 20:
Fans saw the score knotted thrice - at 2, 3 and 6 - before the Bruins built what would be a short-lived lead. Lindsey Parrott set up Tarah Murrey on the left side for a picture-perfect kill, tying things at 13. From there, the two squads traded points and lead possession. A double block by Shannon Hawari and Christina Higgins put Cal in front, 15-14. Kills by Higgins sandwiched one from UCLA's Tabi Love as the Bears pulled ahead 19-18. Lindsey Parrott watched a swing from Rachael Kidder sail by and out of bounds and then Kidder hit it into the net, distancing Cal 23-20. A solo block from Murrey sealed the 25-20 set two victory.
Set Three - UCLA 25, Cal 17:
A dump by Lindsey Parrott knotted things at five. A 4-0 run by the Bears - highlighted by a Brown and Higgins block and a Parrott ace - gave Cal a slight edge at 10-9. The Bruins responded with a 5-1 surge of their own to grab hold of the lead at 14-11. Kills from Murrey, Hawari and a dump by Parrott helped the Bears keep up with the Bruins before UCLA posted five answered points to pull ahead 22-14. Cal got kills from Brown and Lillian Schonewise, but it was not enough to stave off the 25-17 loss.
Set Four - UCLA 25, Cal 16:
For the fourth set in a row, the scoreboard saw an 8-6 UCLA lead. Kills by Kat Brown and Tarah Murrey stymied the Bruins' flow, bringing Cal within three at 14-11. A tip by Murrey cut the Bruins' advantage to 15-12. Higgins posted back-to-back kills, inching Cal to just two behind, 18-16. The Bruins then rattled off seven unanswered points en route to the 25-16 set win and 3-1 match victory.
In a game televised on Fox Sports Net/CSN Bay Area (to be aired on a tape-delay basis), the Bears seek retribution against No. 4 USC (17-3, 12-1 Pac-12) on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. In addition to the top-notch volleyball, fans can also enjoy the following promotions:
Halloween at Haas: All kids 12th grade and below receive $3 admission on the night of the match and are invited to pre-match Halloween activities (costume contest, Halloween candy and crafts) from 6-6:45 p.m.