Nov. 19, 2011
BERKELEY - The No. 3 California volleyball team's woes with its northern neighbors continued Saturday night, when Oregon upset the Golden Bears 3-2 to spoil Tarah Murrey's senior night. Cal had amassed two set wins before the Ducks responded to win the next three and earn their second straight dismantling of a top-five team - 23-25, 19-25, 25-18, 26-24, 15-9.
The Bears fall to 25-6 overall and 15-6 in the Pac-12. After upsetting No. 5 Stanford in five sets on Friday, the Ducks improve to 20-8 and 13-7 in the Pac-12. Cal is now 22-4 in the most recent meetings with the Ducks and 50-16 in the all-time series. With Saturday's match closing their regular-season home schedule, the Bears are now 14-4 while playing in the friendly confines of Haas Pavilion.
After losing in five sets to Oregon State on Friday night, the Bears came out firing on all cylinders in the first two stanzas.
"We started out the way we've been working on," Cal head coach Rich Feller said. "We're a traditionally a slow-starting team. So it was nice to get going early and making some positive plays. In set two, I felt we really finished things when we needed to.
Coming out of the break, Oregon handily won set three and then gutted out the 26-24 victory in set four. Cal came as close as 13-9 in set five, but Oregon had built too much of an early lead.
"A few missed plays and serves and all of a student, we're back to not trusting, which was disappointing," Feller said. "Just like last night, we were making good attacks and Oregon was making good plays. Our second and third attacks weren't good enough. Oregon runs the ball so fast, and we were a step behind too often."
Tarah Murrey - with an entourage of supportive family and friends in attendance for the pre-match honoring of the team's sole senior - led all players with 22 kills. Correy Johnson hit a team-best .308 with 13 kills and amassed an incredible 10 blocks. Lillian Schonewise and Kat Brown also chipped in seven blocks apiece. Overall, Cal out blocked Oregon, 17-0, but the Ducks hit .245 to the Bears' .231.
Cal led for the entirety of set one, though Oregon came as close as 24-23 before a Johnson kill closed the set. In set one, the Bears hit .440 to Oregon's .333 with Murrey and Johnson each amassing four kills. The Ducks threatened early in set two, leading by as many as four, but an 11-3 run by the Bears was no match for Oregon. With a 5-0 spurt at the end, Cal earned itself a 25-19 set-two victory to move ahead 2-0 in the match.
Poor hitting doomed the Bears in set three, in which they scrapped together a .097 attack percentage to Oregon's .270. Cal was one point away from match point in set four, but the Ducks came away with the 26-24 win to force set five. Oregon started the final set with a 7-3 lead and the Bears could not recover.
Set One - Cal 25, Oregon 23:
Sound Bear blocking powered Cal to a 5-2 lead to start things off. The two squads combined for five straight service errors, bringing the Bears' lead to 9-5. Christina Higgins laced a kill and Adrienne Gehan followed it up with an ace to up Cal's advantage to 14-9. A pair of Correy Johnson kills followed two from Tarah Murrey, boosting the Bears' breathing room to six points at 19-13. Lillian Schonewise nailed a kill off an Elly Barrett back set for Cal to move ahead 23-19. Oregon crawled to within one at 23-22 and 24-23, but Johnson shut the door with a kill.
Set Two - Cal 25, Oregon 19:
With a big swing, Christina Higgins stopped a 5-0 Oregon run in its tracks, cutting the Ducks' lead to 8-5. Five straight points by the Bears returned the lead to them at 10-9, the first time they had been ahead since a Lillian Shonewise gave Cal a 4-3 lead. With those five consecutive scores more than efficiently jump starting the Cal offense, the Bears went on an 11-3 run to lead 16-12. Four unanswered points by the Ducks cut Cal's lead to just one at 17-16. Though the Bears moved ahead slightly, a line shot by Jaklyn Wheeler brought her Ducks to within one at 20-19. From there, Cal closed the set on a 5-0 tear - with Johnson playing an integral role in that run with two kills and one block - to win the set 25-19.
Set Three - Oregon 25, Cal 18:
Cal established an early 7-4 lead and never looked back. Johnson registered a kill and then posted a solo block to distance the Bears, 12-8. A pair of kills courtesy of Schonewise pushed Cal ahead 13-10 and then 14-11. Knotting the set for the first time since it was deuces across the board, three straight Duck points brought things to 15 all. Back-to-back service aces from Lauren Plum gave the Ducks some much needed room at 20-17. An 8-1 run propelled the Ducks to the 25-18 set victory.
Set Four - Oregon 26, Cal 24:
A kill by Shannon Hawari chased by a tip and solo block by Correy Johnson curtailed the 7-1 Oregon deluge that began the fourth stanza. Johnson and Murrey posted successive kills, thwarted a 4-0 Oregon run and bringing Cal's deficit to two at 13-11. Following the longest rally of the match, Murrey tooled it off the Duck block to ignite the devoted Cal contingent and cut Oregon's lead to 16-14. With stunning, powerful kills, Christina Higgins brought Cal within two at 18-16 and 19-17. Robin Rostratter served up an ace for the Bears to lead 23-23, only to tie the set at 23 on the very next serve with an error. Cal was up for set point at 24-23, but three straight scores by the Ducks forced set five.
Set Five - Oregon 15, Cal 9:
Kat Brown and Correy Johnson combined on the block to catch up with the Ducks at 3-2. Kills from Johnson and Higgins cut Oregon's lead to 5-3 and then 8-4, respectively. Trailing 13-5, the Bears rallied with four unanswered points - two of which came when Brown and Johnson were on block duty - giving the Cal squad hope. The Ducks bounced back with two unanswered scores to take the set and the match.
The Bears conclude the 2011 regular season with the 74th Big Spike. On Friday, Nov. 25, Cal heads to the Farm to take on No. 5 Stanford at 7 p.m. at Maples Pavilion.