Nov. 25, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 10 California volleyball team repeated history on Friday night - notching a 3-1 upending of No. 6 Stanford. Just as it went down in the first meeting of the year, the Cardinal took the first set before the Golden Bears came storming back with three straight set victories - 24-26, 29-27, 25-23, 25-14.
"We were playing so consistently," Cal head coach Rich Feller said. "We weren't giving up any easy points. We made some adjustments on the block."
The match concluded the regular season for both squads with Cal finishing things out with a 26-6 overall record and a16-6 Pac-12 record. The Cardinal ends its conference season at 21-7 and 15-7 in the Pac-12.
"Our defensive players really played really well," Feller said. "We were keeping balls in play, making good plays out of scramble plays so that wears you down after awhile."
Playing in her final conference match against the Cardinal, Tarah Murrey paced the Bears with 23 kills (4e, 67att, .284). Correy Johnson was next in line with 16 kills. Johnson and Kat Brown both hit .500. Shannon Hawari chipped in 12 kills, swinging .375. Brown and Hawari each amassed five blocks with Johnson adding four.
The Bears out hit the Cardinal, .306-.233, and out blocked Stanford, 11-7. There were 41 ties and 17 lead changes across three sets of play; set four was dominated by Cal.
After trailing for half of the first set, a pair of blocks from Correy Johnson and Kat Brown combined with a Stanford error made for a 24-22 Cal lead. But four unanswered points tied things at 24 and then solidified the 26-24 Stanford win. Set two saw four lead changes and 15 ties - seven of which came after the teams broke the 20-point barrier - before two Tarah Murrey kills broke a 27-27 stalemate to earn the 29-27 set-two victory.
Following a 22-22 standoff in set three, the Bears forged ahead and never looked back to win 25-23 and move ahead 2-1 in the match. Set four was a Bear of a different color for not only did Cal lead for the duration but the Bears player errorless ball in the final stanza.
Set One - Stanford 26, Cal 24:
Kat Brown's second kill of the set and a Stanford service error helped the Bears to a pair of two-point leads, 5-3 and 6-4, respectively. The Cardinal posted a 5-1 run to pull ahead, 9-7, before a Christina Higgins kill and a Tarah Murrey and Shannon Hawari block knotted things back up at 9-9. After Stanford had moved back into the lead, 13-11, a Kat Brown kill and an Elly Barrett ace produced the set's seventh tie at 13 all. A pair of Carly Wopat kills gave the Stanford the biggest lead by either team to that point at three - 17-14 and then 18-15. Rachel Williams bested her teammate by upping Stanford's lead to four with kills, distancing the Cardinal 20-16 and 21-17. Three unanswered Tarah Murrey kills cut the Cardinal's advantage to one, 20-21, prompting John Dunning to call his first timeout. Back-to-back blocks from Correy Johnson and Brown tied the set (22-22) and then returned the lead to the Bears (23-22) for the first time since the scoreboard read 10-9. Four straight scores by Stanford sealed the 26-24 set-one success.
Set Two - Cal 29, Stanford 27:
Shannon Hawari and Tarah Murrey combined for four points, allowing the Bears to lead 5-1 after opening set two on a 4-0 run. With two mighty swings, Christina Higgins tied things at 8-8 and 10-10. Stanford briefly silenced the Bears with three unanswered points to lead 13-10. Kills from Murrey, Kat Brown, Correy Johnson and then Higgins sandwiched Stanford points, bringing the Bears within two at 16-14. A flurry of Cal points - kills from Johnson and Hawari along with a Higgins block - tied the set at 17 - marking the fourth tie and the first time the teams were even since 10-10. A string of three Stanford services errors kept the Bears in the set with the last one bringing Cal to within one at 23-22. In an explosive and prolonged series of rallies, the two squads traded points with four ties coming at 24, 25, 26 and 27. Consecutive Murrey kills pushed the Bears over the edge at 29-27.
Set Three - Cal 25, Stanford 23:
Tarah Murrey accounted for four of Cal's first six points en route to a 6-3 lead. The Cardinal brought things to an 8-8 impasse, but a duo of Shannon Hawari kills returned the lead to the Bears at 10-9. From there, neither team could muster more than a two-point lead. A Christina Higgins kill, a Kat Brown ace and a Stanford error resulted in an 18-17 Cal lead. Hawari laced a kill to knot the set 21-21. An attack error by Karissa Cook preceded an Elly Barrett ace, giving the Bears two points worth of breathing room at 24-22. Carly Wopat tipped the ball but then Johnson tooled it off Rachel Williams' block for set point.
Set Four - Cal 25, Stanford 14:
Once again, it was Tarah Murrey who powered the Bears to a fantastic start - this time with four kills for a 7-1 run to begin the fourth stanza. It went Kat Brown - Murrey - Brown for Cal to pull further ahead at 10-2. A Correy Johnson kill silenced the once-vociferous Stanford crowd, pushing the Bears' lead to 14-5. Johnson notched a kill to stop what had been a 4-1 Stanford spurt to have the scoreboard read 15-7. Carly Wopat held the Cardinal reach double-digit points with a kill at 18-10. From there, Stanford could only tack on four more points
The field of 64 for the 2011 DI women's volleyball tournament will be announced at 3 p.m. PT Nov. 27 on ESPNU. Be sure to follow Cal volleyball on twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/CalVolleyball to be the very first fans to find out the fate of your Golden Bears!
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