Dec. 11, 2010
SEATTLE - The seventh-seeded California volleyball team (29-3) punched its ticket to the 2010 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship semifinal in a 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-14) victory over Washington (24-9) in the Seattle Regional final at Hec Edmundson Pavilion on Sat., Dec. 11. The Golden Bears remained unscathed in 12 sets of postseason play and set a new school record for wins in a single season to march on to their second Final Four appearance in four years.
Cal will meet sixth-seeded USC (29-4) in one national semifinal at 6 p.m. PT, on Thursday, Dec. 16, at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. Three-time defending champion Penn State (30-5) carries the fourth seed into the other semifinal and will face ninth-seeded Texas (27-5) at 4 p.m. The championship match is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, Dec. 18. All matches will be carried live by ESPN2 and will be available on ESPN3.com.
Senior setter Carli Lloyd paced the Bears to a remarkable .364 hitting percentage (46k, 10e, 99att) as she dished out 40 assists to go with eight digs, and a match-high four blocks. Lloyd was named the Seattle Regional's Most Outstanding Player and was joined on the all-tournament team by junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey and sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari.
Murrey led the team with 15 kills (4e, 36att, .306) and registered her 10th double-double of the season with 12 digs. Her offensive output moved her into a tie, at 578, for the third-highest single-season kill total at Cal. All-American outside hitter Mia Jerkov had the same number of kills in 2002. Freshman outside Adrienne Gehan tacked up another solid performance as she earned 11 kills (3e, .320) on 25 swings.
Hawari added eight kills (1e, 13att) to hit .538, and sophomore middle hitter Kat Brown notched six kills (0e, 11att) for a .545 hitting percentage. Each middle had three blocks apiece as Cal out-blocked Washington, 9-4, and out-dug the Huskies, 54-39, to leave UW with a .144 attack rate in the match (38k, 21e, 118att). Sophomore libero Robin Rostratter tied for match-high honors with 16 digs and moved from seventh to fourth for single-season digs at Cal. Her 467 digs are the most since Kristen Kathan had 491 in 2008.
Washington senior right-side Kindra Carlson was impressive in her final match as a Husky as she notched 20 kills (2e, 40att) for a .450 attack rate. Senior outside hitter Becky Perry (8k, 9e, 31att, -.032) and junior middle blocker Bianca Rowland (8k, 2e, 17att, .353) had eight kills each. Freshman libero Jenna Orlandini had 16 digs, and senior setter Jenna Hagglund had 36 assists and seven digs.
After trailing by five, 13-8, Murrey tooled the Washington block to ignite a 5-0 Cal run that tied the first set for the eighth time. Carlson came through with two of her nine first-set kills to push the Huskies back into the lead, but the Bears tied the score for the ninth time at 17-all as Carlson logged two consecutive errors. Gehan went high off Husky hands to give Cal the last lead it would need en route to a 25-21 win. Murrey finished the set off with two of her seven first-set kills; the last on a soft tip to the center of the Husky court. The Bears earned points off 16 kills (4e, 37att) to hit .324 in the first set and held the Huskies to a .150 outing on 40 swings (13k, 7e).
Washington was the first to separate itself in the second set as the Huskies claimed a 7-5 lead, but the Bears ripped off a 3-0 run on kills to snatch the lead back. Washington went in front once more, before Brown's kill on a quick-set put the lead into Cal's hands for good. Sophomore opposite hitter Correy Johnson stepped out to get a kill on a back-set from Lloyd before her ace set the Bears up with an 18-14 lead. Cal took a five-point lead, 21-16, on Murrey's solo block, but it was Gehan and Hawari who teamed up to deny Rowland's seventh kill of the second set to give the Bears set point at 24-18. Washington earned a pair of points before Gehan sealed the 25-20 victory for Cal. The Bears lit up the Husky defense with a .424 hitting percentage (17k, 3e) on 33 attacks in the second set, and posted four blocks and 16 digs to hold Washington to .289 (15k, 4e) on 38 swings.
The Huskies nabbed their last lead of the match, 3-2, as Perry put a shot off the Cal block. Johnson sandwiched a Gehan kill with two kills of her own to propel the Bears to a 5-3 lead. From there, it was no contest. Cal held its third five-point advantage of the set, 14-9, when Lloyd and Hawari met at the net to block Perry's attack, and went up by seven, 17-10, when Murrey put an overplayed pass to the ground for the point. Gehan did the same a few plays later to give the Bears a big 21-12 lead, and went off the Husky block for set point, 24-13, before Brown took a quick-set from Lloyd to end Washington's postseason run. Cal maintained its hot hand to register a .345 hitting percentage (13k, 3e) on 29 attacks and had four blocks and 20 digs to keep the Huskies grounded at .000 (10k, 10e) on 40 attacks.
The Bears defeated the Huskies for the fourth consecutive time to match the longest winning streak in their all-time series against Washington. Cal is now 5-0 in its last five matches in the Emerald City and is undefeated (20-0) in three-set matches this season. The Bears have registered a higher hitting percentage than their opponent in 30 out of 32 matches this year, and are 29-1 in those matches. The last time Cal advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 2007, the Bears fell in three sets to Penn State (30-28, 30-25, 30-16), at Arco Arena in Sacramento, Calif., as the Nittany Lions went on to win the first of three straight NCAA titles.
2010 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship
Carli Lloyd, California - Most Outstanding Player