Oct. 4, 2008
PULLMAN, Wash. -- The Washington State volleyball team made a late surge but could not overcome No. 8 California as the Golden Bears took a 25-14, 25-21, 26-24 win at Marcia Saneholtz Court in Bohler Gym Saturday night.
WSU falls to an overall record of 7-8 and is 0-4 in the Pacific-10 conference action. California moved to 14-1 overall, 4-0 in league play.
The Cougars were led by the six kills and match-high four blocks from Brittany Tillman. Jackie Albright, Emily Rooney and Brittany Johnson each added another five kills. Albright had eight digs while Rooney added a pair of aces. Renee Bordelon, setting the final two sets, had 11 assists.
Cal's Hana Curtura led all players with 15 kills (.375) and Am'ra Solomon added 10 kills. Kristen Kathan contributed 12 digs and Carli Lloyd had 43 assist. Shannon Hawari and Mindi Wiley both had three blocks.
Wiley tagged four kills in the first set to lead California to a 25-14 win. The Golden Bears hit .367 and held the Cougs to .030 hitting percentage. WSU's Tillman had a pair of blocks as the Cougars worked to put up a strong presence at the net.
In the second set, WSU rallied back from an 11-7 deficit behind kills from Johnson, Rooney and Ganzer and a huge solo block from Ganzer on Cutura to tie the set at 11-all. A kill from Morgan Beck put Cal ahead but the Cougs tallied four straight points to go up 15-12. The teams traded points and Cal rallied with four consecutive kills to go ahead 17-16. After trading points again, the visitors laced another four points together for the 22-18 lead. Cal's Meagan Schmitt served into the net followed by Albright landing a back row fade shot to put WSU within two at 22-20. Cutura's offensive run was only interrupted by a kill from Ganzer. Final set score was Cal 25, WSU 21.
The third set was exciting and yet disappointing for the Cougars. Cal took an early 9-3 lead before the WSU stepped back into the contest. WSU slowly eroded the Cal lead and capitalized on the Golden Bears' errors, grabbing pairs of points to tie the set at 22 each on an Albright and Tillman block of Cutura. Cutura retaliated with kill and Tillman knotted the set again with her own kill. Tarah Murrey's attack went long putting WSU serving for set, 24-23. After a Cal timeout, Solomon landed a kill for the sixth tie of the set. A pair of Cougar attack errors handed Cal the set at 26-24, and the match sweep.
"I think we utilized our system more and stayed in position on defense and stayed disciplined," WSU freshman Meagan Ganzer said.
"I think our passing was more consistent tonight throughout sets two and three and that allowed us to use the middle and right side more which opened up a lot of our offense," WSU junior Jackie Albright said. "The more and more disciplined we get and the more and more we stick to (Palileo's) system, the better we're going to be."
First year Cougar Head Coach Andrew Palileo said, "I thought we competed better when we got behind. In the second set we fell behind and then went ahead a few points. We started out really sluggish in the third set and then we were able to chip away. We made some adjustments and the players were able to make those adjustments on the fly. That is one of the things that we have struggled with early on, making adjustments quicker and not giving up two or three points."
Washington State travels next weekend to Los Angeles to take on No. 4 USC Friday, Oct. 10, and No. 5 UCLA Saturday, Oct. 11.