BERKELEY, Calif. -- For the second consecutive Sunday the Washington State volleyball team came back from a two-set deficit to upset a nationally-ranked team as the Cougars defeated No. 23 California 21-25, 16-25, 25-22, 25-23, and 15-10 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley. WSU moves to a record of 18-13 overall and 5-13 in Pac-12 action while California is now 17-10 overall, 10-8 in Pac-12.
Freshman Kyra Holt, playing before a large contingent of friends and family from the Hercules, Calif. area, led the Cougars with a career-high 28 kills, hitting .304, and tallied 11 digs. Camryn Irwin also had a double-double with 55 assists and 18 digs. Sophomore libero Kate Sommer had a career-high 36 digs, the second-most digs in a match in WSU all-time history. Junior Chelsey Bettinson came in off the bench to play the final three sets and contributed seven kills, hit .467 and had a match-high five blocks. Marcelina Glab had nine kills and four blocks and Hailey Bethune tallied seven kills and four blocks. WSU out-blocked Cal 10 to seven.
The Golden Bears were led by Christina Higgins with 26 kills, Michelle Neumayr with 11 kills and 25 digs, Joan Caloiaro with 55 assists and 16 digs, Lillian Schoenwise with 12 kills, Maddy Kerr with 25 digs, and Jenelle Jordan with four blocks. Cal hit .198 and WSU hit .181 for the match.
“This was a great job of really battling back and doing some great things late in the match,” WSU Head Coach Jen Greeny said. “We talked about blocking at the break. When you play against different teams they run different tempos and it takes a little while to get our timing down. We were focusing on waiting on our block and getting set in the right spot. It was a tremendous job with our defense as well. Kate’s been doing a great job for us all season and for her to have big matches against nationally-ranked teams is great. Kyra definitely turned it on in the last three sets after struggling a little in the first two. She did some amazing things in the end. Chelsey has definitely improved and it was fun to see her play so well today. Krya had about 60 people here and Hailey Bethune had a lot of people along with our Southern California kids who had family in the area. It was a great crowd for us and a really fun win in front of them all.”
As it was against No. 4 USC Nov. 17 in Pullman, WSU produced another spectacular third set. Holt had six kills with no errors, Jaicee Harris added four kills with no errors and two blocks, and Bettinson subbed into the front row to provide two kills and two blocks. In the fourth set, down 22-19, WSU scored five straight points and six of the final seven points for the 25-23 win. Holt had nine kills and one error, Bettinson had four kills and no errors and Bethune and Bettinson each had two blocks.
In the fifth set WSU raced out to an 8-4 lead and extended it to an 11-5 lead. Cal made a short comeback, out-scoring the Cougars five to one with WSU still ahead 12-10. The final three points were from a kill by Holt, a block from Glab and Bethune, and Cal’s Higgins committing an attack error. In the final set Holt had three kills and no errors, Harris added two kills and no errors and Bethune adding two blocks.
This is the first win for WSU over Cal since 2002 and the first win for WSU in Berkeley since 2001 when Greeny was an assistant coach and current WSU volunteer coach Kali Surplus Gesser was a player.
Holt’s 461 kills this season is now ninth-best in WSU’s single season records. Sommer’s 472 digs this season is now fifth-best in school single-season records.
WSU hosts Oregon (17-9 overall, 10-7 Pac-12) on WSU Senior Night, Wednesday, Nov. 27, in a 7 p.m. match at Bohler Gym. The Cougars travel to Seattle to meet No. 3 Washington Friday, Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.