Oct. 31, 2008
BERKELEY, Calif. -- The Washington State volleyball team won the first set of the match and sent the third set into overtime but No. 4 California prevailed with a 20-25, 25-17, 30-28, 25-19 win at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley Friday night.
With the loss, WSU dropped to an overall record of 7-14 and is winless in ten Pacific-10 Conference contests. California moved to 19-2 overall, 9-1 in league play, and is tied with No. 5 Stanford for first place in the league.
The Cougars were led by senior Brittany Johnson's 15 kills and career-high nine blocks, including three solos, and eight digs. Sophomore Brittany Tillman added a season-high 13 kills (.364) and had five blocks. Freshman Meagan Ganzer added a career-high nine kills while Jackie Albright had seven kills and 10 digs. Freshman Breann Nesselhuf had a career-high 43 assists and nine digs. Kelly Hyder led the team with 13 digs and contributed an ace. Freshman Bree Flach a career-high five service aces.
Cal's Am'ra Solomon led all players with 16 kills and Hana Curtura added 15 kills. Tarah Murrey had another 13 kills hitting .455 while Mindi Wiley added 11 kills and led the Bears with four blocks. Kristen Kathan had a match-high 21 digs and Carli Lloyd had 55 assists.
The Cougars dominated the first set, hitting .500 with 16 kills and only 2 errors in 28 attacks. WSU had one four-point run and two three-point runs to go ahead 17-11. Cal battled back but the WSU players maintained their composure and held off the home team to take the 25-20 win. Johnson led the Cougs with five kills and Ganzer added four kills on four attacks. Cal hit .379 in this set. This was the second set win of the Pac-10 season for WSU and the sixth set loss for the Bears in conference contests.
The Bears opened the second set with a vengeance as they roared to a 19-7 lead. WSU fought back and scored six unanswered points to cut Cal's lead to six. The teams traded points until Murrey and Lloyd landed the final two kills to give California the 25-17 win. The Bears hit .483 while WSU hit .206.
California took an 18-10 lead in spite of four early service errors in third set. The Cougars answered with seven unanswered points forcing a Cal timeout. After a kill by Solomon, WSU tallied four more points to take a 21-19 lead. With both teams out of timeouts, it was serve and attack time. Solomon landed a pair of kills to tie the set and then the teams traded points six more times. An attack error by Tillman put the Bears up 27-26 but a kill by Albright tied the set. An attack error by Johnson was followed by a Tillman kill to knot the score at 28-all. Solomon slammed home a kill and the Cougars could not answer on the next serve. In this set, Cal hits .205, holds WSU to .028, and the Golden Bears take this set 30-28.
Down 16-11 in the fourth set, WSU battled back with a run of three and another run of four to out-score Cal seven to two to tie the set at 18-all. Cal laced together five consecutive points with Johnson's kill the only stop on the way to the home team's 25-19 win.
"It was important to win the first set and get the crowd out of it and we did that, but then we came out a little slow and didn't carry that momentum into the second set," WSU Head Coach Andrew Palileo said. "The third set was a fun set, they had some swings and we had some great swings. B (Brittany Johnson) had a great match and put down some nice balls. Nessy (Breann Nesselhuf) did a nice job. We put ourselves in a position to win that set and that is all I can ask of them. Now we have to quit running away from that winning mentality and go out and grab that win."
"We did a great job of staying level-headed, even on the highs, when we made great plays I wanted us to celebrate but get your emotion and adrenaline on an even keel so you are ready for the next play," Palileo said. "On the road it's really important to stay level-headed and I thought we did a good job of that. Focus on the next play and when they have a good swing, go back and put a swing back at them and we did that a little better tonight."
Washington State will have a day off before taking on No. 5 Stanford (18-3, 9-1) a 3-0 winner over No. 6 Washington Friday night. The Cougar-Cardinal match will be Sunday, Nov. 2, at 1 p.m. in Maples Pavilion.