Oct. 8, 2010

LOS ANGELES - California volleyball sophomore middle hitter Kat Brown served rejection notice to UCLA as she put up a career-high 10 blocks to help the Golden Bears (15-0, 5-0 Pac-10) to a four-set win (25-18, 18-25, 25-15, 25-22) over No. 12 UCLA (11-4, 1-3 Pac-10) at Pauley Pavilion on Friday, Oct. 8. Junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey powered the Cal offense once again as she logged 20 kills (6e, 41att, .341).

The Bears remain one of two undefeated teams in the country and are one win away from tying the best start and longest winning streak in school history. Cal tacked up a new season high with 17.0 team blocks to hold UCLA to a .142 hitting percentage (49k, 31e, 127att). Sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari had seven blocks while senior setter Carli Lloyd and sophomore opposite Correy Johnson added five blocks apiece.

Brown did her part on offense as well as she contributed seven kills (1e, 10att, .600) while Johnson came up with eight kills (4e, 13att, .308). Lloyd moved into ninth place in the Pac-10 for all-time career assists with her 36-assist performance and now has 4,862. The Bears had one down set, but maintained their efficiency in the other three to post a .280 hitting percentage (47k, 19e, 100att) in the match. Sophomore libero Robin Rostratter helped keep the Cal machine churning as she posted 14 digs.

UCLA sophomore opposite hitter Rachael Kidder had a career high with 17 kills (10e, 41att, .171) while senior outside hitter Dicey McGraw contributed 10 kills (7e, 31att, .097). Bruin junior middle blocker Katie Camp had eight kills for UCLA (3e, 15att, .333) while fellow junior middle Sara Sage burned the Bears with four service aces.

The Bears grabbed the first lead of the match as Murrey and Hawari converted consecutive kills, but the Bruins fought back to claim a two-point lead, 11-9, as McGraw got the kill. Murrey and Hawari earned Cal's 11th point to pull the teams into their sixth tie of the set as they teamed up for a block. Hawari and Lloyd ganged up on UCLA sophomore outside hitter Bojana Todorovic on the next play to give Cal the lead for good. The Bears earned set point as Lloyd went up solo to reject a Todorovic attack; Cal's seventh block of the set. The next point belonged to the Bears as the Bruin attack went long for a 25-18 score. Cal stayed on top of UCLA with a .400 attack rate (11k, 3e, 20att) and used its block to hold the Bruins to a .138 hitting percentage on 29 swings (13k, 9e).

Cal stayed on program to open the second set with a block, but the Bruins made necessary adjustments to post a .296 hitting percentage (13k, 5e, 27att) for a 25-18 win of their own. UCLA's defense only dug up seven balls in the second set, but relied on Cal miscues to hold the Bears to a .077 attack rate (10k, 8e, 26att). Kidder's kill down the line gave UCLA the only lead it would need at 5-4. Sage earned a service ace on the next play to pull the Bruins out to a two point lead. Déjà vu made an appearance later in the set when Kidder wasn't joking to log her ninth kill of the match and give the Bruins set point at 24-18. Sage logged the service ace, again, on the next play to even the match at one set all.

A Murrey kill out of the back row gave the Bears a quick three-point lead at 7-4 in the third set, but a Bruin block pulled UCLA to within two points at 8-6. From there, Cal took command from and scorched the Bruins with a 7-1 run to lead, 15-7. The Bear block returned to form and registered its third of the set to claim a 22-11 Cal lead. Lloyd's dump of a dig from senior defensive specialist Meagan Schmitt put the Bears up, 24-14, before a Todorovic service error ended any hopes of a Bruin comeback. Cal attacked at a .308 rate in the third set with 12 kills (4e) on 26 attempts and held UCLA to a .000 hitting percentage as the Bruins logged as many kills as errors (nine) on 34 swings.

After a Cal block gave the Bears a 3-2 lead in the fourth set, the Bruins took control and led for most of the way. UCLA pulled out to a six-point advantage, 14-8, as Cal committed an attacking error, but Johnson connected with Lloyd on a slide play to break the Bears out of their funk. Down, 15-10, Cal came alive to rip off a 14-3 run and surprise the Bruins with match point at 24-18. UCLA wouldn't go quietly, though, as the Bruins took the next four points. Murrey put an end to things as she cut a shot across the net to give the Bears the 25-22 win. The Bears logged 14 kills on 28 attacks (4e, .357) in the final set and were able to out-pace a Bruin attack that had 14 kills on 37 attacks (8e, .162).

The Bears are back in action against No. 8 USC (13-2, 2-2 Pac-10) in a 7 p.m. PT match at Galen Center on Saturday, Oct. 9. The Women of Troy fell in four sets to No. 1 Stanford earlier tonight. Live stats and video are available via links at www.usctrojans.com.