SALT LAKE CITY — For the first time in the 2011 season, No. 7 California went five sets with an opponent before earning a 3-2 victory against Utah on Thursday evening at the Utes’ Crimson Court. The Golden Bears won the second, fourth and fifth sets en route to the 22-25, 25-19, 23-25, 25-18, 15-13 victory.
With the victory, Cal improves to 22-4 overall and 12-4 in the Pac-12 while Utah drops to 9-16 and 4-12 in conference play. The victory stopped a two-match losing streak for the Bears.
The last time the Bears had played to five sets dates back to the 2010 campaign — a 3-2 loss to Arizona State on Nov. 24, 2010 at Berkeley.
Tarah Murrey had a match-high 25 kills (16e, 68att) and 27.0 points. Those 25 kills bested Murrey’s previous high of 21, and she tied her 2011 best of 68 attempts. Murrey’s 27 points demolished her last high of 24.5, which had stood for almost two months.
Also surpassing a mark that had lasted more than two months, Correy Johnson’s 13 kills Thursday are a personal season high. Johnson’s 15.5 points also tied her season high. Elly Barrett’s 58 assists and 11 attempts both set career highs. Robin Rostratter tied her season high with four assists.
Though the Bears were ahead in the middle of set one, Utah led early and toward the end en route to a 25-22 set-one victory, due in no small part to the Utes’ 10-3 set-ending run. In set one, Utah out hit Cal, .533-.406. The Bears returned to form in set two, defeating Utah 25-19, though neither team could eclipse a .150 attack percentage. In set two, the Utah blockers stymied the Cal hitters with the Utes combining for 5.5 blocks.
After the Bears led for the entirety of set two, there were 10 ties and four lead changes in set three, which ultimately ended in a 25-23 Utah victory. Down 2-1 in the match, Tarah Murrey led her Bears with seven kills to a 25-18 win in set four. The Utes thrice staved off set point in the fifth set, but a kill by Correy Johnson ended things 15-13.
No. 3 Stanford 3, Colorado 1
BOULDER, Colo. – The No. 3 Stanford women’s volleyball team defeated Colorado, 25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 25-15, Thursday, at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colo. Stanford improved to 18-4 overall and 12-4 in the Pac-12, while Colorado is now 5-19 overall and 0-16 in the conference.
Sophomore middle blocker Carly Wopat led the Cardinal with 14 kills, six digs and five blocks. Sophomore Rachel Williams, who leads the Pac-12 in double-doubles, finished with 13 kills, 10 digs and career high seven blocks. Junior Hayley Spelman and redshirt freshman Lydia Bai each recorded nine kills for the Cardinal, while junior middle blocker Jessica Walker had eight kills and three blocks.
Junior setter Karissa Cook controlled the offense with 48 assists. The Santa Cruz, Calif., native also registered five kills, eight digs and a block assist. Junior libero Hannah Benjamin led the defense with 13 digs. Stanford out blocked Colorado 14.5 to 4.5 and outhit the Buffaloes .259 to .120.