No. 12 California Tops No. 10 Stanford in Five-Set Thriller
Sept. 26, 2009
BERKELEY - The No. 12-ranked California volleyball team (8-3, 1-0 Pac-10) secured a five-set victory over No. 10 Stanford (7-4, 0-1 Pac-10) in its first Pac-10 Conference match of the season, 19-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 15-12, before a record-setting 4,189 fans tonight (Sept. 25) at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears won their sixth consecutive match led by senior outside hitter Hana Cutura's 21 kills (9e, 45att, .267) and freshman opposite hitter Correy Johnson's .562 attack percentage (10k, 1e, 16att). Johnson added three blocks while Cutura added eight digs and four blocks with a service ace that moved her ahead of Holly McPeak into 10th all-time at Cal with 99 career aces.
Junior setter Carli Lloyd logged her third double-double of the season as she dished out a season-high 53 assists to go with a season-high 14 digs. Lloyd also put up 6.5 points with her five kills (0e, 9att, .556) and three block assists. Sophomore outside hitter Tarah Murrey also registered her third double-double of the year with 14 kills (9e, 44att, .114) and 11 digs to go with four blocks and two service aces. Senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley had nine kills (5e, 21att, .190) and added a match-high seven blocks. Senior libero Kristen Kathan led all players with 15 digs as she moved into eighth all-time at Cal with 1,163 career digs.
The Bears out-blocked Stanford, 13.0-9.0, and put up a .250 attack percentage in the match (62k, 26e, 144att) while holding the Cardinal to a .204 attack rate on 152 attempts (58k, 27e). Stanford junior outside hitter Alix Klineman led the Cardinal with 23 kills (5e, 49att, .367) with junior outside hitter Cassidy Lichtman (14k, 6e, 35att, .229) and senior middle blocker Janet Okogbaa (14k, 4e, 27att, .370) adding 14 kills apiece. Lichtman also had 11 digs and was out-dug only by Stanford junior libero Gabi Ailes, who led the Cardinal with 13.
The Bears never trailed in the final set and went up by as many as four points on three occasions. The Cardinal stood fast and drew to within a point at 13-12, but Cutura's 21st kill of the night gave the Bears match point at 14-12. Cutura went back to serve for the match and after a furious rally, an attack by Okogbaa went long to give the Bears a 15-12 win in the fifth set. Cutura had four of Cal's 10 fifth-set kills while Murrey put in three without an error on seven attacks. Both teams had 10 kills with the Bears posting a .333 percentage on 24 attacks (2e) and the Cardinal posting a .318 percentage on 22 attacks (3e).
The Bears posted 11 kills in the opening set (7e, 34att) but were held to a .118 attack percentage while the Cardinal took a 1-0 lead with a .250 attack rate and 13 kills (5e, 32att). Cal took the first leads of the match and went up by two at 6-4 when Murrey knocked down a kill but the Cardinal caught the Bears for the third time at seven all on a kill by Klineman. Stanford seized the lead on the next play and went up by five points at 21-16. The Bears got three kills from Cutura to pull within five points at 24-19, but a Lichtman and Okogbaa block turned the Bears away.
Stanford opened up a 5-2 lead in the second set as Okogbaa and Lichtman blocked an attack by Cutura but the Bears caught up to knot the score at eight all as Cutura and Wiley teamed up for a block of their own. Lloyd got one of her kills on a dump to the back left-hand corner to put Cal up, 9-8, and the Bears were off and rolling. Cutura notched a service ace to give Cal a five-point advantage at 18-13 but the Cardinal was not deterred as it fought back to a one-point deficit at 19-18. The Bears responded to come up with a 21-18 lead on another Lloyd dump and Cutura's ninth kill of the night gave Cal set point at 24-20. A wide attack by Lichtman sealed a 25-20 win for the Bears and knotted the match at one set each. Cal logged a .219 attack rate in the second (13k, 6e, 32att) and suppressed the Cardinal offense to a .086 rate (10k, 7e, 35att).
The Bears were caught off guard coming out of the break and fell behind by five points, 10-5. The Cardinal extended its lead to seven points at 17-10 only to see the Bears come right back to get within three at 20-17. Cutura, Johnson and Lloyd each claimed kills but a point by Lichtman gave Stanford set point before a kill by Okogbaa completed the third set, 25-20, in the Cardinal's favor. Stanford put up 14 kills (5e, 29att, .310) and never trailed a Cal squad that attacked at a .241 rate with 14 kills (7e, 29att).
The teams traded blows in the early going of the fourth, with the fifth tie of the set coming at eight all on a Lichtman kill. Murrey and Cutura dropped consecutive kills on the Cardinal to force a Stanford timeout before Murrey's service ace put the Bears out in front by three at 11-8. Cal continued to press and went up by six points as Murrey and freshman middle hitter Tia Gaffen teamed up for a block to make the score 17-11. The Cardinal made things interesting as Lichtman served up two straight aces amidst a four-point Stanford run but the Bears had yet another answer. Lloyd's dump set the Bears off on a four-point run of their own as Cutura blasted three straight kills to give Cal a 24-18 lead. One more Okogbaa kill wasn't enough as Wiley connected on a slide play from Lloyd to send the match to a fifth set. The Bears logged a match-high .400 attack rate in the fourth as they got 14 kills (4e, 25att) and the Cardinal managed just 11 kills (7e, 34att) for a .118 attack percentage.