Dec. 3, 2010

Courtesy of Cal Athletics

BERKELEY, Calif. - The seventh-seeded California volleyball team (26-3) snapped Utah State's (24-9) six-match winning streak with a three-set sweep, 25-15, 25-11, 25-20, in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship at Haas Pavilion, on Friday, Dec. 3. The Golden Bears are undefeated in nine NCAA first-round matches under head coach Rich Feller and will face North Carolina (25-9) in the second round at 6 p.m. PT on Saturday, Dec. 4.

Cal took out the WAC champion Aggies as senior setter Carli Lloyd posted her 10th double-double of the season with 35 assists and 14 digs. She was instrumental as the Bears logged a .342 hitting percentage in the match with 49 kills (11e, 111att). Junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey was error-free with 19 of those kills (41att) for a .463 hitting rate to go with eight digs.

Freshman outside hitter Adrienne Gehan also had an impressive outing with 11 kills (3e, 28att, .286), and Cal's only solo block. Sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari set a new career high with eight blocks and added seven kills (2e, 13att, .385) while fellow sophomore middle Kat Brown had three blocks and moved into fifth place at Cal for single-season blocks with 132. The Bears finished with 12.0 team blocks and dug up 60 balls to hold Utah State to a .060 hitting rate (26k, 19e, 117att). Sophomore libero Robin Rostratter had 13 digs and senior defensive specialist Meagan Schmitt added 10 more to put three Bears in double digits for digs.

Utah State senior setter Chelsea Fowles led the team with 17 assists, six kills (0e, 12att, .500), six digs and three blocks. The Aggies also got offense from senior middle blocker Shantell Durrant, who logged seven kills (1e, 11att, .545), and junior outside hitter Liz McArthur, who had eight kills (8e, 35att, .000).

The teams traded leads three times in the first set, but Cal snagged the last go-ahead point at 7-6, as Fowles put her serve into the net. The Bears pulled out to a four-point lead, 15-11, on a cross-court kill by Murrey, and kept on pushing to go up, 23-14, on a kill by Gehan. Lloyd found Murrey on the outside once more to terminate the final rally for a 25-15 Cal win. The Bears produced a .379 hitting percentage in the opening set with 14 kills (3e, 29att) and held the Aggies to a .062 outing (9k, 7e) on 32 swings.

Cal never trailed in the second set and seized an 8-1 lead as Lloyd's back-set found sophomore opposite hitter Correy Johnson on a slide play for a kill. The Bears went up by ten points, 16-6, when Murrey went down the line for a kill, and took set-point, 24-11, when Gehan tooled her shot off the Utah State block. Brown had the final point of the set as she sent an overplayed ball to the ground to seal Cal's 25-11 win. The Bears maintained their efficiency in the second as Lloyd put up 13 assists to set Cal up with a .326 attack rate (17k, 3e, 43att). On the other side of the net, The Bears had four blocks and dug up 27 balls to hold the Aggies to a negative .023 hitting percentage (5k, 6e, 43att).

Though the Bears never trailed in the final set to win, 25-20, the Aggies put up a fight and tied the score six times. McArthur had one of her kills to pull the teams into a seven-all tie, but the Bears went ahead for good at 13-12 on a kill by Murrey. It was another Murrey rocket that put Cal up seven points at 20-13, but Utah State responded to pull within three points, 22-19, on two straight kills by Durrant. Durrant went up once more on the following rally, but was turned away by Gehan and Brown. Gehan secured her 11th kill of the evening to end the third and send the Bears into the second round. Cal netted 18 kills (5e, 39att) for a .333 hitting percentage in the final set and held the Aggies to a .143 rate (12k, 6e, 42att) thanks to five blocks and 19 digs.