BERKELEY - The California volleyball team defeated 21st-ranked Washington State in four sets (32-30, 15-25, 25-23, 25-20) on Sunday afternoon at Haas Pavilion to pick up it's second win of the Pac-12 season and its first conference win at home.
The victory comes a week after the Golden Bears shut down a then-24th-ranked Utah in Salt Lake City in a 3-2 battle to pick up their first league win, and first win over a ranked opponent in two seasons. Sunday's upset marks the first time Cal has downed two ranked conference opponents in the same season since 2016 when they beat 19th-ranked Colorado and 18th-ranked Washington State in Berkeley.
The Bears were led by Bailee Huizenga, who led the team with 12 kills. Also contributing to the upset were Maddie Haynes and Mima Mirkovic, who finished with 11 kills each.
Lauren Forte provided for the Bears on both offense and defense. Forte tallied the first double-double of her career with 10 kills while also picking up 11.0 total blocks, a career high. Her defensive performance marks the most blocks in a single game for the Bears since 2012 when Kat Brown recorded 12.0 blocks on Nov. 8, also against Washington State.
Lauren Forte is killing 'em softly and ties things up at 15-15! pic.twitter.com/mn0EmMZlnn— Cal Volleyball (@CalVolleyball) September 30, 2018
Setters Isabel Potter and Jade Blevins combined for 46 total assists for Cal (10-9, 2-6 Pac-12). Kat Knop led the team in total digs with 19. With the victory, Cal has now defeated Washington State (13-5, 4-4 Pac-12) at home for the fourth consecutive time.
The first set of the match was Cal's longest set victory of the season with a score of 32-30. It is the longest set victory for the Bears since September 9th, 2017 against Louisiana-Lafayette (30-28). The set was as dramatic as it was long, with neither team leading by more than two points the entire way through. In fact, Cal's .280 attacking percentage was shy of Wazzu's .300 in the opening set, however, the Cougars had seven errors in the set, two more than the Bears, in the closely-contested set that proved to be fatal as they came on the final two points of the set from a service error and attacking error.
Cal allowed things to even out after dropping the second set, only earning seven kills and finishing with a -.067 hitting clip, but that proved to be a fluke as the Bears regathered themselves at the break and committed just six errors in the final two sets, compared to the Cougars' 13.
Moving ahead like... pic.twitter.com/CIGgstMb2X— Cal Volleyball (@CalVolleyball) October 14, 2018
While set 3 provided as much parity as the first with the teams each recording 15 kills, Cal only erred twice and had it's most efficient hitting set of the match with a .317 effort. That momentum carried in to the final set, with more decisive play to give the Bears the edge. Holding Wazzu to just a .056 attacking percentage, Cal added another 15 kills to the fold and took a sizable 21-13 lead.
However, the Bears had to call a timeout before putting things away as the Cougars went on a 7-2 run in set 4 to put some pressure on the Bears.
"To come out and steal this victory was a big momentum booster," said head coach Jennifer Dorr. "I think we made things harder than they should've been, but a win is a win and we will take it.
The Bears will be on the road for the next two weekends, starting on Friday when they take on the Oregon Ducks in Eugene, starting at 7 p.m. (PT).