Cal Volleyball Tops Saint Mary's, 3-2
Oct. 22, 2002
MORAGA, CA - Led by a career-high 28 kills by senior Leah Young, the University of California women's volleyball team (14-5) was finally able to defeat gutsy Saint Mary's (5-12), 3-2 (27-30, 30-22, 34-36, 30-28, 15-13), Tuesday night at McKeon Pavilion in Moraga. Cal was playing without top player Mia Jerkov, who was nursing a sore left ankle. Jerkov should be ready for Friday and Saturday's matches against the Oregon schools.
The Bears picked up their 14th win of the season, the most wins for a Cal squad since the Bears finished 15-15 in 1991. But it was not easy as Cal had to win in five games - the fourth time this season the Bears took five games to win a match. It was Cal's seventh five-game match of the season.
Young showed why she is such a key player for the Bears as she responded with not only a career-high in kills, but had a .358 hitting percentage, 11 digs and a career-high nine block assists. Junior Heather Diers also came up big for Cal as she had one block solo and a career-high 10 block assists. As a team, the Bears broke a school record with 40 total blocks.
The Bears played poorly in game one. Cal had owned a 14-11 lead on a kill by Camille Leffall, but could not control the contest. The game was tied at 15 and at 20, yet the Bears were not able to get any momentum. Cal got within 27-26 on three consecutive Gael hitting errors, but faltered at the end, losing 30-27.
The Bears played a little bit better in game two, winning 30-22. Cal had jumped out to a 6-0 lead and held on behind some solid blocking by Diers, who registered seven block assists in game two. The Bears lost a 36-34 heartbreaker in game three. Cal had a 33-32 lead on back-to-back kills by Young, but couldn't get the final point. The Bears later tied the contest, 34-34, on block assists by Young and Leffall, but a kill by Rachel Avilla finally won the game for Saint Mary's.
Game four was another gut-wrenching affair before Cal was able to prevail, 30-28, after having trailed 25-19. Young was outstanding, pacing the Bears with 11 kills in the game. Leffall was able to seal game four with a kill. Game five saw Cal take a 10-7 lead, only to see the Gaels come back to lead 12-11. After a Diers' kill tied the game, 12-12, the Bears were eventually able to squeak out the win when two straight Young kills gave Cal the 15-13 victory.
Cal will next host Oregon State Friday, Oct. 25 and Oregon, Saturday, Oct. 25 with both matches beginning at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.