Cal Volleyball Falls to No. 7 Ranked UC Santa Barbara, 3-0, In NCAA Second Round
Dec. 7, 2002
SANTA BARBARA, CA - The University of California women's volleyball team (20-12) saw an outstanding 2002 season come to an end, falling to No. 7 ranked UC Santa Barbara (30-2) 3-0 (30-26, 30-25, 30-26) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday night at the Thunderdome at UC Santa Barbara.
The Bears were led by sophomore Mia Jerkov's 18 kills and 22 digs. Senior Leah Young also had a stellar match in her last collegiate contest, recording 11 kills with no errors in 22 attempts for a .500 hitting percentage. Junior setter Caity Noonan was also solid with three service aces and 38 assists. Jerkov, Young and Noonan established impressive season and career marks this season. Jerkov established a new school record for single-season kills with 578 kills, surpassing Tiffany Rochelle's 568 kills in 1988. Young finished her Cal career with 1,008 kills, only the seventh Bear to record over 1,000 kills. Noonan became the school record holder for single season assists, tallying 1,442 this season, topping the former record of 1,390 assists by Holly McPeak in 1988.
Cal's 20 wins is the most wins for the Bears since the 1983 team went 22-20. It was the first time the Bears had made it to the NCAA Tournament since 1989. Cal has now made it to the NCAA second round four times in school history, going 0-4 in those contests.
The Bears lost a tough first game, 30-26. After a Young kill had given Cal a 7-6 lead, the Gauchos outscored the Bears, 12-3, to take a 18-10 lead. Cal battled back and was able to get within 24-23 on a Jerkov kill. Again UCSB was able to forge ahead and was on game point, 29-24. The Bears were not through, getting within 29-26 on kills by Jerkov and Young, before finally giving up the final point to the Gauchos. Young led Cal with seven kills with no errors in the first game.
The Bears lost the second game, 30-25. Cal fell behind early and was never able to catch up. The Bears did battle again when the Gauchos were at game point, 29-23, getting within 29-25 on a UCSB service error and a Jenna Brown kill. Unfortunately a Young service error gave the Gauchos their final game two point.
Game three was probably the Bears' best, even though they fell 30-26. Down 26-19, Cal was able to get within 27-26 behind a kill by Camille Leffall, a solo block by Jerkov and a pair of Jerkov kills. The Gauchos, behind strong digging that helped them the entire night, were able to rattle off the next three points and finally won the match on a Courtney Guerra kill. Guerra had played for the Bears as a freshman in 1999 before transferring to UC Santa Barbara.
'This has been a great season,' said Cal coach Rich Feller. 'We reached, and surpassed, several of the goals we had set for ourselves this season. We now know what it takes to reach this level and we are excited to return next year. I am so proud of the way we fought back from being down 1-0 against Santa Clara Friday night and the way we came back from being down in every game tonight. I am also proud of Leah Young. It was great to see her have a great senior season...to see her go from a talented young freshman to a polished senior athlete was a pleasure.'