No. 12 California Volleyball Tipped by No. 11 Stanford, 3-2
Oct. 1, 2004
STANFORD, CA - In an outstanding college volleyball match, the No. 12-ranked California women's volleyball team (7-5, 2-1) lost a heartbreaker to No. 11 Stanford (10-3, 3-0) 30-28, 28-30, 30-27, 28-30, 15-13, Friday night at Burnham Pavilion on the Stanford campus. Cal was bidding to defeat the Cardinal, at Stanford, for the first time since 1979. The Cal-Stanford match was televised by Fox Sports Net and will be shown Saturday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 12 p.m.
In a match that was nip-and-tuck in each and every game, the Cardinal finally prevailed when Lizzie Suiter blocked the Bears' Alicia Powers for a 15-13 win in game five. Senior middle hitter Camille Leffall had tied game five, 13-13, with a kill, but Stanford rallied at the end with an Ogonna Nnamani kill, followed by Suiter's block. Nnamani paced the Cardinal with 28 kills in 71 attempts and a .282 hitting percentage.
Cal had several standout performances. Sophomore libero Jillian Davis set a school record with 33 digs, surpassing Tiffany Rochelle's 32 digs versus San Jose State on Oct. 11, 1988. Freshman Angie Pressey led the Bears with 18 kills, while Jenna Brown, Leffall and Gabrielle Abernathy had 14 kills apiece. Powers added 12 kills and sophomore setter Samantha Carter had a season-high 65 assists, four service aces and 14 digs. Abernathy's 14 kills versus the Cardinal now gives her 1,012 career kills, only the ninth Cal volleyball player in school history to surpass 1,000 kills.
Cal made an impressive comeback in game one before falling, 30-28. The Bears were down, 28-23, before going on a 5-0 run to tie the contest, 28-28. Cal was able to rally on a set error by the Cardinal's Bryn Kehoe, a kill by Brown, block assists by Brown and Leffall, and back-to-back service aces by Carter. Finally, Stanford recovered on kills by Nnamani and Franci Girard to win 30-28.
The Bears were able to rebound in game two, winning 30-28. The Cardinal had a 28-26 lead on a Kristin Richards' kill, but a kill by Abernathy and a solo block by Leffall tied the game, 28-28. Cal was able to capture the second game when Richards' kill attempt went wide and then Kehoe's set attempt to Girard went array. The Bears were paced in game two by Pressey's eight kills, and Abernathy added five kills.
Stanford took game three, 30-27. Cal was plagued by the Cardinal's 7-0 run that gave Stanford a 17-9 lead. The Bears didn't quit, though, and eventually got within 27-25 on two kills by Brown and a kill by Pressey. The teams then traded points with a Pressey kill to making the score, 29-27, but Jennifer Hucke followed with a kill that gave Stanford a game three victory, 30-27.
Game four was another exciting affair, with Cal coming on top, 30-28. Back-to-back Stanford blocks had given the Cardinal a 26-23 advantage, but the Bears went on a 4-0 run behind two Abernathy kills, a kill by Powers and block assists by Powers and Carter. A kill by Stanford's Richards tied the game, 27-27, before an Abernathy kill and a Richards' hitting error gave the Bears a 29-27 lead. Cal's Natasha Nguyen had a service error to make the score 29-28, but Powers countered with a kill to give the Bears the 30-28 win and send the contest to the fifth game.
The Bears next travel to Los Angeles to face No. 10 UCLA Friday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion. Cal then takes on No. 3-ranked and two-time defending national champion USC Saturday, Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. at the Lyon Center.