No. 14 Cal Volleyball Falls to No. 2 Washington, 3-1
Nov. 25, 2006
BERKELEY, CALIF. - In its final regular season match, the No. 14-ranked California women's volleyball team battled the defending national champion and No. 2-ranked Washington Huskies tough, before falling 3-1 (26-30, 30-19, 30-20, 30-24) Saturday night at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears, who expect to be one of the 64 teams selected for the NCAA tournament Sunday, dropped to 20-9 overall and 9-9 in the Pac-10, while Washington improved to 25-4 and 15-3 in conference. Cal was led by junior Angie Pressey's 17 kills, and 12 kills from freshman Hana Cutura.
Cal's 20 victories this season is only the sixth time in school history the Bears have captured 20 or more victories in a season. Under current head coach Rich Feller, Cal went 20-12 in 2002 and 25-7 in 2003.
The Bears jumped out ahead of the Huskies by capturing game one, 30-26, behind Pressey's eight kills and only one error is 15 attempts (.467 hitting percentage). Washington came back strong by overpowering Cal, 30-19, in game two, and went on to win game three, 30-20, when the Bears were without the services of senior setter Samantha Carter, who suffered a slight sprain in her left ankle.
Without Carter, Cal still competed strong against the Huskies, coming from behind to tie game four 16-16 on a kill by sophomore Am'ra Solomon. The fourth game went back and forth from that point on, with Cal taking a two-point advantage at 21-19 on a kill by back-up setter Bryte Nielson. Washington finally broke a 23-23 tie on a kill by Christal Morrison, and went on to win, 30-24.
Besides Pressey's and Cutura's kills, freshman Kristen Kathan paced the Bears with 15 digs, and Nielson had a career-high 24 assists. Sophomore Morgan Beck and junior Ellen Orchard each had five block assists, and senior Jillian Davis and Pressey had 12 and 11 digs, respectively. Morrison paced the Huskies with 18 kills.
'The way we competed without our top setter (Carter) against one of the top teams in the country shows us that we can compete well in the NCAA tournament,' said Feller, who expects to be leading Cal to its school-record fifth-consecutive NCAA postseason appearance. 'After Samantha suffered her sprained ankle, we kept her out in order to let her get ready for the tournament. I was impressed with the way we battled without her. Everyone who came off the bench for us tonight played well.'