No. 15 Cal Volleyball Defeats No. 16 LSU, 3-1, in NCAA First Round
Dec. 1, 2006
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIF. - Overcoming a game one defeat, the No. 15-ranked California women's volleyball team came roaring back to upend No. 16-ranked LSU, 3-1 (25-30, 30-23, 30-17, 30-16) Friday night in the NCAA first round at Mott Gymnasium on the Cal Poly campus in San Luis Obispo. The Golden Bears improved to 21-9 overall, and the Tigers ended their season 26-6. Cal showed a balanced offensive attacked, led by 15 kills from freshman Hana Cutura, 14 kills from junior Ellen Orchard, 13 kills from junior Angie Pressey and 11 kills from sophomore Morgan Beck.
The Bears' NCAA first-round victory was the fifth consecutive year Cal has won a first-round NCAA match. The Bears' 21 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.
'We felt LSU was a very, very good team. We knew they had finished second in the SEC,' said Feller. 'I think this was one of the toughest first round matches in the tournament. We worked hard to prepare for LSU, and I think we had a little case of the jitters in game one. But once we got going we played extremely well. We have been picking up the intensity in practice the last two weeks and it showed tonight. We are in a really good state right now and are ready to keep going in this tournament.'
For the match, the Bears hit .336, compared to .156 for the Tigers. Besides the offensive attack of Cutura, Orchard, Pressey and Beck, senior setter Samantha Carter finished with 51 assists, six kills and 10 digs, while senior libero Jillian Davis added a team-high 16 digs. Orchard also notched two service aces and hit an impressive .522 (14k, 2e, 23att) for the contest. LSU was plagued by 14 service errors.
The Tigers were led by Kyna Washington and Marina Skender with 12 kills apiece.
In game one, Cal trailed the whole way, but made a strong run at the end, giving the Bears momentum. A kill and a solo block by Cutura, and a kill by Carter got the Bears within, 28-24. Unfortunately for Cal, Cutura was called for a net violation to give LSU a 29-24 advantage. Orchard came back with a kill and the Tigers had a hitting error to make it, 29-26, but Pressey's kill attempt went into the net for a 30-26 game one win for LSU.
The Bears played much better in game two, breaking an 8-8 tie on a Beck kill, a hitting error by the Tigers and two Pressey kills. Cal kept the pressure on with some strong serving and several LSU hitting errors. After another Beck kill made the score, 29-20, the Tigers scored the next three points until a Cutura kill put game two away, 30-23. The Bears out-hit LSU, .244 (18k, 8e, 41att) to .027 (9k, 8e, 37att), in game two after Cal was out-hit .410 (18k, 2e, 39att) to .227 (18k, 8e, 44att) in game one. Cutura paced the Bears with five kills in game two.
Cal rolled in games three and four, winning 30-17 and 30-16. The Bears hit .448 with 15 kills and only two errors in 29 attempts in the third game, and .565 with 15 kills and only two errors in 23 attempts in closing out game four. The Bears also limited the Tigers' attack as LSU hit .049 (12k, 10e, 41att) in game three, and .133 (10k, 6e, 30att) in game four.
Cal will next face either No. 14-rank Cal Poly, or Michigan, in the NCAA second round at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2 at Mott Gymnasium in San Luis Obispo.
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