Cal Volleyball Defeats Saint Mary's, 3-0, In NCAA First-Round Action

Dec. 5, 2003

BERKELEY, CA - Led by junior All-American Mia Jerkov's team-high 30 kills and 16 digs, the No. 8 ranked Cal volleyball team (24-6) defeated Saint Mary's (20-13), 3-0 (30-20, 30-21, 30-23) Friday evening in the first round of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament at Haas Pavilion. The Bears will now host Michigan Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in the NCAA second round for a chance to advance to the round of 16, Dec. 12-13 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Wolverines (21-11) had upended Colorado (21-10), 3-0 (30-22, 30-22, 30-11) in the earlier first round match.

Jerkov was spectacular for Cal as she recorded 30 or more kills in a match for the 13th time in her college career and hit .414 for the contest. Junior outside hitter Gabrielle Abernathy also played well, recording nine kills with only two errors in 19 attempts and had two service aces. The Bears out-hit the Gaels, .304-.107 and finished with 22 block assists, including six by junior Camille Leffall and five apiece from freshman setter Samantha Carter and sophomore Alicia Powers. Carter tallied 48 assists as well, giving her 1,450 assists for the year, setting a new Cal single-season assist record (old record was 1,442 set by Caity Noonan last year).

Saint Mary's was led by senior Jill Parmele's 17 kills. Tonight's match was the first NCAA postseason competition in volleyball for the Gaels, who finished the year 20-13 after winning nine matches last season. Cal handled the first two games, 30-20, 30-21, but had to battle in game three. Saint Mary's jumped to a 17-12 lead before Jerkov took over. She brought the Bears back by recording the next six kills to help knot the contest at 18-18. Cal then pulled away with the score tied, 20-20, behind a Abernathy kill, blocks by Powers and Abernathy, and another Jerkov kill to set the pace for the final 30-23 margin.

'I thought we played a pretty solid match, outside of a small breakdown in our receiving in game three,' said Cal coach Rich Feller. 'I think we prepared well for this match. In the third game when we got down by five points we were able to come back and showed people what we are all about. Hopefully we can play with the same intensity tomorrow against Michigan.'

The Bears have now won 20 or more matches in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1981-83. Cal was 20-12 in 2002, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

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