No. 7 Cal Volleyball Loses at No. 4 USC, 3-1

Oct. 13, 2006

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - In its second tough road loss in the last two nights, the No. 7-ranked California volleyball team fell at No. 4-ranked USC, 3-1 (20-30, 30-22, 30-26, 32-30), Friday night at the new Galen Center on the USC campus. The Golden Bears dropped to 14-4 overall and 3-4 in the Pac-10 with their third-straight loss, while the Trojans improved to 18-1 and 7-1 in conference play. Cal was led by freshman Hana Cutura's 15 kills and a career-high 14 kills from junior Ellen Orchard.

The Bears' four losses this season have all come on the road against teams ranked higher in the AVCA Top 25 poll - No. 4 Washington on Sept. 21 in Seattle, No. 6 Stanford at Stanford on Oct. 6, No. 3 UCLA in Los Angeles on Oct. 12 and USC Oct. 13.

The Trojans were led by junior Asia Kaczor with a match-high 24 kills and a .302 hitting percentage (24k, 8e, 53att). Diane Copenhagen added 19 kills for USC while sophomore Kelli Tennant had a career-high four service aces. Freshman setter Taylor Carico aided USC with 51 assists, 13 digs and four blocks on the evening.

Cutura paced the Bears with 15 kills and five blocks. Orchard recorded 14 kills and nine blocks (two solo) for Cal while junior Angie Pressey and sophomore Morgan Beck had 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Cal dominated the blocking category with 21 blocks in the match against USC's nine.

Cal took command early in the first game and took a 7-3 lead before USC's first timeout. Copenhagen won a joust at the net and added two straight kills as the Women of Troy trailed, 8-7. Cutura and Samantha Carter recorded back-to-back kills as the Bears edged ahead, 15-11. USC got to within two at 18-16, but the Bears utilized a 10-2 run at the end, including six straight points, to take a 1-0 lead in the match. The Women of Troy hit a negative .048 with 12 errors against just 10 kills.

USC reversed its fortunes in game two with a 7-4 run to open, followed by seven straight points on Tennant's serve for the 14-4 advantage. Kaczor added two more kills late as the Women of Troy cruised to tie the match at a game apiece.

Tennant served another ace in game three as USC led, 8-6. Down by three, Cal got four straight points and forced USC to burn a timeout after Cutura's solo block and assume the 15-14 lead. Both teams traded points before Jessica Gysin's kill put USC ahead, 20-19. After Pressey's kill tied it at 20-20, two Kaczor kills sandwiched a Kaczor/Tennant block for a 24-20 score in the Women of Troy's favor. Cal got it to 27-24 before kills from Bethany Johansen and Gysin put USC at game point. Orchard and Pressey terminated for the Bears but Carico's '310' kill finished the third game win for the Women of Troy.

Neither team pulled away in the early part of game four as USC built a 13-10 margin before Cal rattled off five straight points for the 15-13 lead. Kaczor's kill out of the break started a 6-2 run for the Women of Troy leading, 19 17. Johansen later helped on a block and added a kill as USC moved ahead, 24-20. Cutura registered another kill and a Orchard/Cutura block cut the USC lead to two before the Women of Troy scored three of the next four points for the 27-23 margin. After both teams traded a point, Cal scored a point and used another block, this time by Morgan Beck and Natalie Smart, with USC holding a 28-26 lead. Beck added a kill and assisted on a block for the 28-28 tie. Copenhagen's kill gave match point to USC, but Cal reversed the momentum on another Beck/Natalie Smart stuff and Cutura's kill threatened to tie the match with a 30-29 Bears' lead. USC rose to the challenge with the final three points as Carico and Johansen used two blocks to earn the match for the home team.

The Bears next host Oregon, Oct. 19, and Oregon State, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.

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