No. 15 Cal Volleyball Upends No. 14 Cal Poly, 3-1, in NCAA Second Round

Dec. 2, 2006

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIF. - Overcoming a hostile crowd and a home court advantage, the No. 15-ranked California women's volleyball team defeated No. 14-ranked Cal Poly, 3-1 (30--24, 30-26, 23-30, 30-20) Saturday night in the NCAA second round at Mott Gymnasium on the Cal Poly campus in San Luis Obispo. Led by freshman Hana Cutura's 18 kills, and 14 kills and a school-record 11 total blocks by junior Ellen Orchard, the Golden Bears improved to 22-9 overall. The Mustangs ended their season 23-6. Cal was also paced by junior Angie Pressey's 16 kills and 15 kills from sophomore Morgan Beck.

The Bears now advance to the NCAA round of 16 for only the second time in school history. Under head coach Rich Feller, Cal went 25-7 in 2003 and advanced to the round of 16 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The 2006 Bears, led by senior captains Samantha Carter and Jillian Davis, will be playing in the NCAA Regional in Austin, Texas, Dec. 8-9. Texas and Wisconsin have also advanced to the Austin Regional. The winner of the Stanford first and second rounds (Stanford, Sacramento State, Missouri, Santa Clara) with be joining the Bears, Longhorns and Badgers. Cal's first opponent will be the winner of Stanford's bracket. Setter Carter and libero Davis were starters as freshman on the Bears' 2003 squad.

'We are a pretty experience and balanced team, and I think that helped us tonight,' said Feller. 'We have played a tough schedule this season, so I think we were ready for this type of competition. We did a good job of adjusting to what Cal Poly threw at us. The last few weeks of the season we have gotten better and better. This team has a strong will and an extremely strong personality, which is a reflection of our captains Sam and Jillian. Nobody lost concentration after our game three loss. The team really pulled together. We are really glad to be going to Texas.'

The Bears had several fine performances. Orchard had three solo blocks to go along with eight block assists, tying a school-record with 11 total blocks. Beck hit .444 for the match with 15 kills and only three errors in 27 attempts, Carter tallied 62 assists with 13 digs, and Davis had a season-high 31 digs. Pressey added 15 digs to go along with her 16 kills.

Cal Poly was led by Kylie Atherstone's 13 kills. Cal limited the Mustangs to a .040 (39k, 32e, 174att) hitting percentage for the evening. The Bears had defeated LSU, 3-1, Friday evening in the NCAA first round.

In game one, Cal had some impressive runs, jumping out to leads of 10-3 and 23-16. Cal Poly battle back to get within, 25-23, but the Bears put the game away, 30-24, on a kill by Beck, block assists by Cutura and Orchard, a kill by Cutura and a kill by Orchard. Cutura paced Cal with six kills in game one and the Bears limited the Mustangs to a .000 hitting percentage (8k, 8e, 35att).

Orchard shined for Cal in game two. Cal Poly had gotten within, 26-25, when Beck had a receiving error, but Orchard made some key plays down the stretch. She notched a kill to give the Bears a 27-25 cushion, and then after a Mustang hitting error, Orchard recorded a solo block. Jaclyn Houston countered with a kill, but Orchard finished off game two with another kill for a 30-26 win. Cal had trailed the early part of game two until a Beck kill tied it, 13-13, and then the Bears went on a 3-0 run to get a 16-12 advantage that they never relinquished.

Cal dropped game three, 30-23, but rebounded to capture the match with a 30-20 win in game four. With the Bears leading 27-18 in game four, freshman Cat Dailey knocked down a service ace, and Orchard and Cutura combined for a block to give Cal a 29-18 lead. Cal Poly was able to get the next two points before Orchard sealed the win with her 14th kill of the evening.

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