No. 6 California Falls To No. 1 Penn State In NCAA Championship Semifinal
Dec. 14, 2007
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The No. 6 California volleyball team fell in three games to No. 1 Penn State in the 2007 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship Semifinal tonight at Arco Arena in Sacramento, Calif. (30-28, 30-25, 30-16). The Golden Bears completed the most successful season in school history with a 26-8 overall record, advancing to the college volleyball national semifinal for the first time ever. The Bears were paced by senior outside hitter Angie Pressey who led all hitters with 15 kills (8e, 32att, .219) and posted the 14th double-double of her senior season by adding 10 digs in her final collegiate match.
Cal surrendered 49 kills to an efficient Penn State attack that committed only 14 errors (101att) and hit .347. That percentage is the best by a Cal opponent this season. Stanford hit .290 against the Bears in the final regular season match to win in five games. Before tonight, the Bears were 2-0 when dropping the first two games of a match this season, and had not been swept since the sixth match of the season when they fell in three at Colorado on Sept. 2.
'I think we came up against a really good team that hit us hard,' said Cal head coach Rich Feller. 'When we hit hard, they hit back harder. They (Penn State) are a good team. I don't know if we had our best game tonight, but a lot of that has to do with our opponent. This Cal team came further than any other team and we are so proud of them, and so proud of how far our seniors (Pressey and Ellen Orchard) brought us. It is an honor to coach this program.'
The Bears were only able to muster eight kills in game three but their 10 errors had the team hitting negative percentages (32att, -.062). Penn State only needed 13 kills, capitalizing on Cal errors to take the game with ease. After going up by two points, the Bears gave up the lead and found themselves tied at six points with the Lions. From that point, Penn State put together a 16-6 run that had the Bears against the ropes, down 10 points. The Lions poured it on and took game-point at 29-16. The Bears had no answer as Penn State earned the final point and the second spot in the NCAA Championship Match, scheduled to face No. 4 Stanford at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Although Cal put up five service aces in the second game, it managed only 13 kills against nine errors (33att, .121). Out-blocked at this point by a tally of 10-4, the Bears were unable to slow down the Penn State onslaught as the Lions put up a torrid .424 hitting percentage and attacked for errors only three times against their 17 kills (33att). The Bears never led in the second game from the get-go, but found themselves down only a point at 4-3 with all three points coming off Penn State errors. Pushing hard, the Bears came as close as three points of the Lions at 23-26 on a service ace by sophomore libero Kristen Kathan but the Lions made another run to take game two by five and headed into the break with a two-to-nothing lead in the match.
The Bears fought hard for game one, never trailing by more than four points, but were never able to take the lead against a strong Penn State attack that put up a .350 hitting percentage (19k, 5e, 40att). The Bears managed to nab 18 kills of their own (7e, 42att) and hit .262 led by five points from Pressey. After being down 9-5, Cal roared back to tie the game up at 10 before falling behind once again. The Bears were relentless; tying things up again at 25 and then once again on each point until the Nittany Lions put two straight points together to take a one-to-nothing lead in the match.
The Bears not only completed one of the best seasons in team history with a 26-8 overall record, they also tied a school record by going 12-6 in Pac-10 Conference play.