No. 9 Golden Bears Capture Crowne Plaza Classic Title

Sept. 20, 2008

FULLERTON, Calif. - The No. 9-ranked California volleyball team (10-1, 0-0 Pac-10) put together its third win of the weekend to capture the 2008 Crowne Plaza Volleyball Classic title at Titan Gym in Fullerton, Calif. The Golden Bears took a 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-22) victory over host Cal State Fullerton (6-8, 0-0 Big West) and put three players on the all-tournament team including the tournament's most valuable player, junior outside hitter Hana Cutura. Cutura put up led all players in the match with a 13 kills (2e, 22att) and hit .500. Joining Cutura on the all-tournament team were sophomore setter Carli Lloyd and senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon. Lloyd earned her fourth such honor this season while Solomon took home all-tournament honors for the first time in her career. San Francisco finished second; Fullerton third and Central Connecticut State fourth this weekend.

The teams traded leads early in the third set but a junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley's fifth kill (2e, 10att, .300) off an overplayed ball gave the Bears a 5-4 lead. Cal stretched turned that lead into a six point advantage at 21-15 but the Titans came back with a 6-0 run to tie the score once more at 21 points. After a Cal timeout, the Bears came out and got kills from freshman outside hitter Tarah Murrey and freshman middle hitter Shannon Hawari to earn set point at 24-21. The Bears gave up one more point but comfortably put the match away on overplayed ball from the Titan front court. Cal had 17 kills in the third set (9e, 38att) and hit at a .211 attack percentage.

Cal never trailed in the second set, getting out by as many as nine points. Solomon led all hitters with six kills in the set while the Bears put together another efficient offensive performance with a .400 attack percentage on 30 attacks (15k, 3e) and made good on 87 percent of their sideout opportunities. Freshman Ashley Roe came in at the setter position with Cal up 21-13 and recorded assists on sets to Cutura and Solomon to put Cal at set-point. Just as in the first set, the Titans committed an unforced error to seal their fate, giving the Bears a 2-0 lead heading into the break.

After a block assist by senior middle hitter Kat Reilly and Solomon tied the score at 10 points each, the Bears took a two-point advantage on a kill from senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck and never trailed the rest of the first set. Junior defensive specialist/libero Kristen Kathan floated a serve to the front of the Titan court and notched a service ace to push set point at 24-19 before a Cal State Fullerton blocking error effectively ended any hopes of a Titan comeback. The Bears hit for a scorching .517 in the opening set, getting 17 kills on 29 attacks (2e) and added two service aces. Cal took advantage of sideout opportunities in what could have turned in a much closer set by winning back the serve at a 64 percent rate.

The Bears return home to open the Pac-10 conference season against Oregon Friday, Sept. 26 (7 p.m.) and Oregon State Sunday, Sept. 28 (1 p.m.). Last year, the Bears tied a school-record with 12 wins in league play and finished in fourth place before making a run to the NCAA semifinals.

2008 Crowne Plaza Volleyball Classic All-Tournament TeamJamie Baumert - Central Connecticut StateDarcy Carroll - San FranciscoHana Cutura - California (MVP)Carli Lloyd - CaliforniaSarah Mandala - San FranciscoBrittany Moore - Cal State FullertonAm'ra Solomon - California

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