No. 6 Stanford Claims Fourth-Straight Pac-10 Title in Five-Set Win

Nov. 27, 2009

STANFORD, Calif. - The No. 11-ranked California volleyball team (18-10, 11-7 Pac-10) fell in five sets (23-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-4) to No. 6 Stanford (21-7, 14-4 Pac-10) on Friday, Nov. 27, at Maples Pavilion. The Golden Bears dropped their second consecutive match as the Cardinal won the Pac-10 title outright; its fourth straight crown and 16th overall conference championship. Stanford junior outside hitter Alix Klineman led the Cardinal to victory with a career-high 33 kills (9e, 73att, .329) as she posted her ninth double-double of the season with 11 digs. Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura led the Bears with 17 kills (5e, 44att, .273) and logged her 11th double-double of the season with 12 digs.

Sophomore outside hitter Tarah Murrey had her eighth double-double of the year with 13 kills (7e, 48att, .125) and 16 digs. Junior setter Carli Lloyd fell one kill short of a triple-double but matched her career high with nine kills (1e, 17att, .471) to go with 44 assists and a match-high 18 digs. Freshman middle hitter Kat Brown led the Bears with five blocks as she posted a career-high nine kills (1e, 11att, .727). Senior libero Kristen Kathan had 13 digs while senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley had six kills (5e, 20att, .050). Freshman opposite hitter Correy Johnson chipped in five kills as well as the Bears attacked at a .208 rate for the match (59k, 26e, 159att).

Stanford junior outside hitter Cassidy Lichtman had 13 kills (4e, 42att, .214) and dished out 18 assists to go with 10 digs. Senior middle blocker Janet Okogbaa celebrated senior night with 12 kills (2e, 34att, .294) and junior libero Gabi Ailes led the Cardinal with 17 digs as Stanford posted a .239 attack percentage (67k, 24e, 180att) in the match.

The Cardinal raced ahead to a 5-2 lead in the fifth set as Okogbaa and Klineman registered consecutive kills for Stanford. The Bears earned two more points before Klineman went cross-court to give Stanford a five-point lead at 9-4. The Cardinal didn't look back after that as it completed yet another long string of points with a 9-0 run to close the match with a 3-2 victory. The Bears were held to just three kills (5e, 21att) and a negative .095 hitting percentage while Stanford rose up with nine kills without an error on 23 attacks (.391) in the final set.

The Cardinal opened up the match by nabbing four of the first five points and pulled out to a four-point lead at 9-5 as Klineman went up to block one of Wiley's attacks. On the other side of the net, Klineman beat Wiley to the pins but Wiley avenged the earlier point by putting a cut shot off the Stanford blocker to pull the Bears within two points at 16-14. The Cardinal pulled out to another four-point lead at 18-14 as Klineman earned the next two points on kills but the Bears went on a 4-1 run to close the gap to one point as Wiley blasted a quick set from Lloyd to the ground for a kill. Cal continued to plug away until Johnson put a kill off the Cardinal block to knot the set for the second time at 22-all. Cutura`s next serve forced a Stanford overpass that Brown put down for Cal's first lead of the set. Johnson connected with Lloyd's back-set on the next play to give the Bears set point at 24-22. Murrey took a high ball from Lloyd on the last play of the set to get a kill to the middle of the Cardinal court for a 25-23 Cal win in the first set. The Bears attacked at a .342 rate in the opening stanza with 17 kills on 38 attacks (4e) while the Cardinal had 17 kills (6e) on 40 attacks for a .275 attack percentage.

In a reversal of roles, the Bears claimed four of the first five points of the second set and had a three-point lead as Brown went up for a kill off a quick set from Lloyd. The Cardinal pulled into a four-all tie but three straight kills by Murrey put Cal in front by three again at 7-4. After facing an eight-all tie, the Bears pulled out to a five-point advantage at 14-9 as Murrey took a kill off the Stanford block. The Cardinal climbed within a point at 14-13 as it earned a service ace but the Bears went on a seven-point tear to build an eight-point lead at 21-13 as Lloyd and Brown teamed up to block a Stanford attack. Cutura went off the Cardinal block to give the Bears a 23-15 lead before Murrey's shot off the Stanford block gave Cal five set points to work with at 24-18. The Bears only needed one as Johnson went down the line on a back-set from Lloyd to give Cal a 2-0 lead in the match with a 25-18 win in the second set. The Bears put up 16 kills on 33 attacks (5e) to earn a .333 attack rate in the second set and held the Stanford attack to 11 kills on 41 attacks (7e) for a .098 attack percentage.

With the third set locked up for the seventh time at seven-all, the Bears went on a 4-0 run to earn an 11-7 lead as Cutura went cross-court for a kill off a Stanford defender. Cal went up by five on three occasions, the last of which came at 15-10 before the Cardinal went on a three-point run but the Bears responded to go on a run of their own for a five-point lead at 20-15 as Lloyd and Brown got up to block one of Lichtman's attacks. Stanford continued to chip away and came up with a one-point deficit at 23-22 as Klineman went up alone to block an attack by Wiley. The Cardinal completed a 5-0 run to finish the set, 25-23, and climb back into the match. The Bears posted 14 kills (6e, 35att, .229) and Stanford had 14 kills (3e, 31att, .355) in the third set.

After facing four ties in the fourth set, the Cardinal pulled away to hold a four-point lead at 9-5 but the Bears stormed back to tie things up once more at nine-all as Wiley took a quick set from Lloyd for a kill. The Bears went ahead for the first time at 12-11 as Wiley blocked an attack by Klineman to complete a 3-0 run. Cal went in front by three points at 18-15 when Cutura got a high ball from Lloyd to earn a kill but the Cardinal went on a 10-2 run to cap a 25-20 win in the fourth set to send the match to a fifth set. The Bears were held to just nine kills (6e, 32att) and a .094 attack percentage while the Cardinal tacked up 16 kills (8e, 45att) with a .178 attack rate.

The Bears will await their school-record eighth straight postseason assignment in the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championships next. The selection committee will reveal the 64-team field of championship participants on a special selection show to be aired by ESPNews on Sunday, Nov. 29, at noon PT. Please check your local listings for availability.

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