Bears Fall To No. 22 Bruins
LOS ANGELES – California got a team-high 10 kills to go along with seven digs from freshman Katarina Pantovic in a 17-25, 18-25, 19-25 loss to No. 22 UCLA Sunday afternoon at Pauley Pavilion.
Pantovic recorded her second double digit kill outing in a row during her first action as a Golden Bear. Freshman Sam Taumoepeau and redshirt-sophomore Bella Bergmark each added seven kills for Cal, while freshman Lexi Gruszczynski notched a team-high eight digs.
Senior setter Isabel Potter tallied a match-high 19 assists for the Bears.
Cal (0-2, 0-2 Pac-12) finished the opening weekend without its top three hitters and top two blockers from the 2019 season after graduations and transfers, including AVCA Pacific North All-Region outside hitter Mima Mirkovic, who is playing with the Cal beach volleyball program this spring.
The Bruins (2-0, 2-0 Pac-12) were led by a match-high 11 kills and five digs from 2019 Pac-12 Player of the Year Mac May.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Bears jumped out to an early 5-3 lead in the first, propelled by a double block from sophomore Sydney Lilomaiava and freshman Lydia Grote. UCLA went on an 8-1 run from there to take an 11-6 advantage on a kill by Elan McCall. Cal battled back to within one (15-14) on kills from Grote and Taumoepeau but couldn't sustain it down the stretch as UCLA took the opener.
Using a kill from Taumoepeau, followed by a finish from Lilomaiava, the Bears stayed even with the Bruins to start the second frame. UCLA used another run to take an 11-7 lead that forced a Cal timeout after a Bruin service ace. Cal used a 6-2 run of its own to pull within 19-17 on a kill from Bergmark and service ace from Gruszczynski before four consecutive Bruin points put the set out of reach.
Cal wouldn't go away in the third and Potter found space for a tap kill that made it a one-point UCLA lead. The Bears trailed 14-13 until another four-point Bruin run forced a Cal timeout. A solo block from Bergmark followed kills from Taumoepeau and Grote brought Cal within two, but UCLA scored the final four points of the set.
Cal returns to Berkeley for the home-opener and a two-match weekend against No. 10 Utah. First serve will be at 6 p.m. PT on Friday, Jan. 29 against the Utes inside Haas Pavilion.