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Pantovic Leads Bears In Five-Set Loss To Buffs

Feb 5, 2021

BOULDER, Colo. – Katarina Pantovic notched a match-high 16 kills with nine digs, but California came up short in a hard-fought 26-24, 15-25, 10-25, 25-22, 6-15 five-set loss to Colorado Friday night at the CU Events Center. 

Pantovic returned after missing last Sunday's match with an injury and recorded her third double digit kill outing in the first four matches of her Cal career. The Bears (0-5, 0-5 Pac-12) also got 13 kills on a strong .545 attack percentage from Lydia Grote and a season-high 11 kills from Makana Meyer.     

Kendall Jensen tallied a match-best 14 digs. Jensen and Isabel Potter recorded 19 assists apiece for Cal.  

The Buffaloes (3-0, 3-0 Pac-12) were led by 14 kills each from Elissa Alcantara and Sterling Parker. 

In a hard fought first set, Cal took a 14-11 lead on an ace from Pantovic that concluded a run of five straight points for the Bears. The Buffs answered with a run of their own, scoring four straight to take a two-point advantage as Cal used its first timeout at 18-16. Meyer recorded Cal's third service ace of the opening frame to tie the set at 19 before three consecutive CU points forced the second Cal timeout. The Bears battled back once again, taking five of the next six points to reach set point and force the final Colorado timeout. Kills from Pantovic and Grote gave Cal the 26-24 win after the timeout. 

The Buffs came out fast in the second set to build an early lead, 5-1. Cal closed to within two, 7-5, on a big kill from Grote. The Bears made it a 13-10 score on a Meyer kill, but that was as close as the score would get from there as Colorado pulled away to take the frame, 25-15. It was much of the same for Colorado in the third as they jumped out to an early lead that Cal couldn't recover from. The Bears made it 10-4 on a Meyer kill and couldn't get closer the rest of the way as the Buffs took the set, 25-10. 

Cal flipped the script in the fourth, keeping it close from the first serve. The Bears turned a one-point advantage (13-12) into an 18-13 lead after scoring six of the next seven points on a couple Grote kills and a Bella Bergmark solo block. The home team made it 22-21, but two more kills from Grote and a CU error gave California the set, 25-22, tying the match 2-2. 

CU turned a 3-3 fifth set into 7-3, using another run thanks to a couple Cal errors. The Bears scored the next two points, however they couldn't get any closer as the Buffs closed out the match, 15-6. 

The Bears finish the trip to Boulder on Sunday, Feb. 7 with an 11 a.m. PT first serve inside the CU Events Center.     

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