Cal Splits Saturday Doubleheader In Arizona
TUCSON, ARIZONA – No. 11 California beach volleyball split a Saturday doubleheader at the Pac-12 South Tournament. The Bears fell to No. 4 UCLA in the morning matchup, but responded with a hard-fought win over Washington in the afternoon. The Bears had to come back after falling in the first set on three courts vs. Washington, but they fought back to earn the team's seventh straight win over Washington.
The Bears moved their record to 6-3 in the 2021 season. The will take on Oregon (8 a.m. PT) and Utah (11:30 a.m. PT) tomorrow on Pac-12 Bay Area.
UCLA 5, CAL 0
UCLA jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. The Bears fought hard, but were unable to claim a win in a dual match between top 12 teams. The fourth-ranked Bruins won 5-0 in the early morning bout.
Court two featured the best matchup of the morning as Mima Mirkovic and Caroline Schafer mounted a comeback against Abby Van Winkle and Lea Monkhouse. The UCLA duo took a 21-18 win in the first set and were leading 18-14 in the second set. However, Cal scored five straight points with Mirkovic serving to take a 19-18 lead, punctuated by an athletic block by Schafer to knot the score at 18. Mirkovic tied the score at 20 with an athletic dig followed by a big kill. However, the Bears were undone as a UCLA shot clipped the net and fell followed by an attacking error, gave the Bruins the second set at 22-20.
CAL 3, WASHINGTON 2
After the first match of the day, interim head coach Derek Olson switched up the top two pairs. Putting MIrkovic and Schafer in the top spot and sliding Polo and Radell to the second spot. That worked as both pairs scored straight set victories vs. Washington.
After falling behind early, the Cal duo was able to mount a strategic change in the first set to combat the Huskies' block. That helped Cal mount a comeback and win, 21-17, as Schafer the set with a block at the net. The duo rolled in the second set, claiming a 21-12 victory for the Bears' first point of the day.
On court two, Polo and Radell claimed a decisive first set win, 21-9. With the score tied at four, Polo had an ace. Polo then saved a couple of points on a long rally, ending it with a kill. Radell followed with a block to take the lead. Washington tried to mount a comeback late in the set, but the Bears were able to maintain their advantage and won 21-19.
Cal lost the first set on three courts, but the Bears battled back as they forced third sets on both courts three and five. Francesca Gettings and Grace Paulson, playing together for the first time today, were able to turn around their match on court five. Today, was Gettings' first career matches and only the second day that Paulson has played. The duo fell, 21-16, in the first set, but rebounded in the second set, 21-14. That set up a crucial third set, but the Cal duo didn't have a problem as they jumped out to a 9-3 advantage, capped by a Gettings' cut shot that hit the line. The Bears claimed the set, the dual and the match, 15-9.
"I think that we knew going into this week that we would be pushed, that we would be challenged," Olson said. "We have 11 healthy bodies right now and we're asking a lot of different things from a lot of different players; players are having to step up and play different positions than they are used to and they're partnering with players they haven't played with before. I was really proud of our team to come back and beat Washington. Grace and Frenchy clinching it at the fives was huge."
UCLA 5, CAL 0
#1 – Savvy Simmo/Lexy Denaburg (UCLA) def. Ainsley Radell/Jordan Polo (CAL) – 21-13, 21-12
#2 – Abby Van Winkle/Lea Monkhouse (UCLA) def. Mima Mirkovic/Caroline Schafer (CAL) – 21-18, 22-20
#3 – Devon Newbury/Lindsey Sparks (UCLA) def. Alexia Inman/Maddie Micheletti (CAL) – 21-15, 21-12
#4 – Megan Muret/Jacqueline Quade (UCLA) def. Katie Smoot/Brooke Buchner (CAL) – 21-15, 21-16
#5 – Rileigh Powers/Jaden Whitmarsh (UCLA) def. Francesca Gettings/Grace Paulson (CAL) – 21-12, 21-15
Order of Finish – 1, 4, 3, 5, 2
CAL 3, WASHINGTON 2
#1 – Mima Mirkovic/Caroline Schafer (CAL) def. Shayne McPherson/Chloe Loreen (UW) – 21-17, 21-12
#2 – Ainsley Radell/Jordan Polo (CAL) def. Natalie Robinson/Scarlett Dahl (UW) – 21-9, 21-19
#3 – Kyra Petersen/Ashley Shook (UW) def. Alexia Inman/Maddie Micheletti (CAL) – 21-16, 9-21, 15-10
#4 – Avie Niece/Hannah Yerex (UW) def. Katie Smoot/Brooke Buchner (CAL) – 21-10, 21-13
#5 – Francesca Gettings/Grace Paulson (CAL) def. Cassidy Schilling/Callie Weber (UW) – 16-21, 21-14, 15-9
Order of Finish – 4, 1, 2, 5, 3