Cal Drops A Pair Of Heartbreakers
STANFORD – No. 9 California beach volleyball dropped a pair of matches on Saturday afternoon at the Stanford Beach Volleyball Stadium. Cal lost to No. 5 Cal Poly by a 3-2 margin after one of the Bears' pairs had to withdraw due to injury. After switching up their pairs for the second match, Cal lost a tough 3-2 contest against No. 12 Stanford that came down to the very last swing of the ball.
"We're right there as a team, we're pretty evenly matched with both of those teams," interim head coach Derek Olson said. "Unfortunately, we won't play Cal Poly again, but we play Stanford a few more times and we're really looking forward to that next opportunity."
CAL POLY 3, CAL 2
Cal went down early as freshman Maya Gessner was injured in warmups. She tried to play through the pain, but Cal had to withdraw and forfeit the match with the score at 6-6. Because of the forfeit, the Bears officially lost the match 21-6, 21-0.
Ainsley Radell and Jordan Polo dropped the first set 21-17 to Cal Poly's second pair, but the Bears bounced back in the second, winning 21-19 and forcing a decisive third set. However, the Cal Poly pair of Amy Ozee and Jayelin Lombard pulled out the third set 15-7.
The Bears went into the second flight trailing 2-0, however they mounted a comeback as Mima Mirkovic and Caroline Schafer won a convincing victory over Emily Sonny and Macy Gordon by a 21-14, 21-16 score.
The Bears then saw the freshman combination on court five pull out a thrilling three-set victory. Brooke Buchner and Ava Mann dropped the first set, 16-21. The duo fought back, taking the second set 22-20. They then finished off the comeback with a 15-13 third set win for the Bears second victory.
However, Cal Poly pulled out the win on court three as they won 21-19, 21-18.
"It was a frustrating day, because you have to forfeit the first matchup and then shake up your lineup in the second," Olson said. "I thought we had a good opportunity to win both matches at the fours, but Maya's injury was unfortunate and really cost us."
STANFORD 3, CAL 2
In the second match of the afternoon, the match came down to an epic second set on the top court. With the match tied at two and having lost the first set, Mirkovic and Schafer had to battle back multiple times. Stanford stormed the court thinking they had won, but a Stanford shot went just wide. Ultimately, Stanford was able to get a block at the net to secure the second set, 30-28.
"The ones played their best match of the year vs. Cal Poly," Olson said. "They were on fire. I thought we came out flat against Stanford on that court. They got us in serve receive trouble early on and took that one. The second set, we were down big, but somehow rallied to even tie it at the end. We had them on the ropes a couple times. We were up set point and they free balled it back and it trickled over the net. That was a summary of the day. We were fighting and clawing and something out of our control goes against us."
The Bears scored a win at the second pair earlier in the match as Radell and Polo fought back from a first set setback. After falling 21-15 in the first, Radell and Polo won 21-14 and 15-12 over the final two sets to put the Bears on the board.
For the second time on Saturday, Cal's freshman duo of Buchner and Mann came through in the clutch. They won 21-17, 21-14 at the fifth pair to even up the match at two apiece, setting up the dramatic conclusion on court one.
"Brooke and Ava are unfazed, both those girls are legit freshman," Olson said. "They are going to be really good for us for the next four years. I am excited to see where they go from here. Each win is going to give them more confidence, we have a really good fives team."
The Bears will be back in action on Tuesday afternoon as they take a quick trip to Moraga for a matchup with Saint Mary's (CA) at 4 p.m. PT.
CAL POLY 3, CAL 2
#1 – Mima Mirkovic/Caroline Schafer (CAL) def. Emily Sonny/Macy Gordon (CP) – 21-14, 21-16
#2 – Amy Ozee/Jayelin Lombard (CP) def. Ainsley Radell/Jordan Polo (CAL) – 21-17, 19-21, 15-7
#3 – Mariah Whalen/Tia Miric (CP) def. Alexia Inman/Maddie Micheletti (CAL) – 21-19, 21-18
#4 – Sam Strah/Eleonore Johansen (CP) def. Kate Bierly/Maya Gessner (CAL) – Forfeit (21-6, 21-0)
#5 – Brooke Buchner/Ava Mann (CAL) def. Delaney Peranich/Kalee Graff (CP) – 16-21, 22-20, 15-13
Order of Finish – 4, 2, 3, 1, 5
STANFORD 3, CAL 2
#1 – Charlie Ekstrom/Sunny Villapando (STAN) def. Mima Mirkovic/Caroline Schafer (CAL) – 21-14, 30-28
#2 – Ainsley Radell/Jordan Polo (CAL) def. Xolani Hodel/Kate Reilly (STAN) – 15-21, 21-14, 15-12
#3 – Maddi Kriz/Maya Harvey (STAN) def. Alexia Inman/Grace Paulson (CAL) – 21-12, 21-13
#4 – Maddie Dailey/Jordan McKinney (STAN) def. Kate Bierly/Maddie Micheletti (CAL) – 21-18, 21-19
#5 – Brooke Buchner/Ava Mann (CAL) def. Emmy Sharp/Amelia Smith (STAN) – 21-17, 21-14
Order of Finish – 4, 2, 3, 5, 1