Cal Splits Matchups With Ranked Opponents
STANFORD – No. 12 California beach volleyball split their opening two matches on Saturday afternoon at the Pac-12/WCC Challenge. The Bears defeated No. 11 Pepperdine by a convincing, 4-1, margin. However, the Bears lost to No. 10 Stanford, 3-2, in their finale at the Stanford Beach Volleyball Courts.
#12 CAL 4, #11 PEPPERDINE 1
The Bears carried their momentum from last weekend's win over Stanford into the first match of the Pac-12/WCC Challenge vs. Pepperdine as the Bears won 4-1.
Cal got started quickly as they won both matches of the early flight on courts two and four. The game ended on court two on a great play from Ainsley Radell. She backed off the net for the Pepperdine attack and got her hands up to recover on a smashed ball. Radell's defense knocked the ball back over the net and she clipped the tape to score the 21st point for the Bears and clinch the first point of the afternoon.
The Bears took a 2-0 lead on court four, but it took three sets for Maddie Micheletti and Maya Gessner. Cal won the first set 21-10, but Pepperdine escaped in the second set to win 21-19. In the third set, Cal was able to get to 12-10 and Micheletti put the game away as she scored the final three Cal points. The senior made it 13-10 as she lofted a shot to the back corner. She followed with a cut shot across the net to find a space. Then, Micheletti went back to the corner with another placed shot to clinch the match.
The Bears clinched the match on the top court to go up 3-0. Mima Mirkovic and Caroline Schafer won a straight set victory over Carly Skjodt and Melanie Paul. The Bears clinched the match as Mirkovic smashed a ball that split the retreating defense.
Pepperdine secured a straight set win on court three, but the Bears responded on court five as the freshman duo of Brooke Buchner and Ava Mann mounted a comeback. After losing the first set 21-12, they responded with the opposite score in the second set. They rode that momentum into the third set as Bucher ended the match with a kill to win 15-9.
"Everybody looked like they were in a pretty good rhythm offensively," interim head coach Derek Olson said. "That might have been the best we've played all year, one through five. That's probably our most complete showing. I think we're showing that we're definitely improving and heading in the right direction."
#10 STANFORD 3, #12 CAL 2
Cal fell in an early hole vs. Stanford as the Cardinal won matches on courts two and four during the first flight of action.
The Cardinal claimed a win on court four with a straight set victory by Amelia Smith and Emmy Sharp, 21-16, 21-16. Cal won the first set on court two as Radell and Polo claimed a 21-12 victory. However, Stanford responded with a 21-16 win in the second set. The two teams played a back-and-forth third set with neither team getting more than a one-point lead until the end of the set. The score was tied at 11, when Stanford scored three straight points. Radell pulled a point back for the Bears, but Stanford ended the match after a long rally to claim the second point.
Stanford secured the match on court five as they won 21-13, 21-18. Buchner and Mann took the match down to the wire in the second set, but they weren't able to grab the win as Stanford secured the dual.
"I thought we needed to split on the first flight in order to win, it's tough to ask for a sweep in the second flight," Olson said. "We're right there with Stanford, it just depends on the day. We've won matches against them at every single pair. I fully expect us to bounce back tomorrow and hopefully we'll get to see them again tomorrow."
The Bears got a point back on court one as they closed a straight set victory by winning four of the final six points. Mirkovic took a big swing to put the Bears up 18-15. Schafer followed with two Cal points with a powerful swing followed by a dink over the net. Mirkovic ended it with another kill to secure the 21-14, 21-17 win.
The Bears grabbed another win on court three as Alexia Inman and Grace Paulson won a decisive first set by a 21-14 scoreline. Stanford bounced back to win the second set 21-16. However, the Bears were able to recapture the momentum as they rolled to a 15-7 victory in the third set.
"We needed a win at the third pair vs. Stanford and we got the win on the fourth court vs. Pepperdine," Olson stated. "That's going to add to our confidence. Grace and Alexia haven't been playing bad, they're playing good teams. A lot of teams have difference makers at the threes. Stanford's threes are a really good team. Grace and Alexia have had good games, but they haven't had a good match. They have to keep grinding and they did that today, that was big for us to win at the threes and have that momentum heading into tomorrow."
The Bears will be back in action tomorrow as they take on Saint Mary's (CA) at 10 a.m. That match will be followed by another vs. one of today's opponents. If Cal defeats Saint Mary's in the early match, they will play Stanford at 4 p.m. However, if the Bears fall to Saint Mary's, they will take on Pepperdine at 2 p.m.
#12 CAL 4, #11 PEPPERDINE 1
#1 – Mima Mirkovic/Caroline Schafer (CAL) def. Carly Skjodt/Melanie Paul (PEP) – 21-16, 21-17
#2 – Ainsley Radell/Jordan Polo (CAL) def. Simone Priebe/Sutton Mactavish (PEP) – 21-13, 21-16
#3 – Alexis Filippone/Brooke Bauer (PEP) def. Alexia Inman/Grace Paulson (CAL) – 21-14, 21-9
#4 – Maddie Micheletti/Maya Gessner (CAL) def. Mary Sinclair/Gracie Pedersen (PEP) – 21-10, 19-21, 15-11
#5 – Brooke Buchner/Ava Mann (CAL) def. Kristine Briede/Katie Gavin (PEP) – 12-21, 21-12, 15-9
Order of Finish – 2, 4, 1, 3, 5
#10 STANFORD 3, #12 CAL 2
#1 – Mima Mirkovic/Caroline Schafer (CAL) def. Charlie Ekstron/Kate Reilly (STAN) – 21-14, 21-17
#2 – Xolani Hodel/Sunny Vollapando (STAN) def. Ainsley Radell/Jordan Polo (CAL) – 12-21, 21-16, 15-12
#3 – Alexia Inman/Grace Paulson (CAL) def. Maya Harvey/Maddi Kriz (STAN) – 21-14, 16-21, 15-7
#4 – Emmy Sharp/Amelia Smith (STAN) def. Maddie Micheletti/Maya Gessner (CAL) – 21-16, 21-16
#5 – Maddie Dailey/Jordan McKinney (STAN) def. Brooke Buchner/Ava Mann (CAL)– 21-13, 21-18
Order of Finish – 4, 2, 5, 1, 3