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Cal Splits Season-Opening Doubleheader

Feb 25, 2022

SANTA MONICA - California beach volleyball opened their 2022 season by splitting two matches on Friday afternoon. The 11th-ranked Bears began their season sweeping Cal State Northridge, 5-0 at the Ocean Beach Volleyball Courts. However, No. 4 LMU claimed the victory in the second match of the doubleheader as they edged the Bears, 5-0, in a hard-fought battle.
No. 11 Cal 5, CSUN 0
Ainsley Radell and Ava Mann established an early rhythm as the duo won the first set 21-15 and took a 12-9 lead at the technical timeout over the Matadors. The Bears came out of the break and put the match away as they went on a 9-3 run to win 21-12 and secure the first pairs victory of the season.
After dropping the first set 21-18, Lexi McKeown and Brooke Buchner responded in a hard-fought second set. The pair of high school All-Americans won the second set 24-22 and that momentum continued to the third set as they were able to capture a 15-9 victory and put the Bears up 2-0.
The second wave started and the Bears immediately took control of the match as the top pair of Mima Mirkovic and Ana Costa won 21-10 and the fifth pair of Ella Dreibholz and Natalie Martin won 21-9 in the first set. They both cruised to wins in the second set as the first pair won the second set 21-13 while the fifth pair won 21-11.
Maya Gessner and Ashley Delgado closed out the sweep as they won 21-17, 21-16 on court three as the Bears only dropped on set in the season opening match against the Matadors. 
#1 - Mima Mirkovic/Ana Costa (Cal) def. Darbi Honeycutt/Mikaela Maughan (CSUN) – 21-10, 21-13
#2 - Ainsley Radell/Ava Mann (Cal) def. Lauren Eknoian/Emily Sparks (CSUN) – 21-15, 21-12
#3 - Maya Gessner/Ashley Delgado (Cal) def. Abbey Sweeting/Victoria Rogers (CSUN) – 21-17, 21-16
#4 - Lexi McKeown/Brooke Buchner (Cal) def. True McCullough/Seyvion Waggoner (CSUN) – 18-21, 24-22, 15-8
#5 - Ella Dreibholz/Natalie Martin (Cal) def. Kailey Klein/Jadin Williams (CSUN) – 21-9, 21-11
No. 4 LMU 5, No. 11 Cal 0
In the first wave of the afternoon match, No. 11 Cal and No. 4 LMU battled as both the second and fourth pairs went to three sets. On court two, Radell and Mann lost the first set, but they responded with a spirited, 21-19, win in the second set. However, the LMU duo was able to win, 15-10, in the third and clinch the point.
On court four, McKeown and Buchner took the first set 22-20. However, LMU claimed wins in the second and third set by 21-18 and 15-13 margins to put the Lions up 2-0. LMU was able to ride the momentum of two three-set victories in the first wave to victory.
LMU earned straight set victories on courts one and three in the second wave. The Bears lost the first set on court five, but Dreibholz and Martin responded to win the second set, 21-19. That forced a decisive third set, but the Lion pair was able to pull out the victory, 15-8.
#1 - Reka Orsi Toth/Megan Rice (LMU) def. Mima Mirkovic/Ana Costa (Cal) 21-14, 21-19
#2 - Avery Poppinga/Marine Kinna (LMU) def. Ainsley Radell/Ava Mann (Cal) 21-17, 19-21, 15-10
#3 - Selina Marolf/Abbey Thorup (LMU) def. Maya Gessner/Ashley Delgado (Cal) 21-14,  21-17
#4 - Vilhelmiina Prihti/Macy Gordon (LMU) def. Lexi McKeown/Brooke Buchner (Cal) 22-20, 18-21, 15-13
#5 - Jacinda Ramirez/Isabelle Reffel (LMU) def. Ella Dreibholz/Natalie Martin (Cal) 21-16, 19-21, 15-8
Cal will be back in action tomorrow as they travel to Irvine for a doubleheader against Irvine Valley College and No. 15 Long Beach State. The Bears will take on IVC starting at 10 am, immediately followed by an 11 am matchup against the Beach. Both matches will take place at the Irvine Valley College Beach Volleyball Courts.
For complete coverage of Cal beach volleyball, please follow the Bears on Twitter (@CalBeachVB), Instagram (@CalBeachVB) and Facebook (/CalBeachVolleyball/).