Cal Finishes SLO Invitational Undefeated
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA – No. 10 California beach volleyball won three matches for the second consecutive day, including another ranked victory on Monday at the SLO Invitational on the campus of Cal Poly. The Bears opened the day by defeating No. 12 Cal Poly, 4-1, then collected 5-0 wins over both Houston Baptist and Santa Clara to finish the weekend undefeated.
No. 10 Cal 4, No. 12 Cal Poly 1
The Bears began Monday's action with a convincing 4-1 win over the hosts, No. 12 Cal Poly. It was Cal's second ranked win of the SLO Invitational after defeating No. 18 Pepperdine yesterday.
The Bears won on court four to open the match. The teams were tied at 20, but Lexi McKeown and Ella Dreibholz scored the next two points to take the first set. They followed that with a 21-15 win in the second set. Maya Gessner and Natalie Martin also secured a straight set win on court five as they won 21-15, 21-17.
Cal clinched the match on court two as Ava Mann and Ainsley Radell were extended in the first set. The teams were also tied at 20, but the Bears won four of the next six points and clinched the set 24-22 before rolling to a 21-15 win in the second set.
After a 21-12 victory in the first set, Cal's top pair of Mima Mirkovic and Ana Costa dropped the second set 21-19. However, they were able to claim a tightly contested third set 15-13 to make the score 4-0.
The Mustangs picked up their only point of the match on court three as Peyton Dueck and Addison Hermstad won for Cal Poly. Dueck is the younger sister of Madison Dueck, who played for Cal from 2017-2020 and collected 50 individual wins for the Bears.
#1 - Ana Costa/Mima Mirkovic (Cal) def. Tia Miric/Ella Connor (CP) – 21-12, 19-21, 15-13
#2 - Ava Mann/Ainsley Radell (Cal) def. Jayelin Lombard/Piper Ferch (CP) – 24-22, 21-15
#3 - Peyton Dueck/Addison Hermstad (CP) def. Brooke Buchner/Ashley Delgado (Cal) – 21-18, 17-21, 15-9
#4 - Ella Dreibholz/Lexi McKeown (Cal) def. Vanessa Roscoe/Josie Ulrich (CP) – 22-20, 21-15
#5 - Maya Gessner/Natalie Martin (Cal) def. Sam Strah/Delaney Peranich (CP) – 21-15, 21-17
Order of finish: 4,5,3,1,2
No. 10 Cal 5, Houston Baptist 0
In the first-ever meeting between Cal and Houston Baptist, the Bears came away with a 5-0 win.
McKeown and Dreibholz played at court three instead of their normal fourth pair position, and the duo was dominant. They won the first set 21-12 and followed that with a 21-10 win in the second set to score the first point of the match. Also playing up a pair, Natalie Martin and Maya Gessner won on court four. Cal's normal fifth pair won 21-16, but that was nothing compared to their second set. Cal jumped on top early and pulled away with a 21-7 victory to collect the second point.
The Bears secured the match on court two for the second time on Monday as Radell and Mann won in straight sets, 21-13, 21-15. Stepping into the lineup on court five, Kate Bierly and Alex Young-Gomez won for the second straight day. The Cal pair also defeated Southern Miss yesterday, and they returned to the sand today to win 21-19, 21-16.
Ella Sears stepped into the lineup on the top pair as she replaced Mima Mirkovic for the second match. Sears and Costa won 21-16 in the first set, but dropped the second set 19-21. In the third set, the teams split the first eight points, but Cal won eight of the next 12 points on the way to a 15-11 victory to wrap up the sweep.
#1 - Ana Costa/Ella Sears (Cal) def. Lauren Higgins/Alison Stanfill (HBU) – 21-16, 19-21, 15-11
#2 - Ainsley Radell/Ava Mann (Cal) def. Maddie Butters/Brennan Williams (HBU) – 21-13, 21-15
#3 – Lexi McKeown/Ella Dreibholz (Cal) def. Lindsay Harris/Kristen Kleymeyer (HBU) – 21-12, 21-10
#4 - Natalie Martin/Maya Gessner (Cal) def. Gaby Axelrod/Shelby O'Neal (HBU) – 21-16, 21-7
#5 - Kate Bierly/Alex Young-Gomez (Cal) def. Mary Alper/Abbey Reinard (HBU) – 21-19, 21-16
Order of finish: 3,4,2,5,1
No. 10 Cal 5, Santa Clara 0
The Bears used their third different lineup in as many matches on Monday, but it didn't make a difference as the Bears recorded straight set wins at four positions and defeated Santa Clara, 5-0.
On court four, Gessner and Martin closed the first set on an 8-2 run to win 21-10. They went on to secure the first point of the match as they won the second set 21-15. Bierly and Young-Gomez closed the first set on a 9-1 run as they won 21-12. They used that momentum to start the second set strongly, winning 21-16.
The Bears captured the match on the top court as Costa and Radell teamed together for the first time this year. The pair won 21-17, 21-14 over a Santa Clara pair that won vs. No. 16 Arizona earlier in the day.
Dreibholz and McKeown moved to 5-0 on the weekend with a straight set victory on court three. The Cal pair won 21-10 in the first set and 21-13 in the second set to claim the win and put Cal up 4-0.
On court two, the Cal pair of Ella Sears and Grace Paulson faced a friendly face as Nicole Robinson teamed with Cal alum Alexia Inman. Inman played four seasons with the Bears and ranks fifth all-time in wins with 64 in her Cal career. She graduated last year and is playing her graduate season at Santa Clara. The Bears duo, who was seeing their first action as a tandem this year, won the first set 21-19, but Inman and Robinson responded with a 21-14 win in the second set. They played a tightly contested third set as Cal led 8-7 at the technical timeout, but the Bears pulled away and won 15-12 to clinch the sweep.
#1 - Ana Costa/Ainsley Radell (Cal) def. Julia Sangiacomo/Michelle Shaffer (SCU) – 21-17, 21-14
#2 – Ella Sears/Grace Paulson (Cal) def. Alexia Inman/Nicole Robinson (SCU) – 21-19, 14-21, 15-12
#3 - Ella Dreibholz/Lexi McKeown (Cal) def. Sophia Tulino/Casey Campbell (SCU) – 21-10, 21-13
#4 - Maya Gessner/Natalie Martin (Cal) def. Elena Radeff/Alexie Epstein (SCU) – 21-10, 21-15
#5 - Kate Bierly/Alex Young-Gomez (Cal) def. Jordan Bennett/Alexia Gallegos (SCU) – 21-12, 21-16
Order of finish: 4,5,1,3,2
The Bears will head to Arizona for the Pac-12 South Invitational next weekend at Bear Down Beach. Cal will take on Arizona State and Arizona on Saturday, followed by a Sunday doubleheader vs. Washington and Oregon.
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