Cal Knocks Cardinal Out of Pac-12 Tourney
TUCSON, ARIZONA – Fourth-seeded California beach volleyball collected a much-needed win over third seed Stanford in an elimination contest at the Pac-12 Championship on Thursday afternoon at Bear Down Beach.
The Bears, who are sitting on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament, needed a win to boost their tournament odds and they came through with a dramatic victory over Stanford, the eighth-ranked team in the country. The win also eliminated the Cardinal from the Pac-12 Tournament and ensured that Cal finished in the top four for the fourth consecutive time.
Ava Mann and Brooke Buchner continue to improve as a duo. They were put together last weekend for the first time, but came through with a straight-set win on court four. They battled in the first set and came away with a 21-19 win, before cruising in the second set 21-15.
Stanford responded with a win on court five as Jordan McKinney and Emma Morris won by a 21-15, 23-21 scoreline.
However, the Bears were able to reclaim the lead with a victory on court one. Ana Costa and Maya Gessner secured a 21-18 win in the first set over Xolani Hodel and Kate Reilly. The second set came down to the wire, but Costa finished it with a kill to give the Bears a win 24-22. Costa and teammate Mima Mirkovic were named All-Americans earlier in the day by the AVCA. An honor shared by Thursday's losing pair, Hodel and Reilly.
On court three, Ella Dreibholz and Lexi McKeown fought relentlessly. In the first set they were down 19-16 before tying it. Although, they would go onto lose the first set 19-21. In the second set, the Cal pair trailed 20-14, but they scored an unbelievable six straight points to tie the match. They ultimately fought off eight set points, before turning it around and putting the set away at their first opportunity to win 24-22 to set up a third set.
Ainsley Radell made sure the Bears didn't need the third set on court three as she put the match away with a nicely placed ball to the back corner. That shot sealed the win for the Bears on court two as they defeated the Cardinal 21-15, 21-19.
#4 Cal 3, #3 Stanford 1
#1 – Ana Costa/Maya Gessner (Cal) def. Xolani Hodel/Kate Reilly (STAN) – 21-18, 24-22
#2 – Ashley Delgado/Ainsley Radell (Cal) def. Charlie Ekstrom/Maddi Kriz (STAN) –21-15, 21-19
#3 – Ella Dreibholz/Lexi McKeown (Cal) vs. Emmy Sharp/Taylor Wilson (STAN) – 19-21, 24-22
#4 – Ava Mann/Brooke Buchner (Cal) def. Maya Harvey/Maddie Dailey (STAN) – 21-19, 21-15
#5 – Jordan McKinney/Emma Morris (STAN) def. Natalie Martin/Alex Young-Gomez (Cal) – 21-15, 23-21
Order of finish: 4,5,1,2
The Bears will continue their run in the contenders bracket of the Pac-12 Championship tomorrow morning. Cal will start things off at 9 a.m. with an elimination contest against the winner of the matchup between Arizona and Arizona State, which will take place later in the day Thursday. If the Bears can win that, they will go to the semifinals, where they will play the loser of the other semifinal between USC and UCLA at 11 a.m. A win in that match will see the Bears in the final, slated for 2 p.m. tomorrow. All of tomorrow's matches will be streamed on the Pac-12 Network.
For complete coverage of Cal beach volleyball, please follow the Bears on Twitter (@CalBeachVB), Instagram (@CalBeachVB) and Facebook (/CalBeachVolleyball/).