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Cal Fights, But Falls To LSU

May 4, 2022

GULF SHORES, ALABAMA No. 11 seed Cal beach volleyball's season came to an end on Wednesday morning as the Bears fell, 3-2, in the first round of the NCAA Championship.
The loss eliminated the Bears from the NCAA Championship, as the tournament will move from single to  double elimination after the first round.
"I'm really proud of this team and what we accomplished this season," head coach Meagan Owusu said. "Losing a battle like this stings, but we fought until the bitter end. I am really proud of how we showed up today and it really could've gone either way. I'm grateful to this entire team, especially the seniors they left a legacy and we'll be referring back to things they've taught us for years to come."
LSU took the first point of the dual with a straight set win on court four as Grace Seits and Ellie Shank defeated Ava Mann and Brooke Buchner, 21-12, 21-14.
The Bears responded on court one as Ana Costa and Maya Gessner won 21-18, 21-15 in straight sets. Costa was wearing an armband emblazoned with former partner Mima Mirkovic's number 34 and initials. The duo took the back-and-forth first set by a three-point margin, before running out with a six-point win in the second set.
LSU retook the lead on court three with a 21-19, 21-18 win. Lexi McKeown and Ella Dreibholz battled in both sets, not letting LSU extend their small lead. Ultimately, the Tigers came out on top in the first two sets as they took a 2-1 lead.
On court two, the Bears won the first set winning 21-18 scoring the last couple points to secure the match. LSU fought back in the second set to win 21-15 to force a decisive third set. With the match tied at 13 in the third set, Ainsley Radell and Ashley Delgado won a long rally, with a couple of diving digs to keep the point alive, before Radell found the sand with a shot down the line. The Bears scored the next point to win the match and tie it at two.
The match came down to court five where the Bears battled. Natalie Martin and Alex Young-Gomez won the first set 24-22. The second set was also close, but LSU pulled it out 21-17 to force a decisive third set on court five to decide the match. LSU jumped in front early and was able to win 15-6 to finish the match.
With the loss, the 2022 season comes to an end for the Bears. Cal finished the season 26-14, setting a school record for total wins at 26. Cal entered the championship with the 11 seed and finished in the top 12 for the fifth consecutive season. The Bears also finished third at the Pac-12 Championship, recording a fourth straight top-four finish.   
Cal has had a fantastic season as McKeown and Dreibholz have teamed up to win 23 matches this year, a mark that is tied for second in school history for most wins in a season. AVCA Second Team All-American Costa and Gessner were teamed together after All-American, Mima Mirkovic was injured in late March. Since Gessner and Costa have been teamed together, they have recorded five victories over top-10 opponents. Additionally, Radell became the 10th player in school history to record 50 wins earlier this season. 
#6 LSU 3, #11 Cal 2
#1 – Ana Costa/Maya Gessner (Cal) def. Bella Bauman/Parker Bracken (LSU) – 21-18, 21-15
#2 – Ashley Delgado/Ainsley Radell (Cal) def. Kylie Deberg/Kelli Agnew (LSU) – 21-18, 15-21, 15-13
#3 – Holly Carlton/Reilly Allred (LSU) def. Ella Dreibholz/Lexi McKeown (Cal) – 21-19, 21-18
#4 – Grace Seits/Ellie Shank (LSU) def. Ava Mann/Brooke Buchner (Cal) – 21-12, 21-14
#5 – Sierra Caffo/Ashlyn Rasnick-Pope (LSU) def. Natalie Martin/Alex Young-Gomez (Cal) – 22-24, 21-17, 15-6
Order of Finish: 4,1,3,2,5
For complete coverage of Cal beach volleyball, please follow the Bears on Twitter (@CalBeachVB), Instagram (@CalBeachVB) and Facebook (/CalBeachVolleyball/).