Bears Post Ten Blocks In Friday Night Nailbiter
TEMPE, ARIZ. – California volleyball (7-10, 0-7 Pac-12) put together yet another competitive outing on Friday evening, taking on Arizona State (9-10, 3-4 Pac-12) in a ferocious battle that thrilled the crowd at Desert Financial Arena. Although the Sun Devils ultimately won the match, 3-0, the score fell into the pattern that has both delighted and plagued Bears fans throughout conference play: like many other Cal matches this season, the true story and measure of this team is told through individual sets, not the final score.
The Bears returned to their top-blocking ways against ASU, posting 10.0 total stonewalls as a team that included 5 for freshman Sophie Scott and 4 for classmate Mikayla Hayden. Fellow frosh Peyton DeJardin accumulated a career-high eight digs, while sophomore Kendall Jensen collected 22 assists for Cal.
Arizona State jumped out to an early lead to start off the match and held onto it throughout the entire first set, despite Cal stringing together small scoring runs to outpace the Sun Devils at multiple points. The home team eventually took the first set, 25-14; however, they soon found, like several previous teams this season, that these Bears were no easy opponent.
In the second set, it was Cal's turn to put together an early lead, giving the visitors some leeway despite a 4-0 Arizona State response. From there, the score was tight throughout the entire set, the two teams trading points back and forth and combining for no fewer than 12 ties. Junior Lydia Grote posted 7 of her 11 total kills in this particular set, keeping things exciting for the Bears as they brought the score to 21-22; an incredible final series with top-notch defensive efforts from both sides eventually closed out the set, 25-21, in ASU's favor.
The final set of the match built upon the second set's excitement and kept fans of both teams on the edge of their seat. Arizona State scored first, but Cal once again posted a pair of scoring runs to jump ahead. From there, each team put together some of its grittiest performances to date, leading up to a late 19-19 tie. The upstart Bears took the Sun Devils to set point, leading 24-22, before the opposing squad forced yet another tie and set off a gripping series in which the two teams posted a total of 12 points. In the end, ASU reigned triumphant with a 31-29 win to close out the night, leaving Cal to look ahead to Sunday afternoon's matchup against the struggling Arizona Wildcats.
Cal will head to Tucson, Ariz., to face the Arizona Wildcats (11-7, 1-6 Pac-12), who are currently on a four-game losing streak, in a 12:00 p.m. PT matchup on Sunday, Oct. 16.