Bears Keep It Competitive Against No. 19 UW
SEATTLE – California volleyball (7-14, 0-11 Pac-12) opened the second half of Pac-12 play on Friday night, hoping to kick-start a turnaround in its fortunes by putting on a good show against formidable opponent Washington (16-5, 8-3), who entered the weekend ranked No. 19 in the nation.
Friday's match also marked the final time that junior Lydia Grote and her sister, Washington senior Marin Grote, would appear on the same court in a collegiate setting. The two have faced each other six times as members of their respective teams, with the younger Grote labeling each matchup as "(her) favorite game of the year".
Ultimately, it was the Huskies who emerged victorious in Seattle, sweeping the Bears 3-0 in a highly competitive duel.
The first set was the Bears' best, as they hit .324 as a team and forced no fewer than 12 ties. Cal scored first on a Washington error and followed it up with a block from Grote and freshman Sophie Scott, then continued to keep pace with the Huskies to prevent the dreaded early deficit. All three starting freshmen – Scott, Mikayla Hayden and Peyton DeJardin – stood out by posting multiple kills apiece, while Grote and junior Leah Schmidt each slammed down two straight kills late in the set to maintain control. The Bears were the first team to 20 points and held off the surging Huskies for several minutes, but the home team ultimately took the set by a score of 27-25.
Washington built upon its momentum by putting the Bears in a 1-6 hole to start off the second set, but Cal's ever-present "never say die" attitude struck once again as the visitors crept back to eventually tie up the score at 15 apiece. Once again, Cal was the first team to 20 points; however, the Huskies pulled off a late 0-5 run to jump ahead by four, shortly afterward claiming the set, 25-22.
Cal scored first in the third set, taking advantage of a Washington error; from there, however, the Huskies picked up steam and eventually went ahead for good off an early 5-0 run. Cal threatened to come back late in the set, with two straight kills from Schmidt raising the score to 16-18, but Washington responded with a 4-0 run that included two straight service aces and quickly closed out the final set, 25-19.
The Bears will head to Pullman, Wash., to face Washington State (15-7, 7-4 Pac-12) on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 12:00 p.m. PT.