No. 5 California Win 10th in a Row with 3-0 Sweep of Sun Devils

10/10/2008

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BERKELEY, Calif. - The No. 5-ranked California volleyball team (15-1, 5-0 Pac-10) won its 10th consecutive match tonight at Haas Pavilion, defeating Arizona State (10-7, 1-3 Pac-10) in three sets (25-16, 25-12, 25-21) to post its second-longest winning streak in school history. The Golden Bears have now won their last 26 sets, and threaten the all-time school record of 27 when they face Arizona tomorrow (Oct. 11) at 7 p.m. Cal was led tonight by junior outside hitter Hana Cutura's match-high 14 kills (6e, 28att, .286) and three service aces.

The Bears donned pink pregame warm-up jerseys and played the match with pink game-balls for Dig for the Cure night as part of the Pac-10 Conference initiative to promote Breast Cancer Awareness month. Cal also promoted volleyball defensive awareness as it came out and knocked down 46 kills on 96 attacks (14e) to attack at a .333 rate. The Bears also did a defensive number on the Sun Devils, holding Arizona State to just 21 kills in the match (two in the second set) on 86 attacks (16e) and a .058 attack percentage.

Senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon posted nine kills (1e, 20att, .400) to come in second among all players tonight. Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd dished out 31 assists and had a solid day at the net with six kills on six attacks (1.000). She also added eight digs and four blocks (one solo) to her final stat line. Junior defensive libero Kristen Kathan led all players with her match-high 14 digs. She was also one of three Bears to serve up at least two aces. Junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley got the first service ace of her career in the second set to put the Bears up 8-4, and added one more later for good measure. Cutura's three aces led all players. Cal's starting middles combined for 12 kills on 20 attacks. Wiley had six (2e, 11att) and attacked at a .364 rate while freshman Shannon Hawari also recorded six kills (1e, 9att) to attack at a .556 rate. Wiley led all players with six total blocks (one solo) and helped the Bears notch nine total team blocks on the night. Arizona State sophomore outside hitter Sarah Reaves led the Sun Devils with seven kills (6e, 29att, .034).

After trailing for the first time in the match to open the third set, the Bears roared right back and went on a 14-3 run to take a 19-9 lead. But Cal's attack stalled and allowed the Devils to pull to within three points at 24-21. Arizona State freshman middle blocker Sonja Markanovich put a serve into the net to end the set at 25-21, giving the Bears the match win. Arizona State took advantage of Cal errors and got a couple of kills from Reaves late in the match to help make its final push. Cal hit a match-low .143 in the third set with 14 kills (9e, 35att) and allowed the Sun Devils to get kills on several out-of-system plays.

The Bears never trailed in the second set after sprinting out to a 6-0 lead. Arizona State got on the board by playing defense on the Bears' opposite side attack but two consecutive kills by Hawari stopped the Devils in their tracks to give Cal the 11-4 lead. Cal continued its offensive onslaught through the midsection of the set, getting points on service aces by Cutura and Kathan. But it was the Bear defense that got the job done as Cal held the Devils to two kills with five errors on 27 attacks (-.111). Wiley rose up to knock down an overplayed ball to give the Bears their largest lead of the set at 23-10. After struggling to get two more points, Arizona State succumbed to the Cal attack when Lloyd dropped a dunk to the middle of the court off a Cutura pass to end the set 25-12.

Much like the second set, Cal never trailed in the first. After Sun Devil junior setter Marina Mercer tied the match at four-all with a kill, the Bears took the next six points out of nine. Cal stretched its lead to six at 20-14 when Wiley took a pass from sophomore defensive specialist Meagan Schmitt and knocked it down for a kill. Schmitt earned her first career assist on the play. Cal's .484 attack percentage (17k, 2e, 31att) and 82 percent side-out rate were too much to overcome for the Devils who allowed the Bears to turn an 8-3 run into a first-set win.

Cal returns to the court tomorrow night (Oct. 11) to take on Arizona in a 7 p.m. match for Youth Day. All youth 12th grade and below receive free admission to the match

Article courtesy of California athletics.

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