No. 4 California Takes Five-Set Win Over No. 10 UCLA

10/24/2008

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. - California volleyball senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon celebrated a career night with 18 kills (4e, 49att, .286) to lead the Golden Bears (18-1, 8-0 Pac-10) to a five-set win over No. 10 UCLA (14-5, 4-4 Pac-10), 30-28, 22-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-13, tonight at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles. The 13th straight win for the Bears also gives them the best conference start in program history. Solomon's career-high marks in kills and attacks were just the tip of the iceberg for Cal as several players registered season or career-highs against the Bruins.

Solomon also tied a career-high with two solo blocks tonight while junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley had career-highs in kills (15) and attacks (25). Junior outside hitter Hana Cutura recorded her sixth double-double of the season as she poured in 18 kills (8e, 42att, .238) and a career-high 19 digs. Junior libero Kristen Kathan led all players with 23 digs on the night, tying her season high. Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd had a season-high 59 assists and freshman outside hitter Tarah Murrey had a career high with 37 attacks.

Solomon tagged the pink Wilson volleyball on her career-high 18th kill of the night to break the seventh tie of the fifth set, giving Cal the 9-8 lead. A kill by Wiley put Cal up 10-8; a block assist by Wiley and Cutura gave the Bears a three-point lead at 11-8 and had the Bruins on the ropes. Cutura got a kill from the right hand side of the court to claim the first match-point at 14-11. The Bruins took two more points before a kill from the opposite side by Murrey ended the fifth set 15-13 and sent UCLA to the locker room with its fourth Pac-10 loss. Save one error, the Bears had a rather flawless attack in the fifth set, with 10 kills on 19 attacks (.474). UCLA had eight kills (4e, 21att) and hit at a .190 attack rate.

The closest they had been since trailing 14-12, the Bears got to within two points at 23-21, but committed the final two errors to give UCLA the fourth set. The Bruins jumped out to a 5-2 lead but a solo block by Murrey tied the score at eight-all. Facing tied scores through 12-all, UCLA seized its final lead at 13-12 on a kill from freshman middle blocker Katie Camp and never let go. The Bears allowed the Bruins to hit at a .350 clip in the fourth, with 18 kills on 40 attacks (4e). Cal got 13 kills itself (5e, 38att) and attacked at a .211 rate.

The Bears seized a 5-1 third-set lead on the backs of three kills from Solomon and two from Murrey. Cal never trailed in the set, getting out to a five-point lead six times, the last of which came at 24-19 when a UCLA serve went beneath the net to give the Bears set point. Cal gave up the next two points before the Bruins committed the final attack error of the set to give the Bears a 2-1 set lead. Cal notched 16 kills on 35 attacks (3e, .371) and held the Bruins to a .222 attack rate on 14 kills (6e, 36att).

Cal opened up the second set on a hot streak, getting out to a 10-4 lead. However, a kill by Camp set UCLA out on a run of nine consecutive points. The Bears had 14 kills, but committed nine errors on 38 attempts to attack at a .132 rate while UCLA's 10 kills came on 29 attacks with four errors (.207). UCLA's 11-10 lead soon turned into a four-point advantage on several occasions. The Bears clawed to within one point when Wiley got up for a solo block on UCLA freshman middle blocker Amanda Gil to make the score 22-21 in UCLA's favor. Gil sought redemption and got it as she claimed three kills to end the set 25-22, forcing a one-set all tie heading into the break.

After jumping out to a 5-2 first-set lead, the Bears faltered to give up a nine-all tie when Bruin freshman middle blocker Katie Camp served up an ace. UCLA took several leads through the middle of the set as Cal fought back for five ties. Facing a three-point deficit at 20-17, the Bears pulled out a 4-1 run to tie things up at 21-all when Wiley got up for a solo block on Gil. Wiley's fourth kill of the set gave Cal set-point at 24-23 but UCLA fought back to earn its own set-point at 26-25 and again at 27-26. Freshman middle hitter Shannon Hawari and Lloyd teamed up for the block assist to tie the set again at 27. After one more tied score, the Bears took their third set-point at 29-28 when Cutura put a shot straight down the Bruin court. A UCLA setting error effectively ended the first set in Cal's favor at 30-28. The Bears hit .240 in the opening set, getting 19 kills on 50 attacks (7e) and the Bruins hit .265 with 20 kills on 49 attacks (7e).

The Bears remain in the City of Angels for a 7 p.m. bout against No. 14 USC (10-7, 3-5 Pac-10) at Galen Center tomorrow (Oct. 25). Links to live statistics via Gametracker are available at CalBears.com. Fans can pay a nominal fee for live video of the Cal vs. USC match at USCTrojans.com.

Article courtesy of California athletics.

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