Bears Roast Ducks, Down Beavers to Stay Perfect

Photo: Freshman Adrienne Gehan logged seven of her 100 kills on the season this weekend. She stands at second on the team, trailing only junior Tarah Murrey, who has 225 kills.
Emma Lantos/Staff
Freshman Adrienne Gehan logged seven of her 100 kills on the season this weekend. She stands at second on the team, trailing only junior Tarah Murrey, who has 225 kills.

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Seven points - that's all it took.

Friday's match between the No. 8 Cal volleyball team and No. 11 Oregon was all but decided after just seven points.

True, nearly three sets remained, but the Ducks were never competitive, never coming close to sniffing an opportunity, much less a lead, in Cal's straight-set demolition (25-16, 25-14, 25-16) at Haas Pavilion.

"I saw in their faces, they're like, 'Wow, we weren't expecting this,'" senior setter Carli Lloyd said. "I don't think they were expecting us to come out the way we did."

By the time Oregon coach Jim Moore had called a timeout, middle hitter Shannon Hawari had recorded two kills, opposite side hitter Correy Johnson one and the Ducks were down, 6-1.

Unfortunately for Moore and Oregon, play eventually resumed.

The Bears (14-0, 4-0 in the Pac-10) picked up where they left off, with another Johnson kill and a Cal block to jump start another 6-1 run.

Moore stopped time again, but never came up with a plan to stop a defensive corps that totaled 16 blocks and 51 digs and held the Ducks (14-2, 2-2) to a .051 hitting percentage.

"(Friday) was really the first time that we have been able to play our game at a very early stage in the match and continue it straight on through with no real let-ups," coach Rich Feller said. "I think they got one or two runs of two or three points, maybe, but we never really lost that same focus and intensity."

Cal's energy level never wavered the entire match. Up by nine, Cal was still diving. Junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey dove into the Cal sideline at set point and narrowly missed an Oregon kill. Up seven in the third set, the Bears were still hustling, as three bodies fell to the floor to save passes.

On the other side of the net, Oregon never found any sort of rhythm against Cal's blocking regiment which, along with the rest of the squad, "scouted the crap out of" the Ducks, Lloyd said.

Meanwhile, Hawari and Murrey were racking up kills against a downright downtrodden Duck defense.

Murrey paced the Bears with 16 kills while Hawari most likely kept her nation-leading hitting percentage intact with nine kills and a .500 percentage.

The pair was so unstoppable that a quarter of the way through the third set, their combined 22 kills equaled the entire Oregon team's total.

However, that pinpoint execution, fierce blocking, and "legit" passing, according to Lloyd, that drove Cal to victory did not quite replicate itself against Oregon State (8-10, 1-3) the following night. Nevertheless, the result was the same, as the Bears won in straight sets (25-21, 25-18, 25-18).

"(Saturday) you saw we still have things to work on, we still have a focus game to work on," Lloyd said. "We have a lot of potential I see us going far. I think that playing the way we did against Oregon, this team could win everything."


Jonathan Kuperberg covers volleyball. Contact him at [email protected]

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