Trojans Hand Bears First Loss of 2010

Bears Narrowly Miss in Wild Five-Set Affair

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No. 8 USC handed the Cal volleyball team its first loss of the season on Saturday night at the Galen Center, 3-2 (25-19, 25-23, 23-25, 23-25, 17-15).

The Trojans (14-2, 3-2 in the Pac-10) cruised through the first set, but the No. 7 Bears (15-1, 5-1) strung together a 7-2 run to open the second frame. USC countered with a seven-point run of its own, and set the tone for the set as they prevailed by two points.

Not only did it seem certain that Cal would drop its first match, but it looked like that loss would be a sweep. The Trojans jumped out to 7-0 lead in the third set before Cal was able to get on the board with a service error. Consecutive kills from junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey brought the score to 11-13 in favor USC as the Bears mounted their comeback.

Murrey struck again with back-to-back kills to give Cal a 20-18 edge. A block of Trojan standout Alex Jupiter gave the Bears match point, which USC would fight off thrice before succumbing, 25-23.

Cal trailed in the fourth set only when the score stood at 1-2. After building an six-point lead, the Trojans battled to a 21-all tie. Freshman Adrienne Gehan posted one of her seven kills, followed by Murrey's two. Murrey would finish with a career-best 34.

With the score at 24-21, USC struck back with a kill from Katie Fuller and an ace from Jupiter to pull within one. Yet another hack from Murrey proved to be enough to force a fifth set.

The two teams exchanged points and runs during much of the fifth set, though Cal seemed to be in control. The Bears reached match point at 14-12 by Murrey's hand, but the reigning Pac-10 player of the week was blocked on her next attempt. Gehan made an attack error to tie the game.

Sophomore Correy Johnson and Jupiter exchanged kills to knot the set up at 15. Jupiter blocked sophomore Kat Brown to reach match point for USC, and then Brown ended the match with an error.

With No. 1 Stanford falling in five to No. 12 UCLA, Cal remains atop the Pac-10 with the Cardinal despite the Bear loss.


Christina Jones covers volleyball. Contact her at [email protected]

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