Cal Nets Win Over Dawgs

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In the last few weeks, the heart and desire of the Cal volleyball team has been questioned. But as any athlete will admit, there's only one way to answer those types of nagging doubts.


And win big.

The Bears snapped a six-match, 18-game Pac-10 losing streak Friday night by sweeping Washington 3-0 (16-14, 16-14, 15-7) in Seattle.

The night before, Cal had been shutout 3-0 by Washington State, but bounced back and managed come-from-behind victories in all three games against the Huskies. Washington (6-16, 1-13 in the Pac-10) played tough through the first part of game one, but could not finish off the Bears (10-12, 5-10 in the Pac-10). Led by freshman Heather Diers and senior Alicia Perry, Cal took the 10-2 deficit and brought it to the brink at 14-6.

At game point, the Bears found the strength and determination needed to take the next 10 consecutive points and the game.

Yet even after such a demoralizing loss, Washington did not give up, coming out strong in game two. The Huskies jumped out to an 11-4 lead and made it seem as though they had finally figured out how to beat Cal.

But again, Perry and Diers led the way. Perry added three kills and Diers tallied another to tie the game at 12-12, 13-13, and 14-14.

At this point, Washington showed why it is in dead last in the Pac-10 by committing two hitting errors in the last two plays to give Cal a 2-0 advantage.

"A couple of things helped us defeat Washington," said Cal coach Rich Feller. "We adjusted well with our blocking and defense. We were able to take advantage of what Washington was doing."

The final game exemplified the problems the Huskies had faced the entire match. After garnering a 7-4 lead, the Bears punished Washington with 11 unanswered points.

To add the icing on the cake, junior Candace McNamee hit back-to-back service aces to seal the game and the match.

With the help of Perry's 18 kills and 13 digs, the Bears offense seemed alive and thriving. Diers' eight kills and team-high .462 hitting percentage added to the offense, but her career high seven blocks showed her dominance at the net.

This victory was different from others, though, in that there were more players adding to the victory than the usual stars. Freshman Gabrielle Abernathy added 10 kills, outside hitter Leah Young added seven kills on .429 hitting, and freshman defensive specialist Jenna Grigsby tallied 11 digs.

Cal's wide-spread display of heart this weekend showed not only hope for the rest of this season, but hope for the future of Cal volleyball.

"We have been talking a lot about what games we have left and how we can still accomplish some great things," Feller said. "Our little setbacks have been just that - setbacks."

Cal next faces No. 16 Santa Clara tomorrow night at the Pat Malley Center. The Broncos have only lost one game at home and have yet to lose a home match this season. The match begins at 7 p.m.


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