Beavers Slip Past Bears

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After watching the Cal volleyball team last night, one cannot help but wonder why there was a lingering feeling of deja vu in the air.

It was probably due to the fact that Bears (10-15, 5-12 in the Pac-10) had played Oregon State earlier in the season and had the exact same final result - a tough five-game match ending in the Beavers' favor, 3-2 (13-15, 15-9, 12-15, 15-11, 11-15).

"I felt pretty good in the beginning, but we let it slip away," freshman Gabrielle Abernathy said. "We have the potential in us to be really good. We just need to play (like we did in game four) all the time."

Abernathy was one of five Cal starters who finished with double digit kills (16) and a hitting percentage above .250 (.333).

Senior outside hitter Alicia Perry led all scorers with 23 kills and 17 digs. Sophomore Leah Young chipped in 15 kills on blistering .481 hitting, and setter Candace McNamee brought the "Mac Attack" back with a triple-double - 11 kills, 41 assists, and 14 digs.

But despite the fact that Cal had a higher team hitting percentage (.297) and outblocked OSU 11-9 at the net, the Beavers improved to 16-13, 6-11 in the Pac-10 with the victory.

Game one started out with the Cal squad fired-up and ready to play, something which has not happened often this season. The Bears jumped out to a commanding 11-4 lead, pacing OSU every step of the way, including a five-side out and a six-side out stretch.

But the battling Beavers came back from a 13-9 deficit to score six consecutive points and finish Cal off, 15-13.

"Game one hurt the most," Cal head coach Rich Feller said. "We came out and played better than them. We had some of our best offensive performances, but some little tweaky things cost us."

In the second game, the Bears were up 11-5, but a 4-0 OSU run caused Feller to call a time out to regroup so as not to repeat game one. The Bears persevered and finished off the game with a 15-9 score.

Cal fell again in game three, but stayed very close, tying the game at four, seven, eight, nine, 10, and 12 points.

But in the fourth game, Cal played like a team possessed. Down two game to one and dropping the first seven points, the Bears came back to score 13 unanswered points on .455 hitting.

"Our game got better as we went on," Feller said. "We hit .342 in game three, but .455 in game four - that's ungodly."

The fifth game followed the Pac-10 rule of having a rally score when even a sideout counts as for a point. Cal dropped the final game and the match, 11-15.

"Game five was similar to game four in the way we played," freshman Simone Ortega said. "But if it wasn't for the rally score, we would have won."

Despite the tough loss, the Bears are looking at this game as a learning experience and as a way to display their attitude.

"I think it shows that we're willing to fight and play hard," Freshman Lisa Colette said. "I think it's really good that we stuck with it."


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