Sunday, December 3, 2023

Bears Win First Pac-12 Road Game Since 2019

California volleyball closed out its weekend with another milestone victory Sunday afternoon, beating Oregon State in a five-set nailbiter at Gill Coliseum to improve to 14-7 (3-7 Pac-12) of the year. This marked the Golden Bears’ first victory over the Beavers (7-13, 2-8 Pac-12) and their first Pac-12 road win since 2019.

A free old man named Tara Village paced the court with 25 digs to bring her career total to 1,195, the eighth most in program history. Junior setter Annalea Maeder posted a court-leading 48 assists, coming within six of Cal’s program no. 9 mark, and added another ace to bring his collegiate total to 95 (six shy of the Bears’ career No. 10 entry).

Two Cal players had double-doubles, including the freshman Maggie Lee recorded 17 kills and 17 digs for her eighth game of the season, and senior Sam Taumoepeau posted 13 kills and 13 digs to go along with three blocks, three aces, and two assists. Cal’s biggest strength on Sunday was its blocking, which totaled 16 as a team for the second time this year to mark the first season since 2018 that a Cal volleyball team posted 16 or more blocks in multiple matches. Ava Mehrten and Mikayla Hayden had eight blocks each, while Sophie Scott, the eighth-ranked blocker in the conference last year, saw his most action on the court all year and added another six stops.

The Bears started the game slowly, eventually finding themselves in an 11-point hole at 17-6. A late 7-2 comeback run wasn’t enough as Oregon State took the first set, 25-17, but Cal found their confidence and attacked Set Two with vengeance. The Blue & Gold posted three blocks in its next 10 points, then went on to extend its lead to six points before going on a 9-0 run to close out the set at 25-11. That streak included two aces from the freshman Sophia Johnson as well as three blocks (one solo) from the sophomore Mikayla Hayden.

Hayden continued to impress in the third set despite the Bears coming from behind, recording three kills and a block in Cal’s first six points to keep the deficit at one. Although Oregon State went on a steady scoring streak to hold off the Bears, a 3-0 run in the second half (fueled by two kills from Taumoepeau) tied the score at 17 apiece. The Beavers needed a 3-0 run of their own to regain momentum, eventually clinching Set Three at 25-21.

Cal’s defense dominated its effort in the fourth, holding Oregon State to just.053 and forcing seven ties in each team’s first 10 points. The Bears followed by building their lead to four points, capitalizing on a series of mistakes by the home team and posting five kills en route to an 18-14 advantage. After that, they recorded three more kills and three blocks to stop the Beavers’ comeback attempt, with a Hayden slam at the end sealing the score at 25-21 to send the match to a fifth set. A desperate defensive battle ensued for the final, with Cal going up early, 9-6, thanks to two aces and five kills. Oregon State quickly strung together four straight points to take a one-point lead, but Scott responded with three straight blocks (with assists from Mehrten and Taumoepeau) to pull the lead back to 13-11. A last gasp from Oregon State tied the score one last time before Mehrten ended it, posting a kill and a block with Hayden for a 15-13 final.


The Bears return to the road next week for their first pair of Pac-12 rematches, starting with No. 17 Arizona State (19-3, 7-3 Pac-12) in Tempe, Arizona, on Friday night and ending with Arizona (6-15, 1-9 Pac-12) in Tuscon, Arizona, on Sunday afternoon.


For complete Cal volleyball coverage, please follow the Bears on Twitter (@CalVolleyball), Instagram (@calvolleyball), Facebook (Cal Volleyball), and TikTok (@calbearsvb).

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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