No. 5 Cal Opens Season with Victory Over St. John's

8/29/2008

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BERKELEY, Calif. - The No. 5 California volleyball team got the 2008 season started off on the right foot tonight with a 3-0 victory (25-14, 25-22, 25-18) over St. John's in the first day of the Cal Molten Classic at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. The Golden Bears move to 1-0 on the season while the Red Storm drop to 0-1. Cal will have the day off on Saturday (Aug. 30) before facing UC Santa Barbara in a 1 p.m. match on Sunday (Aug. 31). St. John's will meet the Gauchos in a 1 p.m. match on Saturday (Aug. 30).

"I'm very pleased with our performance tonight," said Cal head coach Rich Feller. "We'd set some goals and I think we came out and played well. We just want to get comfortable early on and then continue to build."

The Bears were led by junior outside hitter Hana Cutura's 13 kills. Cutura logged only three errors on her 23 attacks, hitting .435 for the match. Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd pushed the tempo for the Bears and notched 32 assists on the night while junior defensive specialist/libero Kristen Kathan led the way with 12 digs. Junior Mindi Wiley put down five kills and had a team-high seven total blocks (all block-assists). As a team, the Bears registered 12 total blocks.

Leading the Red Storm 19-17 in the third and final set, the Bears forced Valeria Kovaleva into three consecutive attack errors to push their advantage to 23-17. With sets going to 25 points this season, a kill by freshman outside hitter Tarah Murrey put the Bears at match-point. Lloyd set one last pass to senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck, who put a shot deep into a hole at the back of the court to give the Bears the 3-0 victory. Beck also contributed six total blocks, one solo, and two service aces.

Cal stormed out of the gate in a hurry, claiming a 25-14 victory in the first set but felt the surge of the Red Storm in the second; edging out St. John's by a 25-22 score. Cal couldn't quite pull away in the second, facing a tied score at 19-19, and leading by just one point at 23-22, but a Beck kill gave the Bears serve and the win off a Kovaleva attack error.

The Bears are back in action on Sunday (Aug. 31) against UC Santa Barbara in the final match of the Cal Molten Classic. For Gametracker and live video, please visit CalBears.com

Article courtesy of California athletics.

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