No. 4 California Falls in Three Set Upset to No. 11 Minnesota

9/12/2008

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The No. 4-ranked California volleyball team (5-1, 0-0 Pac-10) had its five-match winning streak put to an end in a 3-0 upset sweep (25-21, 25-20, 25-23) by the host team, No. 11 Minnesota (6-1, 0-0 Big Ten) at the Sports Pavilion on the first night of the 2008 Diet Coke Classic Volleyball Tournament.

The Golden Bears were held to a .124 attack percentage (42k, 27e, 121att) and got out-blocked by the Golden Gophers, 12-4. Minnesota exacted revenge for a 3-0 loss to the Bears a year ago in the Golden Bear Invitational.

Junior outside hitter Hana Cutura's double-double performance (14 kills and 12 digs) was for naught as the Bears exhibited some frustration with the Gopher block, with three players logging negative attack percentages. Cal hung close in each set but was unable to overcome sound Gopher defense. Despite the loss, several Bears registered season-high marks statistically. Senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon had a season-high 10 kills and a career-high 30 attacks, hitting .233 for the match (3e). Junior defensive specialist/libero Kristen Kathan put up a season-high 16 digs to help keep the Bear attack afloat and sophomore setter Carli Lloyd had a season-high five kills (1e, 12att, .333). On the other side of the net, Minnesota sophomore middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer had 11 kills to lead the Gophers and hit .450, registering just two errors on 20 attacks.

Solomon teamed up with fellow senior Kat Reilly for a big block to put the Bears up 21-19 in the third set but that two-point lead quickly turned into a two-point deficit as the Gophers ripped off a four-point run on the backs of kills by senior outside hitter Kyla Roehrig and senior setter Rachel Hartmann. Solomon got one more kill and Minnesota committed an attack error to give the Bears two more points in the set but that was not enough to hold off a Gopher charge that culminated with a kill shot by sophomore outside hitter Brook Dieter. Although each team had 14 kills in the third set, the Gophers held Cal to a .132 hitting percentage (9e, 38att) and capitalized on several errors to finish off the match.

Aside from being down 1-0 to open up, the Gophers led almost the entire second set. Cal was able to tie things up at 10 points apiece when senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck put a kill off the Minnesota block attempt but the Bears were unable to get closer than within a single point the rest of the way. The Gophers dug up 14 Cal attacks and forced 10 errors to hold the Bears' attack percentage to just .116 in the set (15K, 43att).

The Bears got off to a quick start in the opening set, getting out to a 4-1 lead on a couple of Cutura kills but the Gophers came right back to tie the score at five points each. The score would end up tied on 10 occasions in the first stanza, the last of which had Cal and Minnesota knotted up at 17 points. A kill by Solomon put Cal within one point at 20-19 but the Gophers would go on to outscore the Bears 5-2 in a stretch riddled by Cal errors to take a one set to none lead.

The Bears take on Notre Dame (3-4, 0-0 Big East) tomorrow (Sept. 13) in a 5 p.m. CT match. The Fighting Irish fell to No. 16 Cal Poly (5-2, 0-0 Big West) in a 3-1 match (25-20, 25-16, 19-25, 25-21) earlier today. Cal holds a 2-1 edge all-time over Notre Dame, last defeating the Irish in a 3-2 come-from-behind victory at Santa Clara, Calif. last season. In that match, the Bears fell behind 2-0 before staging a comeback by winning the third set 30-28. Tied at nine points each in the fifth and deciding set, the Bears took off on a 6-2 run to seal the deal.

Article courtesy of California athletics.

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