Virginia Falls To No. 1 Cal, 3-0
CHARLOTTESVILLE – The Virginia volleyball team fell to the nation’s top-ranked team, California, 3-0 (29-31, 14-25, 11-25), Friday night (Sept. 2) at Memorial Gymnasium. The match wrapped up day one of the Holiday Inn Jefferson Cup, hosted by the Cavaliers.
California remained undefeated and improved to 5-0 on the year, while the Cavaliers’ record went to 3-2.
In the first set, the Cavaliers fed off the energy of the homecourt crowd and built a 14-11 lead after a kill by junior Tobi Farrar. The Golden Bears fought back and tied the game at 16-16 on a block by Shannon Hawari, but Virginia battled right back and took a 19-17 lead on a service ace by junior Beth Wildermuth.
From that point, the teams were truly neck-and-neck as there was a tie score at every point from 21-21 to 29-29. Needing to win by two points and with the score knotted at 29 all, the top-ranked Bears got back-to-back kills from Correy Johnson and Tarah Murray to end the set.
Janowski registered six kills in that opening set, while Farrar added five and the Cavaliers both out-blocked (4-3) and had more digs (24-23) than the Golden Bears.
“Both teams played very well in the first set,” Virginia head coach Lee Maes said. “Both teams were competing so hard, and it was so close. It came down to who could make that last play, and Cal certainly did.”
In sets two and three, California took advantage of .462 and .357 hitting percentages, respectively, and was able to put away the Cavaliers.
Janowski led her team with nine kills on the night, while libero Emily Rottman tied for the match-high with 16 digs.
At setter, Wildermuth had 28 assists, seven digs and a block.
Asque was also an offensive weapon, finishing with seven kills and an ace. Farrar added eight kills and a block for UVa.
For Virginia, it was the first time in school history the volleyball program was facing the No. 1-ranked team in the country.
“The biggest thing that transpired after the first set was Cal’s ability to consistently keep their composure and limit their errors,” Maes said. “Cal does a great job of maintaining ball control and limiting unforced errors, and they compete for every single point because of that. It’s a great lesson for us to learn, and it’s one we’ve been trying to teach and instill since preseason training. Right now, because of the level of experience and level of execution that Cal has, we know what we can get to.”
California was led by Adrienne Gehan (15 kills, three blocks), Tarah Murray (13 kills, 16 digs) and Robin Rostratter (14 digs).
In the first match of the evening session, Long Island defeated East Carolina, 3-1 (12-25, 25-20, 25-14, 25-21).
The Holiday Inn Jefferson Cup continues Saturday (Sept. 3) with matches at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. In the first match of the day, East Carolina and California square off, followed by Virginia vs. Long Island.