After a three-set loss to No. 2 Stanford Friday, the women’s volleyball team returned to Galen Center Sunday to edge out Cal in a four-set thriller (35-33, 25-20, 18-25, 25-14).
The first set against Cal was a battle, setting the tone for the rest of the game.
The two teams exchanged points for the majority of the match, with neither team pulling far enough ahead. The first set was tied 24 different times, but a Trojan ace from senior libero Victoria Garrick after a kill by junior outside hitter Khalia Lanier brought the set to an end at 35-33.
“A lot of the time when we’re up in games, teams usually come back,” Lanier said after the match. “The first set was kind of a testament to that, but I’m happy that we did pull it out and stick in there.”
Head coach Brent Crouch commended his team for siding well during the first set.
“Then we were competing with [Cal] well, and that’s the part that stayed the same with the exception of the beginning,” Crouch said.
The second set started out similarly, but would end much sooner than the last.
When USC was only holding a 1-point lead at 15-14, the Golden Bears committed three errors in a row to give the Trojans the advantage they needed to finish the set 25-20.
Crouch attributed the Trojans’ second set success to a Cal coaching mistake.
“Their best server is [sophomore setter Isabel Potter] and she usually starts the game serving,” Crouch said. “They had her serve last in the rotation in the second set. They usually score points when she’s serving, so we just were able to get a lead and maintain it.”
While Cal seemed to lose steam at the end of the second set, the team came out of the locker room with new energy that translated into a 7-0 run.
The Trojans played from behind the entire set. Ultimately, the Bears finished the set at 25-18 and forced the Trojans to play another set.
“The energy tonight was really good,” Lanier said. “We really did work on announcing ourselves, which was [Crouch]’s phrase this week. I think we did a good job with … establishing a team chemistry out of the gate.”
Despite losing to Stanford on Friday, the Women of Troy finished out the weekend strong.
The team looks to improve its 8-4 conference record on the road against No. 16 Oregon on Friday and Oregon State Sunday.