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Bears rally to beat UW

By Tim Haran Daily Planet Correspondent
Saturday October 07, 2000

Coming on strong after a tepid first game, Cal women’s volleyball team rallied to win the next three as the Bears defeated the University of Washington at RSF Fieldhouse Friday, 14-16, 15-9, 13-15 and 15-5. 

Digging themselves a deep hole in the first game, the Bears rattled off eight straight points on its way to a 14-11 lead. After a kill by Gabrielle Abernathy gave the Bears a side out, Washington strung together five points to close out the game and take a 1-0 lead in the match.  

“We came in knowing that they were a team close to our caliber of play,” said Cal senior Alicia Perry. “We definitely could have played better.” 

The Bears had a 7-4 lead in game two when Cal assist leader Candace McNamee twisted her ankle. McNamee hobbled off the court with trainer assistance and didn’t return to the lineup. On crutches after the match, she said her ankle was sprained and swollen, but she’s not thinking of it as a serious injury.  

“Not too many teams can lose a starter, come back in game three with a completely different lineup and play as well as we did,” said Cal coach Rich Feller. “It took us a while to get our momentum, but Caity (Noonan) responded well.” 

Several Cal players stepped up after Feller was forced to shuffle his lineup midway through the second game. Sophomore Reena Pardiwala connected on 14 kills and posted a match-high .565 hitting percentage. Abernathy’s match-high 29 kills were coupled with 10 digs. 

In addition to Perry’s 26 kills, she added 30 digs, two shy of a Cal school record. 

“We focused on our side of the net,” Perry said, “I think we really pulled together as a team tonight.” 

Still, the Bears started the third game in the same sluggish way that they began the first two. Falling behind 8-2, Cal once again rallied to win 13 of the next 18 points and defeated the Huskies on an Abernathy serve. 

“We just weren’t good at closing out tonight,” Feller said after watching his team blow numerous game points in the first three games of the match. “I got on them in our pre-game talk and told them they weren’t serious enough.” 

The Bears got serious in the fourth and final game. Cal never trailed, jumping out to a 7-3 lead and scoring seven of the game’s final nine points. 

Cal committed only two errors in the final game, compared to Washington’s 10. 

Cal improves to 7-6 overall and 3-4 in the Pac-10 while the Huskies fall to 4-9 overall and are 0-6 in conference play. 

Cal faces Washington State University Saturday at 7 p.m. at the RSF Fieldhouse. Feller said McNamee probably won’t play and that it will require more lineup shuffling. He added that last year against the Washington teams, Cal used Perry as a setter. 

“If we’re struggling, we might try that again,” he said. “It’s probably a better option for us not to change too many things, though.”