Arizona hit .213 on the game, compared to the .162 of the Bears. The Wildcats were out-blocked 8.5-8, but notched seven service aces to California’s three.
“I knew we weren’t going to be as sharp as last night,” Head Coach David Rubio said. “I could just see before the match we weren’t as tuned in as the night before. I knew it may not be as pretty, but I wanted us to compete and get the job done.
“Our focus for tonight was to grind it out,” he continued. “Neither team played particularly well. There were a lot of missed serves and attacks for both teams. When you’re not as sharp you have to find different ways to get it done and we did that tonight. I’m proud of how we hung in and kept our eye on the ball. We didn’t get down and we stayed resilient.”
Senior Jennifer Abernathy led the team with 12 kills and nine digs, followed by junior Kristina Baum with 11 kills and eight digs. Senior Kim Glass added 10 kills and seven digs. Sophomore setter Amy Dyck dished out 35 assists, while freshman libero Brittany Leonard tallied a team-high 14 digs.
After trailing early in game one, Arizona used a 7-2 run to take a 10-5 lead. The Wildcats later led by as many as six, but Cal cut it to two, forcing an Arizona time out. The Wildcats quickly built their lead back to four and went on to win 30-24. Arizona hit .275 on the game, compared to the .163 of the Bears, but was out-blocked 4.5-2. Abernathy, Glass and senior Bre Ladd tallied four kills apiece to lead the Wildcats.
Game two started out close before the Wildcats used a 5-0 run to take a 12-8 lead. After Cal’s first time out, Arizona built its lead to nine (21-12), forcing the Bears to use their second time out. Cal came out of that time out on fire, scoring four straight points and causing Rubio to call a time out of his own. The Bears got as close as two, but the Wildcats pulled off the 30-27 win. Arizona hit .205 on the game and held Cal to just .100. Baum led the Wildcats with five kills on the game.
After Arizona scored the first point in game three, Cal rattled off four straight points to go up 4-1. Rubio used his first time out with the Wildcats down 6-2 and took the second one just moments later when Arizona found itself down 9-4. The Bears later led by as many as six, but the Wildcats clawed back, scoring five straight points to tie the game at 18. Arizona took the lead at 20-19 and built its lead to six (27-21), but Cal made it interesting, going on a 7-1 run to tie it at 28. The Wildcats scored the final two points for the 30-28 win.
Arizona travels to Los Angeles for matches at No. 22 UCLA and No. 17 USC next Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21-22. The Wildcats face the Bruins at 7 p.m. (PST) next Friday and the Trojans at 6 p.m. (PST) next Saturday.