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Two final blows for a winless Cal

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NOVEMBER 29, 2022

The Cal volleyball season has finally come to a conclusion— a rather sour one actually. Not being able to post a single Pac-12 conference win this season, the Bears end the season with a 7-22 overall record and a 0-19 conference record. Despite fighting hard every match, blue and gold efforts never seemed to be enough to take down the sturdy opponents that make up the Pac-12. 

The last two matches of the season were uniquely disappointing; Cal stood little to no chance against two rather heart-wrenchingly well-versed teams. First off, (it was ranked No. 2 in the Pac-12) Oregon. 

With set scores of 25-16, 25-12 and 25-17,  the game was a quick Bear beheading. The night was decorated with bittersweet smiles as the senior Sydney Lilomaiava was celebrated as she played her last home game as a Bear. The Bears were led by Lydia Grote, who posted 12 kills, one ace, and zero blocks. Peyton DeJardin stepped up to the plate as usual and contributed her fair share of kills, posting nine throughout the night. Annalea Maeder was even able to slip in three impressive kills, and finally Sydney Lilomaiava posted two kills and three massive blocks.

On the flip side, the Oregon Ducks showed no mercy, and simply put, obliterated. Outside hitter Brooke Nuneviller was hitting around the Cal block all night posting 13 kills, as well as three aces and two blocks. Outside hitter Mimi Colyer, another astonishing Duck, posted 12 kills, one ace and three blocks. Finally, middle blocker Kiari Robey was able to put six kills past the Cal defense and posted four blocks. 

Overall, Oregon posted 44 kills, 10 blocks and eight aces with only five attack errors. The Bears were only able to post 30 kills, three blocks and one ace, and proved to be no match for Oregon. Simply stated, Oregon was lethal. 

The next and final game of the season was none other than an axe-less Stanford. Cal made its way down to a familiar Maples Pavilion to play its last match of the season against the Pac-12 No. 1 ranked Cardinal. 

The first set gave Cal fans hope as the Bears proved they were able to keep up with Stanford’s quick pace, ending at a tight score of 22-25 in Stanford’s favor. 

Unfortunately for fans, this hope was quickly diminished as the Bears crumbled under the pressure of a talented group of Cardinal, with the next two set resulting in 11-25 and 14-25

Posting 15 kills and three blocks, opposite hitter Kendall Kipp was the star of the night as usual. Following closely behind her was the impressively tactical freshman outside hitter Elia Rubin, who posted 13 kills and five blocks. The blue and gold side was led by none other than Grote, who posted 8 kills and one ace . DeJardin went home with seven kills and Mikayla Hayden had four. Finally Lilomaiava posted the last three kills and two blocks of her collegiate volleyball career. 

In total Stanford posted 48 kills, 14 blocks and three aces. Compared to Cal’s 25 kills, three blocks and one ace, the Bears simply stood no chance. Interestingly though, both teams registered a hefty amount of errors: 15 on the Cardinal side and 18 for the Bears. 

With that sad conclusion, fans are left only to look forward to the future and to any newly recruited players to change the trajectory of the program. 

Will Cal be able to break its long trend of Pac-12 losses? 

That is uncertain — one thing is certain though: There is only one way to go when you hit rock bottom, and that is up. 

Cal is set to return next fall to take another stab at it. 

Jose Rivera covers volleyball. Contact him at [email protected].

NOVEMBER 29, 2022