Fueled by seven kills and a career high nine blocks, sophomore Berkeley Oblad led the No. 19 Utah volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-20) victory over the California Golden Bears on Friday night at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The win marked the second win over the Golden Bears in 2016, and it secured a season sweep over Cal for the Utes.
Utah led the Golden Bears to just .164 hitting percentage in the win, forcing 22 Cal errors while committing 13 of their own.
“I thought we were in control of the Cal match pretty much from start to finish,” said Utah head coach Beth Launiere. “We executed at a very high level, [Cal] never put a lot of pressure on us, so I was really pleased with our team to take care of business and win that match.”
Adora Anae led the Utes with 16 kills, Bailey Choy paced the team with 21 assists and Brianna Doehrmann contributed 12 digs in the three set victory over the Golden Bears.
In the first set, after a 3-0 Cal run to cut Utah’s lead to three, the Utes responded, reeling off five straight points to claim a 23-17 lead. Three points later, the set was won because of an attacking error by Cal.
The second set was closely contested, with Utah winning five out of the last seven points to take the set, 25-21.
The Utes sealed the match in the third set, scoring five of the last six points. Anae had three kills towards the end to help the Utes take the third set, and the match, 25-20.
The next day, in a battle of two top-25 teams, Utah took on the No. 13 Stanford Cardinal, with the Utes looking for their second straight win – and the season sweep of Stanford. The Utes fell in straight sets, 3-0 (22-25, 20-25, 16-25).
“I think serve receive was really big for us, because they’re a really good service team,” said sophomore outside hitter Emma Kirst. “Just finding shots, we were getting blocked a lot. The biggest thing was passing, and getting our middles involved.”
Launiere echoed Kirst’s thoughts, placing an emphasis on passing the ball.
“We didn’t pass well, we didn’t get in system enough,” Launiere said. “We got too one-dimensional, we couldn’t run our middle, so that was part of it. [Stanford] posed a lot of problems defensively, they got us back on our feet and scrambling, it was just a difficult situation. They played very well.”
In the first set, three straight Utah points put the Utes up 12-8 and forced a Stanford timeout. The Cardinal responded with a 4-0 run that forced a Utah timeout with the set tied at 13-13. After a back-and-forth battle, a couple of kills from Anae gave Utah a 20-19 lead. Three straight kills for Stanford gave the Cardinal a 22-20 lead late in the first set. Stanford finished off the first set after Carly Trueman hit the ball into the net.
After Stanford went up 18-16 in the second set, a kill from Tawnee Luafalemana and a Stanford attack error forced a Cardinal timeout and sent the fans into a frenzy. Stanford responded with a 3-1 run to go up 21-19, and Launiere took a timeout. The Cardinal closed out the second set winning four straight points to go up 2-0.
Stanford sealed the match with an easy 25-16 third set. Kathryn Plummer had 19 kills to lead Stanford.