Berkeley, Calif. – After a tough first night at the Molten Classic, the Eastern Washington University volleyball team rebounded with an impressive effort against Pac-12 member California Saturday morning, Aug. 29, before falling to the Golden Bears in three sets.
EWU drops to 0-2 with the setback while California stays perfect with a 2-0 mark on the young season. Set scores for the match were: 25-22, 25-17, 25-23.
This morning's match was up for grabs throughout as both teams went back and forth in each set. California was able to gain some separation in the third set, opening up a 21-16 advantage late in the frame. That lead would extend to six, 24-18, giving the Golden Bears match point.
Eastern was not ready to go quietly, however, using a kill from freshman Jessica Gilbert to ignite a 5-0 run that brought the Eagles to within one, 24-23. A kill from California's Belen Castillo would stop EWU's run and secure the match victory for the Golden Bears.
Gilbert continued her strong start to the year with a team-best 10 kills, swinging at a .450 clip. She added three blocks and a service ace to impressive stat line.
Senior Allie Schumacher nearly had her first double-double of the year, finishing with 11 digs and nine kills.
Senior Alexis Wesley registered 10 blocks, accounting for more than half of the Eagles' stops at the net.
EWU held the Golden Bears to a .132 hitting percentage and made fewer attack errors than the hosts, committing 20 miscues to Cal's 25.
Eastern was particularly tough at the net, finishing with 11 blocks to the Golden Bear's eight.
Quoting Coach Benson
"The team had a strong performance today against a quality opponent. We served well, and we defended well. Jessica had a very impressive match."
Wesley's 10 blocks are tied for third all-time in a three-set match in the program's NCAA Division I history. Her 10 rejections are the most in a match since Allison Doerpinghaus had 10 blocks back on Oct. 22, 2012, against Sacramento State.
Eastern returns to the court later today for its final match as part of the Molten Classic, taking on Nevada at 4:30 p.m. PT.