The Cal volleyball team delivered a blow to Arizona State to the tune of a 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 26-24).
But the No. 2 Bears (20-2, 10-2 in the Pac-12) suffered a loss on Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz.
Right side hitter Correy Johnson had to be helped from the court after rolling her ankle in the first set. The junior would not return to the match.
There is no word on the severity of the injury or if Johnson will be available to play in Saturday’s contest against Arizona.
Johnson was one of only two Cal players to post positive hitting percentages in the first frame. The other — freshman Christina Higgins — came up big after her teammate went down. Following Johnson’s final kill of the night to give Cal a 22-21 lead, setter Elly Barrett connected with Higgins for consecutive kills to bring the Bears to match point. The Sun Devils (5-15, 1-10) staved off defeat once, but an attack error handed Cal the set.
Fortunately for the Bears, Barrett’s attackers rebounded in the second set, a frame the Bears never trailed. Cal reduced its error count from eight to four and improved its attack rate from .068 to .296. Coach Rich Feller’s squad logged one of its 13 blocks of the night to claim the set, 25-20.
The third set featured tighter action with 17 ties and nine lead changes. Arizona State broke a 23-all tie to force Feller to call a timeout at match point. Barrett again found Higgins, who laid one down to keep Cal alive.
Sun Devil Nora Tuioti-Mariner made an attack error to give Cal match point, which Higgins seized with a big kill set up by fellow outside hitter Tarah Murrey in an out-of-system play.
Higgins, the reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, tied Murrey with a team-high nine kills, but topped the All-American’s attack rate, .533 to .034. Murrey committed one fewer error than kills on 29 swings, but chipped in 12 digs and three blocks on the defensive end.
In addition to finishing off a win in the third set, the Bears also regained one of their regular starters.
Adrienne Gehan returned for her first game action since suffering an ankle injury on Sept. 16. Gehan, who started the season as Cal’s No. 2 outside hitter, played limited time in the back row for the Bears on Friday night.
Cal will face the Wildcats at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz., on Saturday at 7 p.m.
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