When the Cal volleyball team loses, it loses in streaks.
Right now, the squad is riding a two-game losing streak heading into its Saturday match at Colorado. The match will begin at 6 p.m. at the Coors Event Center in Boulder, Colo.
For the Bears, this match will be a perfect way to get back on track after their recent sweeps against Stanford and San Francisco. Their last loss against the No. 6 Cardinal actually gave the team surprising hope for the remaining part of their season.
Stanford dominated the first two sets, but Cal (6-5, 0-1 in the Pac-12) had multiple opportunities to take the third. The Bears were serving at set point in the third set but gave away the 25-24 lead — and the game — 28-26.
“Our hope from that match is that we had a really off hour of play (in the first two sets), and we played like we should have for the last half hour,” head coach Rich Feller said.
Although facing a team as talented as Stanford is not a regular occurrence, Cal will have plenty of competition in the Pac-12, beginning this weekend. The Buffaloes (11-2, 1-0) have been turning many heads with their record after being picked in the preseason to finish last in the division.
Right now, Colorado is amid a seven-game winning streak, most of which came against very weak teams. The last one, though, was a 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-21) sweep against Pac-12 rival Utah. The Utes, considered to be in the top half of the Pac-12, were swept off the court in a convincing win for the Buffs.
“Colorado is definitely going to be better than everyone gives them credit for,” Feller said. “They are not a team to sleep on.”
Colorado’s offense could pose problems for the Bears, but recent issues have been more on Cal’s side of the net. The Bears are still hindered by injuries, mainly to senior Correy Johnson, who could not play the third set against Stanford due to ineffectiveness, according to Feller.
“A lot of these problems have to do with us being limited to what we can do in practice,” Feller said. “We are not satisfied with the way we are doing things, and everything just needs to get better.”
The problem for this squad is not that it has very little potential to be great. The problem has been that it cannot sustain its high level of play. Against a solid team like Colorado, Cal will not have the margin of error to make very many mistakes. The Bears will have to come out and play with the same intensity that they competed with in the final set against the Cardinal.
“The three main things we have to get down before our next match are focus, energy and communication,” junior Adrienne Gehan said. “We have to start that in practice, and if we do so, it will translate onto the court come match time.”
Karan Karia covers volleyball. Contact him at [email protected]