Cal beach volleyball could not have asked for a better start to the season, as the Bears swept their opponents last weekend at the Stanford Tournament. The Bears concluded a busy weekend of play by beating University of the Pacific, Cal Poly, Santa Clara and Saint Mary’s to jump out to a quick 4-0 record to start their season. The Bears were more dominant than the scoreline at first glance would suggest.
With four courts in action at a time, an exciting atmosphere encompassed the Stanford Sand Volleyball Stadium, and the Bears fed off the positivity and electricity of all the teams and fans present.
On the first day of action, the Bears took on University of the Pacific and St. Mary’s, two teams they beat last season, and continued their streak of success. First, against Pacific, Cal got a strong showing from the bottom half of its rosters, as the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 pairs clinched the match before the top-two duos even took the court. Ultimately, after all the matches concluded, the back end of the roster proved to be the difference as the Bears fought their way to a 3-2 victory over Pacific. Later in the afternoon, Cal beat St. Mary’s by the same set score, and once again, the No. 4 and No. 5 pairs had key wins for the Bears.
Cal began Sunday with a tough match against Cal Poly, but the Bears ultimately came out on top, 3-2. Sophomores Grace Campbell and Olivia Rodberg clinched the match against the Mustangs after closing out their No. 2 pair of Raeann Griesen and Heather Pembroke (21-13, 22-20).
Cal got a strong performance from its freshmen, especially the pair of Nicole Anderson and Iya Lindahl. Playing at No. 4, the duo won all four of its matches over the weekend, only a dropping a single set out of those matches.
Despite it being both of their first collegiate matches, Anderson and Lindahl looked like a seasoned duo, staying calm in the only three-set match they played against St. Mary’s and winning 15-12 in a tight third set.
Freshman Bridget Gustafson also impressed alongside junior team captain Teya Neff. The team was dominant in all four matches and did not drop a set the entire weekend. Gustafson and Neff carried high energy throughout the course of the weekend and worked well together, with Neff bringing great experience to the talented duo.
Lastly, the Bears finished off the weekend by beating a Santa Clara team that handed Cal two losses last season. On trend with the entire weekend, Cal relied on its depth to get a 4-1 victory. Again, the back end of the lineup was stalwart, as Jessica Gaffney and Camille Stepanof clinched the match at the No. 3 court.
The Santa Clara match was Cal’s most dominant of the weekend. Back in Berkeley, Cal starts off its week as an undefeated team after its string of success this weekend.
Charlie Griffen covers beach volleyball. Contact him at