Capitalizing on strong play from senior outside hitter Jocelyn Levig, who recorded 20 kills, the Dons swept the season series against Cal and improved to 9-4 on the season.
Senior setter Leanna Ludes added 39 assists, and redshirt sophomore libero Rebecca Kopilovitch continued her solid defensive play with 17 digs, her fifth game in a row with double digits in that department.
After losing to No. 7 Stanford on Friday night at Maples Pavilion, San Francisco got back on track at home with a crowd of 1,112 cheering them on.
“It’s great, and obviously we’re excited to beat teams like Cal,” Ludes said. “But it’s also important for us to be hungry and stay humble. Last night against Stanford, that wasn’t us, so we definitely had something to prove tonight.”
Behind 5 kills from Levig, 11 assists from Ludes and seven digs from Kopilovitch, the Dons won the first set 25-21, taking advantage of four Cal errors to hit at a .226 percentage. Until San Francisco scored the last two points to take a 1-0 lead, neither team had led by more than two points in what was a back-and-forth, closely contested set.
San Francisco carried their momentum into the second set, jumping out to a 9-4 lead. Cal fought back and tied the set at 18-18, but from then on the Dons took control and won again by a score of 25-21. Levig and Ludes continued to dominate, finishing two sets with 11 kills and 24 assists, respectively.
In the third and final set, the Dons took command down the stretch after another evenly matched set and won 25-21 for the third consecutive time. San Francisco hit .238 for the set behind a constantly attacking Levig, who finished the game with a .333 percentage. As the Dons scored their 25th point, War Memorial Gym was sent into a frenzy and the players could take a deep breath knowing that they beat Cal for the second time this year.
In the two teams’ first meeting on Sept. 1st, San Francisco was victorious against Cal 3-2 (22-25, 25-19, 25-22, 20-25, 15-12).
“We knew they were going to come out and fight, because in Hawaii we went to five against them,” Ludes said.
“I just can’t thank the crowd enough; we were really able to build off of their energy.”
After proving that they can handle their business against Cal, the Dons now look to start off conference play on the right foot. Their first in-conference game is on Sept. 20, on the road against University of San Diego. Although San Francisco still has a lot to prove, their two performances against Cal this year have boosted their confidence and have them eager to begin the next chapter of their season.
“We’re gonna get to see what we have as a collective unit,” Ludes said. “It’s just important to stay united when we play.”
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