A masterful performance for sophomore Mima Mirkovic
, where she pulled in a career-best 23 kills and added 13 digs for her 13th double-double of the season, was a spark the Golden Bears needed as they looked for their fourth upset of the season.
Unfortunately, California (14-14, 6-11 Pac-12) was unable to slow the momentum of No. 20 Washington (18-9, 10-7 Pac-12), despite taking a set from the Huskies for the first time since 2016, and gave up a 3-1 (24-26, 17-25, 25-23, 21-25) decision and the series on Friday at Alaska Airlines Arena at the Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
The final set of the night began with a Huskies 5-0 run, appearing that the Bears had lost steam, but after a quick timeout Cal went on a 3-0 run to start another tightly contested game. Mirkovic and Maddie Haynes
added five kills apiece, but the Bears were outhit 19-16 as the Huskies recorded its most efficient set with a .457 hitting percentage to close things out on a 4-2 run.
Haynes completed the day matching a season-best 15 kills and recording a career-high three aces to lead the match. Preslie Anderson
and Bailee Huizenga
added eight kills each, while Emma Smith
, who started at libero, recorded a season-high 14 digs.
"It's great to see those type of numbers and career- and season-best performances for Mima, Maddie and Emma, against a team like this," said head coach Jennifer Dorr
. "But it takes an entire team effort and consistent play to win in this conference. Our team is still evolving and while the losses hurt, we learn so much from them."
The bright lights inside the arena brought with them all the excitement akin to center stage with point-for-point action during the opening set. Cal outhit Washington 17-14, but was unable to recover from 10 attacking errors, compared to the Huskies' five.
Despite the hiccups, Cal led by as much as three prompted by Mirkovic's six kills, a high for the set, and one that gave the Bears a 24-23 set point, but they were unable to hold off the Huskies who pulled in a 3-0 scoring run to get the set. Haynes's play was also notable as the junior recorded a two aces and added five kills during set 1.
Unfortunately, the Bears were unable to match the Huskies energy after midway point though set 2, and allowed a 7-1 run to end a game which they suffered another fatal eight attacking errors.
A climatic set 3 gave Cal a boost into the next battling back behind Mirkovic's eight kills to produce what was its most efficient set of the match at that point with a .234 attacking percentage. Washington also suffered from its worse offensive showing of the night hitting just a .188 clip.
Cal finishes its time in the Pacific Northwest with a noon (PT) match in Pullman on Sunday against No. 18 Washington State. The Bears look for the series sweep Sunday, after upsetting a then-21st ranked Cougars 3-1 in Berkeley on Oct. 14. A Cal victory would be the program's first sweep over Wazzu since 2012.
For more information on Cal volleyball, follow the team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @CalVolleyball.