In the third and final set against Rock Bridge, the Pintos were able to stop the Bruins' comeback attempt to win the match Oct. 7 in three sets.
The Pintos led by 11 points at 24-13 in the third set, when the Bruins went on a five-point scoring streak to make it 24-18. After a timeout, the Bruins won one last point to make it 24-19 before the Pintos won the final point to secure the win. California improved its record to 15-4-3 with the win; Rock Bridge moved to 15-7-1 with the loss.
California won the first set in a much more comfortable manner, as the team took the set 25-13. In the second set, both teams alternated points throughout. There were 12 ties at points throughout the set and 11 lead changes. Neither team was able to pull away from each other, as early on the Pintos led by just two points at 9-7. The team then won the next point to make it 10-7 before Rock Bridge won five points in a row to take a 12-10 lead. The Pintos won the next three points in a row to take a 13-12 lead but Rock Bridge tied things up again with the next point. Later, with the game tied at 15-15, Rock Bridge won the next three points in a row to make it 18-15. California answered with a four-point scoring streak that ended with a block by Ella Lewis to give the Pintos a 19-18 lead.
Lewis had a few key blocks in the game for California. Head coach Julie Bailey said Lewis has a spark and energy about her.
"When she gets those blocks, it just gets the whole team up, and everybody is on fire and playing intensely and ready to put it away," Bailey said. "It just makes a huge difference because she has so much energy on the court. She is peaking at the right time, and I am really happy about that."
Rock Bridge again responded with a five-point scoring streak to take a 23-19 lead. California answered right back, as a kill by Makayla Schanzmeyer made it 20-23. Two points later, another block by Lewis made it a one-point game at 23-22. The Bruins made it a 24-22 game and California again got within one point at 24-23, but Rock Bridge was able to win the final point of the set.
Bailey said Rock Bridge played a lot better after the first set.
"I think they had a lot of unforced errors in the first set, and in the second and third sets, they kind of cleaned that up," Bailey said. "It forced us to play a little harder and earn every point."
The Pintos trailed 2-0 early in the third set, but quickly tied it at 2-2 after winning two points in a row. Again, the teams exchanged points as the set stayed close. With the set tied at 6-6, California found a little breathing room thanks to a four-point scoring streak that made it 10-6. A missed serve made it 10-7, and California went on another little streak as the team won the next three points to make it 13-7. Rock Bridge won four of the next six points to make it 15-11, but a block by Paige Lamm improved the Pintos' score to 16-11. The Bruins then made it 16-13, but a kill by Lamm flipped the momentum again and started another streak for California. The Pintos won the next seven points in a row to make it 24-13. The Bruins had one last streak in them to make it 24-18. California called a timeout at 24-18, at which time Bailey said she told the team to not let Rock Bridge have another point.
"They had fought too hard and Rock Bridge was battling for every inch of their life, and we just had to fight a little bit harder," Bailey said.
She said winning against a strong opponent and a bigger school gives the team a lot of confidence at the right time of the year.