No. 19 Cal Volleyball Travels to CenturyTel/Classic Honda Premier

Aug. 29, 2005

BERKELEY, CALIF. -

Fri.-Sun., Sept. 2-4 at CenturyTel/Classic Honda Premier,Strahan Coliseum, San Marcos, Tex. 7/12:30/1p.m

BEAR NOTES: No. 19-ranked California (1-0) opened the 2005 season with a 3-0 victory over UC Davis, Aug. 27 at Haas Pavilion, and now travels to the CenturyTel/Classic Honda Premier, Sept. 2-4, at Strahan Coliseum in San Marcos, Tex. Cal coach Rich Feller only needs one more win for his 100th victory as the Bears' mentor, and two more wins for his 400th career victory. Cal will battle host Texas State (0-0) Sept. 2, Morgan State (0-0) Sept. 3 and Albany (2-0) Sept. 4. The Golden Bears return four starters and their top libero from the 2004 squad that went 17-12, advanced to the NCAA Second Round and finished ranked No. 18 in the country. Cal is looking to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for a school-record fourth year in-a-row in 2005. The Bears will also look to win their seventh tournament in the past four years when they travel to San Marcos.

2005 OPENER A SUCCESS: In Cal's 30-15, 30-16, 30-20 win over UC Davis, sophomore Angie Pressey and senior captain Alicia Powers led the Bears with 13 kills apiece, while Pressey also notched a career-high six service aces and had a .750 (13 kills, one error, 16 attempts) hitting percentage. Powers had a .417 hitting percentage (13 kills, three errors, 24 attempts) and two service aces. Senior Jenna Brown and freshman Morgan Beck added seven kills apiece, and junior Jillian Davis and senior Alexis Kollias each had two service aces on the evening. Junior setter Samantha Carter finished with 39 assists and a team-high eight digs. Cal will be paced by the 5-8 Pressey, a 2004 first team All-Pac-10 selection and a member of the Pac-10 All-Freshman team, plus upperclassmen Powers, Brown, Carter and Davis. Powers, a 6-2 middle hitter, was a 2004 Pac-10 honorable mention selection and is seventh on the Bears' all-time career block list (312). Brown, a 5-11 senior outside hitter, has 905 career digs, third most among active Pac-10 players. Carter, a 6-0 junior setter, was a 2004 Pac-10 honorable mention selection and is second among current Pac-10 players and fourth on Cal's all-time list with 2,943 career assists. Davis is a 5-9 junior libero, who sat out the majority of last season with an injury (ACL) to her left knee, but still set a school record with 33 digs versus national champion Stanford in 2004 and has 730 career digs in 51 matches.

CHANCE TO MAKE HISTORY: The Bears' senior class of Powers, Brown and Alexis Kollias has a chance to be the first group in school history to make NCAA appearances in all four years of their eligibility. Powers has started every match of her Cal career (94), while Brown has started the majority of the team's matches and has played in all 94 contests. Kollias replaced an injured Davis last season and shined, recording a career-high 31 digs against Saint Mary's in the NCAA Second Round. The three seniors have led the Bears to a three-year mark of 63-31(.670).

IMPORTANT HOME DATES: Sept. 9-11 Golden Bear Invitational, Cal's annual tournament features the No. 19 Bears, No. 18 University of San Diego and Florida A&M (23 votes in AVCA preseason poll). All three teams competed in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Sept. 23 vs. UCLA, Cal hosts the Bruins in the Bears' 2005 Pac-10 season-opener, looking to defeat UCLA for the first time in school history (0-47). Oct. 21 vs. Stanford, the Bears host Bay Area rival and 2004 NCAA champion Stanford Cardinal in 'The Big Spike.' Cal has defeated the Cardinal in each of the past two years at Haas Pavilion. The 'Big Spike' with be televised on Comcast SportsNet (viewing details TBA).

HEAD COACH Rich Feller: Rich Feller (99-79, .556 at Cal; career 398-246, .618) is in his seventh season at Cal. Feller was named both 2003 Pacific Region Co-Coach of the Year and 2003 Pac-10 Coach of the Year after leading the Bears to the NCAA Round of 16 for the first time in school history. He came to Cal after a stint as assistant coach for the USA National Team (1997-98) and 14 years as head coach at Colorado State (1983-96, eight NCAA Tournaments, 12 Top 25 national rankings).

CAL VERSUS TEXAS STATE, MORGAN STATE AND ALBANY: Cal will be facing Texas State (27-6, lost NCAA first round match to Texas, 3-0, in 2004) for the first time in school history. The Bobcats are coached by Karen Chisum (26th year at TSU) and feature 5-10 senior outside hitter Elizabeth Nwoke (461 kills, 3.97 kpg in 2004). Cal will be facing Morgan State (20-19 in 2004) for the first time in school history, as well. The Bears are coached by Ramona Riley-Bozier (18th year at MSU) and are led by 6-0 sophomore outside hitter Mandisa Richardson (246 kills, 2.28 kpg in 2004). Cal will also be playing Albany (2-0 in 2005; 27-7, lost NCAA first round match to Yale, 3-1, in 2004) for the first time. Albany is coached by Kelly Sheffield (fifth year at UA) and a top returnee for The Great Danes is 5-10 junior setter Blair Buchanan (AVCA honorable mention All-American, American East Player of the Year, 1,448 assists in 2004).

CAL'S AVCA RANKING: Cal's No. 19 ranking is only the fifth time in school history the Bears have been preseason ranked. Cal was ranked No. 10 at the start of last season, No. 24 in 2003, No. 9 in 1989 and No. 12 in 1983. The Bears finished with a No. 19 national ranking last year after falling to Saint Mary's, 3-2, in the NCAA Second Round in Haas Pavilion. The Bears have been ranked a total of 66 times since 1982, reaching as high as a No. 5 ranking on Oct. 13, 2003. The highest Cal has ever been ranked at the end of a season was 10th in 1982.

KEY NEWCOMERS: The Bears bring in a 2005 freshman class ranked fifth in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com. Morgan Beck, a 6-3 outside hitter from San Clemente High School (Coto De Caza, Calif.), was a member of the 2005 USA Junior National Team that competed at the Under-20 World Championships this past July 23-31 in Ankara, Istanbul, Turkey. Beck was selected the nation's 26th top recruit by PrepVolleyball.com and was first team All-CIF Southern Section as a senior. Bryte Nielson is a 5-11 left-handed setter/outside hitter from Los Gatos High School (Saratoga, Calif.) Nielson was a four-time first team all-league selection, a second team All-Central Coast Section as a senior, and was selected the nation's 97th top recruit by PrepVolleyball.com. Kat Reilly, a 6-2 middle hitter from Plano East Senior High School (Plano, Texas), was the 2004 District 8-5A Most Valuable Player and was rated the nation's 13th top high school recruit by PrepVolleyball.com.

BEARS' TOURNAMENT SUCCESS: Cal will be looking for its seventh tournament title in the last four years when it travels to the CenturyTel/Classic Honda Premier. The Bears had a perfect regular-season tournament record during the 2002 and 2003 seasons, winning 15 consecutive tournament matches and capturing five-straight tournament titles. Former Cal standout Mia Jerkov was tournament MVP during all five of the Bears' tournament championships. Last season, Cal won the Houston Tournament, but placed third in its own Golden Bear Invitational and was second at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Invitational. Alicia Powers earned all-tournament for the 2004 Golden Bear Invitational, while 2004 All-American Camille Leffall and Angie Pressey were named to the 2004 Waikiki Beach Marriott Invitational All-Tournament team.

CAL PLAYERS RETURNING HOME FOR CENTURYTEL/CLASSIC HONDA PREMIER: The Bears feature three players who will be returning to their home state when Cal travels to the CenturyTel/Classic Honda Premier. Senior outside hitter Jenna Brown is from Friendswood, which is just outside of Houston, sophomore middle hitter Ellen Orchard is from Houston and freshman Kat Reilly hails from Plano, Texas. The Bears were successful in their last two tournament trips to the Lone Star state, winning the 2002 SMU DoubleTree Invitational with 3-0 victories over Texas-San Antonio, Tulane and Southern Methodist; and capturing the 2004 Houston Tournament with 3-0 victories over Kansas State, Maryland and Houston.

BEARS HAVE TOUGH 2005 SCHEDULE: Competing in arguably the toughest volleyball conference in the nation - the Pac-10, the Bears' 2005 schedule includes six teams ranked in the CSTV/AVCA Preseason Poll, with five of those opponents coming from the Pac-10. Cal will take on No. 2 Washington, No. 3 Stanford, No. 7 USC, No. 13 UCLA and No. 17 Arizona in league play. The Bears will also face some extremely talented foes in non-conference action. Cal hosts Florida A&M Sept. 8 and No. 18 University of San Diego Sept. 10 at the Golden Bear Invitational in Haas Pavilion.

CAL SOLID IN 2004: The 2004 Cal volleyball team had a solid season, finishing 17-12 overall and tying for fourth in the Pac-10 with an 11-7 mark. Highlights for the Bears included upending two-time defending national champion USC in Los Angeles, and topping 2004 NCAA champs Stanford at Haas Pavilion. Cal also hosted the NCAA first and second rounds in Haas Pavilion for the second year in-a-row, defeating Pacific, 3-2, in the first round. Senior middle hitter Camille Leffall earned second team All-America honors, first team All-Pacific Region and first team All-Pac-10, while freshman Angie Pressey was first team All-Pac-10 and a member of the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team.

DID YOU KNOW? The Golden Bears featured Holly McPeak, the 1987 National Freshman of the Year, who has played beach volleyball in the last three summer Olympics and won a bronze medal with partner Elaine Youngs at the 2004 Athens Games.

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