No. 17 Cal Volleyball Hosts 2006 Molten Classic Tournament

Aug. 22, 2006


Aug.25-26 Cal Molten Classic, Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, Calif.Fri.Aug.25 UC Davis vs. Baylor/Montana at Cal 4:30 p.m./7 p.m.Sat.Aug.26 Baylor vs. Montana/UC Davis at Cal 12 p.m.Sat.Aug.26 Montana vs. UC Davis/Baylor at Cal 4:30 p.m./7 p.m.

BEAR NOTES: No. 17-ranked California opens the 2006 season hosting the inaugural Cal Molten Classic Tournament, Aug. 25-26, at Haas Pavilion. Cal will battle Montana Aug. 25 at 7 p.m., and UC Davis and Baylor at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Aug. 26. Both Montana (Jerry Wagner) and UC Davis (Steve Walker) will be introducing new coaches. The Golden Bears return four starters (Samantha Carter, Angie Pressey, Morgan Beck, Ellen Orchard) and their top libero (Jillian Davis, whose 21st birthday will be Friday when Cal hosts Montana) from the 2005 squad that went 19-11 (10-8 in the Pac-10), advanced to the NCAA second round for the fourth consecutive year and finished ranked No. 20 in the country. Cal also features a freshman class (Cat Dailey, Hana Cutura, Mindi Wiley, Kristen Kathan, Carly Bouza, Jill Brunswick) ranked third nationally by The Bears are looking to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for a school-record fifth straight year in 2006 and will attempt to win its eighth regular season tournament in the past five years when they host the Molten Classic.

2006 QUICK CAL OUTLOOK: Cal will be led by a pair of senior team captains - setter Samantha Carter and libero Jillian Davis - who are both school record-holders and honorable mention All-Pac-10 picks last season. Junior outside hitter Angie Pressey is a two-time All-Pac-10 selection and was a member of the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team in 2004. Sophomore outside hitter Morgan Beck was a member of the 2005 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team, while junior middle hitter Ellen Orchard paced the team with 129 blocks last season and owns a .265 career hitting percentage - third on the school's all-time list. Besides being ranked 17th nationally, Cal is also tabbed to finish fourth in the Pac-10.

BEAR RECORD-HOLDERS: Carter and Davis have the distinction of owning two Cal volleyball records apiece. As a freshman in 2003, Carter set the Cal single-season mark of 1,555 assists, helping pace the Bears to the NCAA Round of 16. She became the school's all-time career assist leader last season and now owns 4,327 assists, which is the second-most among current Pac-10 players, trailing only Washington's Courtney Thompson. Carter is also second among active Pac-10 players with 89 service aces. Davis, a starter in 2003 as well, set the Cal record for single-season digs (538) in 2005. On Oct. 1, 2004, her 33 digs at Stanford set a new Cal single-match mark. Davis' 1,262 career digs is now second among current Pac-10 players.

KEY HAAS PAVILION DATES: Sept. 8-9 Golden Bear Invitational, Cal's annual tournament features the No. 17 Bears, No. 19 Pepperdine, Colorado State (4 votes in AVCA preseason poll) and American University. All four teams competed in the 2005 NCAA Tournament. Nov. 3 versus Stanford, Cal hosts the Cardinal, who are the preseason favorite to win the Pac-10 and are ranked fourth in the AVCA/CSTV poll. Nov. 25 versus Washington, the Bears host the 2005 NCAA champion Huskies in the final Pac-10 home game of the season. Cal was the only team to take Washington to five games twice last season. The UW-Cal match will be televised live at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet (local viewing details TBA).

HEAD COACH Rich Feller: The most successful volleyball coach in Cal history, Rich Feller (117-90, .565 at Cal; career 416-257, .618) is in his eighth season in Berkeley. Feller won his 400th career match and 100th Cal contest last season while leading the Bears to a school-record fourth consecutive NCAA appearance. In 2003, he was named Pacific Region Co-Coach of the Year and Pac-10 Coach of the Year after leading Cal to the NCAA Round of 16 for the first time in school history. Feller was an assistant for the USA National Team from 1997-98, and head coach at Colorado State for 14 years (1983-96) prior to taking over the Bears' coaching reins in 1999.

CAL VERSUS MONTANA, UC DAVIS AND BAYLOR: Cal has a 4-2 all-time record against Montana (14-15 in 2005). The Bears defeated the Grizzlies in the last meeting, 3-0, Sept. 14, 1984 at the San Diego State Invitational. Montana is coached by Jerry Wagner (first year at UM) and is led by 5-10 senior outside hitter Claudia Houle (863 career kills). The Bears have a 4-2 all-time record against UC Davis (4-27 in 2005), defeating the Aggies in last year's season-opener, 3-0, Aug. 27, 2005 at Haas Pavilion. UC Davis is coached by Steve Walker (first year at UCD) and is led by 5-10 junior setter Katelyn Astruc (851 assists in 2005). Cal has a 2-0 all-time record against Baylor (15-17 in 2005). The Golden Bears defeated the Bears in the last meeting, 3-1, Sept. 12, 1991 at the JMN Premiere Invitational in Fullerton, Calif. Baylor is coached by Jim Barnes (10th year at BU) and is led by 6-5 senior middle hitter Desiree Guilliard-Young (173 kills, 126 blocks in 2005, graduated from Berkeley High School).

CAL'S AVCA RANKING: Cal's No. 17 ranking is only the sixth time in school history the Bears have been preseason ranked, but the fourth time since Rich Feller became head coach in 1999. Cal was ranked 19th at the start of last season, ranked No. 10 in 2004, No. 24 in 2003, No. 9 in 1989 and No. 12 in 1983. The Bears finished ranked No. 20 last year after falling to Wisconsin, 3-0, in the NCAA Second Round in Madison, Wis. The Bears have been ranked a total of 82 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.

IMPRESSIVE PRESSEY: Angie Pressey, the dynamic 5-8 junior outside hitter from Heathrow, Fla., is the Bears' most highly decorated player. Pressey is a two-time All-Pac-10 performer and was a member of the 2004 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team. She was the first Cal player in school history to be both an All-Pac-10 selection and a member of the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team. Pressey led the Bears with 446 kills and 517.5 points last season and has already recorded 775 kills in two seasons, which is fourth among current Pac-10 players. She is the daughter of former NBA player and Golden State assistant coach Paul Pressey.

BECK AND ORCHARD RETURN TO THE SCENE: Two more returning stars for the 2006 Bears are 6-3 sophomore outside hitter Morgan Beck and 6-3 junior middle hitter Ellen Orchard. Beck was a member of the 2005 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team after finishing second on the team with 342 kills and 380.0 points. She notched her best match against national champion Washington, tallying a career-high 19 kills against the Huskies on Oct. 7 at Haas Pavilion. Orchard led the Bears with 129 blocks last season while hitting .266 and recording 234 kills. This was after coming off the bench as a freshman to record a career-high 14 kills and lead the Bears in their NCAA first round victory over Pacific in 2004.

TOP SHELF NEWCOMERS: The Bears welcome a 2006 freshman class ranked third in the nation by, trailing only Penn State and Texas. Cat Dailey, a 6-3 outside hitter from Sage Hill High School (Newport Beach, Calif.), was the 2005 CIF Southern Section Division IV Player of the Year and was ranked the nation's 17th top recruit. Hana Cutura is a 6-3 outside hitter from Zagreb, Croatia, and is considered one of the top young players from Europe. Cutura is a veteran of Croatia's Youth and Junior National Teams and her father, Zoran, is a former Olympic basketball star for Yugoslavia. Mindi Wiley is a 6-3 middle hitter from Sonoma Valley High School where she was named 2004 Cal-Hi Sports Junior Athlete of the Year after excelling as both a volleyball player and a high jumper. Wiley was selected the nation's 18th top recruit by Kristen Kathan, a 5-6 defensive specialist from Campolindo High School (Moraga, Calif.), was the 2005 Contra Costa Times and Cal-Hi Sports Player of the Year. Also joining the Bears is 5-10 left-hander Carly Bouza, a defensive specialist/outside hitter from Acalanes High School (Lafayette, Calif.), and 5-7 defensive specialist Jill Brunswick from St. Margaret's High School (Laguna Beach, Calif.). Bouza is the daughter of former Cal and NFL standout receiver Matt Bouza.

BEARS' TOURNAMENT SUCCESS: Cal will be looking for its eighth tournament title in the last five years when it hosts the Cal Molten Classic Tournament. 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 CenturyTel/Classic Honda Premier in San Marcos, Texas and junior libero Jillian Davis earned tournament MVP honors. The Bears competed in three tournaments last season (CenturyTel/Classic Honda Premier, Golden Bear Invitational, Circus Circus/Molten Invitational) with Samantha Carter and Angie Pressey earning all-tournament accolades in all three competitions.

CAL'S TOUGH 2006 SCHEDULE: Cal once again is competing in what is arguably the most challenging volleyball conference in the nation - the Pac-10. The Bears' 2006 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. 3 Washington, No. 4 Stanford, No. 10 UCLA, No. 14 USC and No. 18 Arizona in league play. The Bears will also face some extremely talented foes in non-conference action. Cal hosts Colorado State (four votes in AVCA preseason poll, Rich Feller's former team) Sept. 8, and No. 19 Pepperdine Sept. 9 during the Golden Bear Invitational in Haas Pavilion.

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