No. 12 Cal Volleyball Hosts 2007 Molten Classic Tournament

Aug. 20, 2007


Fri.-Sat., Aug. 25-26  Cal Molten Classic,Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, Calif.

Fri., Aug. 24 Northeastern vs. Florida International/Idaho at California 4:30 p.m./7 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 25 Florida International vs. Idaho/Northeastern at California 12 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 25 Idaho vs. Northeastern/Florida International at California 4:30 p.m./7 p.m.

BEAR NOTES: No. 12-ranked California opens the 2007 season hosting the second-annual Cal Molten Classic Tournament, Aug. 24-25, at Haas Pavilion. Cal will battle the Idaho Vandals Aug. 24 at 7 p.m.; and the Northeastern Huskies and the Florida International Golden Panthers at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, Aug. 25. The Golden Bears will be facing Idaho and Northeastern for the first time in school history, while Cal upended Florida International, 3-0, in the inaugural meeting between the schools last season in Miami. The Golden Bears return four starters (Angie Pressey, Ellen Orchard, Morgan Beck, Hana Cutura) from the 2006 squad that went 22-10 overall (9-9 in the Pac-10), advanced to the NCAA Round of 16, and finished 13th in the country. Cal also features six other returnees and an outstanding freshman setter, Carli Lloyd, who was the CIF Player of the Year in 2006. The Bears will be looking to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for a school-record sixth straight year in 2007, and will attempt to win its 11th regular season tournament in the past six years when they host the Molten Classic.

2007 QUICK CAL OUTLOOK: Cal will be led by a pair of senior team captains - All-American outside hitter Pressey and HM All-Pac-10 middle hitter Orchard. Pressey is also a three-time All-Pac-10 selection and is second among current Pac-10 players with 1,262 career kills. Orchard led the Bears with 163 blocks and a .305 hitting percentage last season. Junior outside hitter/middle hitter Beck was also HM All-Pac-10 in 2006 and was second on the team in blocks (127) and third in kills (306), while sophomore outside hitter Cutura was a member of the 2006 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team after finishing second on the team with 392 kills and was MVP of two tournaments. Besides being ranked 12th nationally, Cal is also tabbed to finish fifth in the Pac-10.

BEARS IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Pressey and Orchard are in the Cal record book for both single-season and career marks. Pressey, one of four Bear All-American volleyball players in school history, and the only three-time All-Pac-10 selection, is currently sixth on Cal's all-time kill list (1,262), seventh with a .235 career hitting percentage and eighth with 3,146 kill attempts. Pressey also had the fifth-most single-season kills (487) in school history last season. Orchard has the school's second-highest career hitting percentage (.285) and the eighth-most total blocks (312). As a junior, she had the school's second-most single-season blocks (168) and the sixth-best hitting percentage (.305).

KEY HAAS PAVILION DATES: Sept. 7-8 Golden Bear Invitational, Cal's annual tournament features the No. 12 Bears, No. 9 Minnesota, Utah State and Eastern Kentucky. Last season, Minnesota advanced to an NCAA Regional where it lost, 3-2, to eventual national champion Nebraska. The Golden Gophers-Golden Bears match at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8 will be shown live on Comcast SportsNet (local viewing details TBA). Sept. 21 versus Stanford, Cal hosts the Cardinal to open its Pac-10 schedule. Stanford, the preseason favorite to win the conference, is ranked second nationally after losing to Nebraska in last year's NCAA title match. The Bears fell to the Cardinal, 3-0, in the 2006 NCAA Regional in Austin, Texas. The Big Spike will also be shown live on Comcast.

HEAD COACH Rich Feller: The most successful volleyball coach in Cal history, Rich Feller (139-100, .582 at Cal; career 438-267, .621) is in his ninth season in Berkeley. Feller led the Bears to a school-record fifth consecutive NCAA appearance and their second NCAA Regional appearance last season. In 2003, he was named Pacific Region Co-Coach of the Year and Pac-10 Coach of the Year after leading Cal to an NCAA Regional 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 IDAHO, NORTHEASTERN AND FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL: Cal will be playing Idaho (12-18 in '06) and Northeastern (15-12 in '06) for the first time this week, and has a 1-0 all-time record against Florida International (24-8 in '06) after defeating the Golden Panthers in the final of the Florida International Invitational last year in Pharmed Arena. Idaho is coached by Debbie Buchanan (eighth year at UI) and is led by 5-11 junior outside hitter Haley Larsen (3.34kpg in '06). Northeastern is coached by Ken Nichols (eighth year at NU) and is paced by 5-10 senior outside hitter and team captain Kira Batura (3.13kpg in '06). Florida International is coached by Danijela Tomic (third year at FIU) and is led by 5-10 sophomore outside hitter Yarimar Rosa (5.14kpg in '06) who is the 2007 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Player of the Year.

CAL'S AVCA RANKING: Cal's No. 12 ranking is the seventh time in school history the Bears have been preseason ranked, but the fifth time since Feller became head coach in 1999. Cal was ranked 17th at the start of last season, 19th in 2005, 10th in 2004, 24th in 2003, ninth in 1989 and 12th in 1983. The Bears finished 13th last year after advancing to an NCAA Regional where they fell to No. 2-ranked Stanford, 3-0, in Austin, Texas. Cal has been ranked a total of 98 times since 1982, reaching as high as a No. 5 ranking on Oct. 13, 2003. The highest the Bears have ever been ranked at the end of a season was 10th in 1982.

BEARS' TOURNAMENT SUCCESS: Cal will be looking for its 11th tournament title in the last six years when it hosts the Cal Molten Classic Tournament this weekend. Last season, Cal captured the Cal Molten Classic, The Florida International Invite in Miami and the Golden Bear Invitational. Pressey and Cutura were the Co-MVPs of the Cal Molten Classic, Cutura was the MVP of the Florida International Invitational and Pressey was the MVP of the Golden Bear Invitational. Pressey has now been all-tournament six consecutive times. Other all-tournament selections from Cal in 2006 included setter Samantha Carter and libero Jillian Davis (named Defensive Standout) in the Cal Molten Classic, Pressey and Carter at the Florida International Invitational, and Carter, Cutura and Beck in the Golden Bear Invitational. The Bears also 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 those tournament championships.

CAL VOLLEYBALL 2006 REVIEW: Cal finished 13th in the AVCA poll last season after winning NCAA first and second rounds in San Luis Obispo. The Bears advanced to the NCAA round of 16 for the second time in school history as a result of 3-1 victories over then No. 16-ranked LSU, and then No. 14-ranked Cal Poly. Cal went on to face No. 2-ranked and eventual national runner-up Stanford on Dec. 8 at Gregory Gymnasium on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin, falling in three close games - 31-29, 30-25, 31-29 - to conclude the year 22-10. The Bears, who received an at-large selection to the postseason for the fifth consecutive year, started the season 11-0 and captured the Cal Molten Classic, the Florida International Invitational and the Golden Bear Invitational. Of Cal's 10 losses last season, nine came against teams ranked higher in the AVCA national poll. The Bears' 22 victories marked only the sixth time in school history Cal had captured 20 or more matches. Feller is the only Cal coach to lead the Bears to an NCAA Regional, and has now accomplished the feat twice (2003, 2006). Several Bears have had standout performances in 2006. Pressey led Cal with 487 kills and 4.39 kills per game, was tournament MVP of the Cal Molten Classic and the Golden Bear Invitational, and was the Aug. 28 Pac-10 Player of the Week. Senior setter Carter finished her career as Cal's all-time assist leader with 5,777 assists and is only the fifth Pac-10 player to ever reach 5,000 career assists. Senior libero Davis is now the school's all-time digs leader with 1,810 career digs. Orchard hit .305 and led the Bears with 168 total blocks, the second-most single-season blocks in school history. Beck was second on the team with 127 blocks and third with 306 kills, while as a freshman Cutura was second on the team with 392 kills and was Co-MVP of the Cal Molten Classic, and was the MVP of the Florida International Invitational.

BEARS' 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' 2007 schedule includes six teams ranked in the CSTV/AVCA Preseason Poll, with four of those opponents coming from the Pac-10. Cal will take on No. 2 Stanford, No. 5 UCLA, No. 6 USC and No. 8 Washington in league play. The Bears will also face some extremely talented foes in non-conference action. Cal hosts No. 9-ranked Minnesota at 7 p.m. Sept. 8 in the final match of the Golden Bear Invitational, and No. 24 Santa Clara Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Leavey Center in Santa Clara.

CAL ON THE TUBE: The Bears will be televised four times this season, including three live home broadcasts on Comcast SportsNet and an Oct. 4 match at Oregon, shown delayed on Fox Sports Net. The live broadcasts on Comcast will feature Cal's Sept. 8 match-up against Big Ten powerhouse Minnesota. The Golden Gophers were 26-8 last season and fell to eventual national champion Nebraska, 3-2, in an NCAA Regional final. The additional Haas Pavilion home matches shown live at 7 p.m. on Comcast will be the Friday, Sept. 21 Big Spike between Stanford and Cal, and the Friday, Sept. 28 USC-Cal match.

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