No. 10 Cal Volleyball Meets Oregon Schools On The Road

Oct. 2, 2007


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The No. 10 California volleyball team (10-4, 0-3 Pac-10) plays its first conference matches away from Haas Pavilion this week as they face No. 19 Oregon (14-2, 3-1) on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. and Oregon State (8-8, 1-3) on Friday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. The Cal-Oregon match will be broadcast by Fox Sports Net with Paul Sunderland, Holly McPeak and Karch Kiraly calling the on-court action. The FSN broadcast will be shown via tape delay on Oct. 7 and Oct. 11 both times at noon. The Golden Bears are coming off a disappointing opening to their Pac-10 season. After completing the preseason with a 10-1 record, the Bears have dropped three-straight matches, all at home and all against conference foes ranked in the AVCA top 5.

Cal returns four starters in 2007 (Angie Pressey, Ellen Orchard, Morgan Beck, and Hana Cutura) from a 2006 squad that went 22-10 overall (9-9 in the Pac-10), advanced to the NCAA Round of 16, and finished the season ranked No. 13 in the country. Cal also features six other returnees and an outstanding freshman setter, Carli Lloyd, who was named the 2006 CIF Player of the Year. The Bears are looking to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for a school-record sixth straight time in 2007. Senior team-captains All-American outside hitter Angie Pressey and HM All-Pac-10 middle hitter Ellen Orchard lead a young Golden Bears squad. Pressey is also a three-time All-Pac-10 selection and is second among currently active Pac-10 players with 1,387 career kills (Washington's Christal Morrison is first with 1,539). Orchard led the Bears with 163 blocks and a .305 hitting percentage last season. She is also second among active Pac-10 players in total blocks with 387 behind only Arizona's Dominique Lamb. Orchard was recently named MVP of the 2007 Golden Bear Invitational. Junior outside hitter/middle hitter Beck was an All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection in 2006 and was second on the team in blocks (127) and third in kills (306), while sophomore outside hitter Hana Cutura was a member of the 2006 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team after finishing second on the squad with 392 kills.

The Ducks enter Thursday's match riding a three-game winning streak and are led by junior outside hitter Gorana Maricic. Maricic is tops on the team with 251 kills and 558 attacks. Her 4.92 kpg average is also best in the Pac-10, earning her 5.51 points per game, also a Pac-10 best. As a team, the Ducks are second in the conference in kills per game average with 17.02. Oregon leads the conference in service aces (2.04 apg) thanks in part to a 0.53 apg average put up by freshman outside hitter Heather Meyers. She is also sixth in the conference in hitting percentage (.392). The Ducks were able to defeat No. 20 Ohio State on the road but lost to the only other ranked team they played when they faced No. 8 Washington at home. California has won 16 of the last 17 meetings with the Ducks but lost as recently as last season in a 3-1 decision on Oct. 19 at home. The Bears hold a 43-13 series record against the Ducks.

The Beavers enter this weekends' matches with a three-game losing streak, after being swept by Arizona and Arizona State last week. The Beavers are led by sophomore outside hitter Rachel Rourke who is second amongst conference leaders to only Oregon's Maricic in kills per game (4.47) and points (5.35). Sophomore outside hitter Bree Knitter has 93 blocks on the season and is fifth in the Pac-10 amongst total blocks per game leaders. The Bears hold a 33-17 series edge against Oregon State and won both head-to-head meetings in 2006. Cal has also won seven of the last eight matches against the Beavers dating back to 2003. Oregon State is 1-0 this season against teams ranked No. 10, defeating Hawai'i 3-0 on Aug. 26.

Angie Pressey and Ellen Orchard are in the Cal record books for both single-season and career marks. Pressey, one of four Cal All-American volleyball players in school history, and the only three-time All-Pac-10 selection, is currently fourth on Cal's all-time kill list (1,387) and needs three kills to pass No. 3 Mia Jerkov (2001-03). Pressey is also tied for sixth all-time with a .238 career hitting percentage and fifth with 3,455 kill attempts. Pressey had the fifth-most single-season kills (487) in school history in 2006. Orchard set a new school record for most total blocks in a single match with 13 against UCLA on Sept. 27 this season and has the school's second-highest career hitting percentage (.291). Orchard has also registered the fourth highest total career blocks (382) by a Golden Bear. As a junior, she had the school's second-most single-season blocks (168) and the sixth-best hitting percentage (.305).

HEAD COACH Rich Feller:
The most successful volleyball coach in Cal history, Rich Feller (149-104, .589 at Cal; career 448-271, .623) is in his ninth season at 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.

The Golden Bears set a new school record for single match hitting percentage as a team on Sept. 1 against UNC-Wilmington at the Colorado Invitational. Cal had 43 kills with only three errors in 57 attempts to register a .702 hitting percentage. The old record of .467 was set in 2001 against San Francisco. The Bears also hit for .449 against Eastern Kentucky (Sept. 8) and .446 against Central Florida (Aug. 31) this season. As a team this season, the Bears are hitting .274 in 14 matches (714 kills, 262 errors, 1652 attempts) and are fifth amongst Pac-10 teams. Redshirt sophomore middle hitter Kat Reilly is third in the conference with a .427 percentage (80 kills, 16 errors, 150 attempts).

The Bears lead the Pac-10 and are tops in the nation in blocks as a team with 3.91 bpg. Redshirt sophomore middle hitter Kat Reilly leads the conference with 1.77 bpg (fourth in the country) but senior middle hitter Ellen Orchard isn't far behind (1.60) for third in the Pac-10 and 16th nationally. Orchard is also one of only three players in the Pac-10 to have notched 10 blocks in a single match this season, with 13 once for a Cal record. The 23 total team blocks logged by the Bears against UCLA on Sept. 27 is a Pac-10 conference best for 2007.

Cal has been beating opponents with strong defense at the net, holding four teams to negative hitting percentages. The teams' .107 opponent hitting percentage is second in the Pac-10, Washington is first (.101). The Bears have surrendered a better-than .200 hitting percentage only three times this season, all losses.

California is second in the Pac-10 with an average of 2.00 service aces per game. Freshman defensive specialist/libero Caitlyn Murphy is fourth in the Pac-10 with a 0.42 per game average and sophomore defensive specialist Kristen Kathan is seventh in the conference with 0.41 aces per game. Senior outside hitter Angie Pressey (0.37 apg) is tied for tenth. The Bears have also reached the 10-ace mark as a team in two separate matches this season.

Cal's match against Oregon will be shown delayed on Fox Sports Net on Sunday, Oct. 7 at noon and again on Thursday, Oct. 11 at noon. The Bears also appeared on three live telecasts this season in matches against Minnesota (Sept. 8), Stanford (Sept. 21) and USC (Sept. 28) each time on Comcast SportsNet.

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 eight teams ranked in the CSTV/AVCA Preseason Poll, with five of those opponents coming from the Pac-10. Cal will take on No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 USC, No. 5 UCLA, No. 8 Washington and No. 19 Oregon twice each in league play. Outside of the conference, the Bears defeated a then-No. 12 Minnesota team and also notched a victory over then-No. 22 Santa Clara.

Cal's No. 12 pre-season ranking marks the seventh time in school history that the Bears have been ranked to open a season, the fifth time since Feller became head coach in 1999. Cal was ranked 17th at the start of 2006, 19th in 2005, 10th in 2004, 24th in 2003, ninth in 1989 and 12th in 1983. The Bears finished 13th in 2006 after advancing to the NCAA Regional where they fell to No. 2 Stanford, 3-0, in Austin, Tex. Cal has been ranked a total of 100 times since 1982, reaching as high as fifth on Oct. 13, 2003. The highest the Bears have ever been ranked at the end of a season was 10th in 1982.

Cal finished 13th in the AVCA poll after advancing to the round of 16 for the second time in school history with 3-1 victories over then No. 16 LSU, and then No. 14 Cal Poly. Facing 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, Cal fell 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. 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 that Cal has captured 20 or more matches. Rich 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 had standout performances in 2006. Angie Pressey led Cal with 487 kills and 4.39 kills per game, was tournament Co-MVP of the Cal Molten Classic and the Golden Bear Invitational, and was the Aug. 28 Pac-10 Player of the Week. Senior setter Samantha 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 Jilian Davis set the schools all-time digs record with 1,810 career digs. Ellen Orchard hit .305 and led the Bears with 168 total blocks, the second-most single-season blocks in school history. Morgan Beck was second on the team with 127 blocks and third with 306 kills, while as a freshman Hana Cutura was second on the team with 392 kills and was Co-MVP of the Cal Molten Classic, and MVP of the Florida International Invitational.

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