No. 10 Cal Hosts Washington And Washington State
Oct. 10, 2007
BERKELEY - BEAR NOTES: The No. 10 California volleyball team (12-4, 2-3 Pac-10) won its first conference matches last week as they defeated No. 19 Oregon in four games and swept Oregon State on the road. The two victories pushed the Bears into sixth place in the conference as they prepare to host No. 8 Washington (16-0, 5-0) at Haas Pavilion on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Washington State (9-10, 0-5) on Friday at 6 p.m. The match against the Huskies will be the fourth against a top-20 opponent in Cal's last five matches.
2007 QUICK CAL OUTLOOK: 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 1,409 career kills (Washington's Christal Morrison is first with 1,557). 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 400 behind only Arizona's Dominique Lamb and is on pace to break the all-time Cal record for total career blocks (Camille LeFall, 438). 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.
NO. 8 WASHINGTON NOTES: The Huskies come into Haas Pavilion with an unblemished 16-0 record on the season, with five wins in conference play. Ranked eighth, Washington is led by senior outside hitter Stevie Mussie's 4.67 kills per game. The Huskies lead the Pac-10 in hitting percentage as a team with .337 and are also tops in the conference in opponent hitting percentage, holding opposition to .099 for the year. Three Husky players are amongst the top four in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage while freshman setter Jenna Hagglund is second in the conference in assists with 13.80 per game. Washington holds a seven-game edge on the Bears in the all-time series (27-20), having won the last six meetings. Both the Huskies and the Bears exited last season's NCAA tournament in 3-0 sweeps at the hands of the Stanford Cardinal.
WASHINGTON STATE NOTES: The Cougars are struggling this season, still looking for their first Pac-10 conference win after opening the year with a 9-5 non-conference record. The Cougars have won only one game in their last 13 and have been swept seven times in 2007. Washington State last recorded a victory on Sept. 8 and are entering the weekend on an eight-match skid. Freshman middle blocker Cassie Robbins recorded four solo blocks in a match against Gonzaga and is one of only four three Pac-10 players to have accomplished the feat this season. Sophomore left side hitter Jackie Albright leads the Cougars with 211 kills on 660 attacks. However, Washington State's .180 hitting percentage is the lowest in the Pac-10. The Bears have a four-game lead on the Cougars in the all-time series (26-22) and have put together a string of eight victories in a row dating back to 2003. The last time the Cougars won at Cal was in 2001, when Haas Pavilion was still called Harmon Gymnasium.
IN THE RECORD BOOKS: 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 third on Cal's all-time kill list (1,409) surpassing No. 3 Mia Jerkov this past week. Pressey is also sixth all-time with a .240 career hitting percentage and fifth with 3,510 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 (.290). Orchard has also registered the fourth highest total career blocks (400) by a Golden Bear and is within reach of the all-time mark set by Camille LeFall (2001-04). 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 (151-104, .592 at Cal; career 450-271, .624) 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.
PLAYING THE PERCENTAGES: 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 in 2007, the Bears are hitting .275 in 16 matches (828 kills, 302 errors, 1912 attempts) and are fourth highest amongst Pac-10 teams. Redshirt sophomore middle hitter Kat Reilly is fifth in the conference with a .399 percentage (87 kills, 20 errors, 168 attempts).
BLOCK PARTY: The Bears lead the Pac-10 in blocks per game as a team with 3.85 bpg. Senior middle hitter Ellen Orchard is second in the conference, putting up 1.63 blocks per game and redshirt sophomore middle hitter Kat Reilly is third with 1.60 bpg. Orchard registered the highest total block output for a single game amongst Pac-10 players with her school record 13 and has had 10 or more blocks three times this season. The 23 total team blocks logged by the Bears against UCLA on Sept. 27 is a Pac-10 conference best for 2007.
ON THE LOW DOWN: Cal has been beating opponents with strong defense at the net, holding four teams to negative hitting percentages. The teams' .112 opponent hitting percentage is second in the Pac-10, Washington is first (.099). The Bears have surrendered a better-than .200 hitting percentage only four times this season, three of those times in losses. Cal's only win when allowing their opponent to hit better than .200 came against No. 19 Oregon last week (.223).
ACES UP: California is second in the Pac-10 with an average of 2.00 service aces per game. Freshman defensive specialist/libero Caitlyn Murphy is seventh in the Pac-10 with a 0.38 per game average and sophomore defensive specialist Kristen Kathan is ninth in the conference with 0.37 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. Five different Cal players have had four aces or more in single matches this season (Murphy, Kathan, Pressey, Cutura and Orchard).
BEARS IN TV LAND: Cal's match against Oregon was shown delayed on Fox Sports Net on Sunday, Oct. 7 at noon and will be shown 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.
2007 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 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 AVCA RANKING: 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.
GOLDEN RENAISSANCE: The Golden Bears are honored to have had the generous support of the Renaissance Fund over the years. The fund was started by a Cal volleyball supporter named Jeremy Wagner and is the main benefactor for the annual Golden Bear Invitational. Working closely with Sports 4 Kids, the Foundation also serves the athletic needs of student athletes in and around the Oakland-Alameda area, providing athletic opportunities, educational enrichment and after-school programs for inner-city youth.
READING IS ACHIEVING: Junior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck has started an organization as a part of a class project that benefits local Berkeley youth through promoting literacy. The Sandy Martin Foundation rallies Cal student-athletes and sends them out to local elementary schools to do special read-aloud hours in the classroom, providing young students with positive role models and examples of a successful student. Working in conjunction with Malcom X Elementary School, student-athletes will also lead the classroom in the development of a project that encourages youth to write and produce their own books. As a part of the effort to build and sustain the organization, the Golden Bears will be holding a book drive during the Washington State match at Haas Pavilion.
BEAR INTEGRITY: Redshirt sophomore middle hitter Kat Reilly is currently the vice-president of the Cal Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and will be ascending to the role of president in the spring of 2008. SAAC is a collaboration of student-athletes representing all intercollegiate teams competing for the University of California, Berkeley. The mission of Bear SAAC is to bring the student-athlete community together; provide feedback to the athletic administration on proposed conference and NCAA legislation; foster student-athlete welfare; create relationships between student-athletes and the community by organizing community service efforts and raising funds for various causes; and to become a sounding board for the athletic administration by generating a student-athlete voice where concerns are addressed.
INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: Sophomore outside hitter Hana Cutura is the only Golden Bear oin the roster hailing from a foreign country. A native of Zagreb, Croatia, Cutura's parents were each also athletes. Her father Zoran is a former Olympic basketball star for Yugoslavia and her mother, Gordana is a former member of the Croation National Volleyball Team. Aside from two players from Texas (Orchard and Reilly) and one from Florida (Pressey) everyone else on Cal's roster is from California.
CAL VOLLEYBALL 2006 REVIEW: 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.