No. 6 Golden Bears Face No. 18 Cyclones At NCAA Regional Semifinal In Wisconsin
Dec. 3, 2007
NCAA Regional Semifinal
Friday, Dec. 7 - 5 p.m. CST
Wisconsin Field House
vs. No. 18 Iowa State
NCAA Regional Final (w/ Fri. win)
Saturday, Dec. 8 - 8 p.m. CST
Wisconsin Field House
vs. No. 24 Michigan St./No. 2 Nebraska
BEAR NOTES: The No. 6 California volleyball team (24-7, 12-6 Pac-10) advanced to the Wisconsin Regional of the 2007 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Tournament with first and second round victories over Big South Champion Liberty (27-9) and site-host No. 22 Duke (25-7) respectively this weekend at historic Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. With the victories, the Golden Bears move into the round of 16 for only the third time in program history; each time under the direction of current head coach, Rich Feller. Cal will match-up against Iowa State (19-13, 11-9 Big 12) at the Wisconsin Field House on Friday, Dec. 7 in a 5 p.m. CST start (3 p.m. PST). The winner of the match will move on to face the winner of No. 24 Michigan State (21-13, 10-10 Big 10) vs. No. 2 Nebraska (29-1, 19-1 Big 12) in the round of eight on Saturday, Dec. 8 in an 8 p.m. CST match (6 p.m. PST). Iowa State upset regional site-host then-No. 8 Wisconsin in a three-game sweep over the weekend to face the Bears as one of the final 16 teams left in the tournament. Matches will be webcast courtesy of the NCAA. Please check www.ncaasports.com or www.calbears.com for links and information.
CAL IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: With this season's selection, California made its sixth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, a program record. The Bears have now made postseason NCAA play eleven times. Prior to the current six-season run, Cal made the NCAA Tournament in 1982-83 and 1987-89 emerging from that era with a 3-5 record. Under the direction of head coach Rich Feller, the Bears have won each of the six first-round matches that they have been in and have now advanced to the regional semifinal three times; once also in 2003 (a program first) and once again in 2006. California holds a 9-5 NCAA postseason record with coach Feller.
CALIFORNIA POSTSEASON HONORS: Five Golden Bears were honored last week with postseason Pac-10 Conference honors. Senior outside hitter Angie Pressey was named to the All-Pac-10 Team for the fourth time while sophomore outside hitter Hana Cutura made her first appearance on the team. Senior middle hitter Ellen Orchard and junior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck each made repeat honorable mention appearances. Freshman setter Carli Lloyd was also honored with her selection to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team.
RUNNING WITH THE PAC: California is not the only team from the Pac-10 Conference to have been selected to the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Cal joined five other Pac-10 selections among the field of 64 including top-seeded Stanford. Stanford is also the highest-ranked team from the Pac-10, weighing in at No. 4 in this week's CSTV/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll and will be hosting a regional final this week. Joining the Cardinal in the Stanford regional are eighth-seeded UCLA and Oregon. USC was awarded a fifth seed and will be hosted first and second round matches in the Gainesville, Fla. Regional. Sixth-seeded Washington was sent to the Penn State Regional and opened play at home falling to No. 17 BYU in the second round.
LAST WEEK: The Bears traveled to Durham, N.C. to open the 2007 NCAA Tournament facing Big South Champion Liberty. Coming out of the gate strong, Cal took game one by a score of 30-20 but faltered in the second, earning the dubious distinction of having allowed the Lady Flames' first ever NCAA game-win. The Bears returned to form and crushed Liberty with strong hitting and stronger blocking to win the match 3-1. Sophomore outside hitter Hana Cutura led the Bears with 21 kills (.360) and contributed to Cal's strong hitting percentage, finishing the match with 67 kills (15e, 151att) and a .344 mark. The win against Liberty gives head coach Rich Feller a perfect 6-0 record in NCAA first round matches. The Bears faced site-host No. 22 Duke on the second night and seemed to need a little time to adjust to the fast pace of the Blue Devil game. Falling behind early, Duke came back and claimed game-one with a narrow 31-29 edge. The Bears had to battle for game two, pushing hard at the end to gain a 30-28 decision. For the match, Cal hit .317 with 74 kills on 164 attacks (22e) and had 20 total team blocks in the effort against the Blue Devils. Cal increased its hitting percentage from game two to three and then from game three to four to put the Devils away for the right to advance to Wisconsin. The Bears were once again led by sophomore outside Cutura, who had 24 kills while posting a .310 hitting percentage.
NO. 18 IOWA STATE NOTES: The Cyclones upset regional host then-No. 8 Wisconsin to advance to the round of 16. Iowa State is in the NCAA Tournament for only the third time in school history but has made history by being the first squad to advance to regional play and this week became the first Iowa State team to ever receive a national ranking coming in at No. 18 in the latest CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Cyclones have won a school-record three consecutive matches against ranked opponents are winners of four of their last five with the only loss coming at the hands of No. 3 Texas in five games. Iowa State finished fifth in their conference but is one of only three still-active Big 12 teams; the other two are No. 2 Nebraska and No. 3 Texas. The Cyclones are led by senior outside hitter Erin Boeve's team-high 430 kills (3.55 kpg) and 164 total blocks (1.36 bpg). Freshman defensive specialist Ashley Mass has 521 digs on the year (4.27 dpg) and is second on the team with 30 service aces (0.25 sapg). The Bears have never matched-up against Iowa State.
NO. 2 NEBRASKA NOTES: Nebraska is the current defending NCAA Champion and enters the weekend as the second-seeded team in the tournament. The Cornhuskers have won three NCAA championships throughout their illustrious volleyball history (1985, 2000, and 2006). Nebraska hosted first and second round matches in Lincoln, Neb. and defeated South Dakota State and Wichita State each in 3-0 sweeps to advance to the regional. The Nebraska's only loss of the year was at the hands of a then-No. 5 Texas team, which it ended up sharing conference title honors with. The Huskers are led by senior right-side hitter Sarah Pavan who is averaging 4.88 kills per game and has amassed 464 on 959 attacks this season. Pavan also serves at a high rate, putting up 0.52 service aces per game. The Bears have faced Nebraska twice in school history with both matches in 1983 coming up losses, 3-1 and 3-0.
NO. 24 MICHIGAN STATE NOTES: Michigan State returns to the top 25 poll for the first time since 2003 and has also advanced to the NCAA Regional for the first time since 2003. The Spartans have made NCAA postseason play 12 times in school history and are coming off their fifth-consecutive victory, a span through which they dropped only one game. Michigan State is considered one of the top offensive teams in the country, ranking 16th nationally in assists per game (15.46), and 17th in the nation in kills per game (16.76). Senior outside hitters Ashley Schatzle and Katie Johnson lead the Spartan attack with 532 and 523 kills, respectively. Freshman setter Lauren O'Reilly holds the school's freshman assist record with 1,555 so far this season and ranks 16th in the country with 13.29 per game. The Bears have never faced Michigan State.
HEAD COACH Rich Feller: The most successful volleyball coach in Cal history, Rich Feller (163-107, .604 at Cal; career 462-274, .628) is in his ninth season at Berkeley. Feller has led the Bears to a school-record sixth consecutive NCAA appearance. This season, Feller guided the Bears to their third NCAA regional appearance in school history. With this years' win over Washington State, Feller led the Bears to their fourth 20-win season in sex years. 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.
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 four-time All-Pac-10 selection, is currently third on Cal's all-time kills list (1,674). Pressey is also sixth all-time with a .246 career hitting percentage and third with 4,105 attacks, surpassing Alicia Perry (1997-2000) earlier this season. 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 (.299), behind only former Cal All-American Camille Leffall (.363). Orchard's 20 total blocks against USC and UCLA on the road this season secured the top career mark for total blocks by a Cal player, surpassing the old record of 438 held by Leffall (2001-2004). She currently has 491 heading into the postseason regional round. As a senior, Orchard has the school's second most single-season blocks to-date with 179 and as a junior, she had the school's third-most single-season blocks (168) and the sixth-best hitting percentage (.305). Orchard's hitting percentage this season would be fifth at .333.
A HELPING HAND: True freshman setter Carli Lloyd has amassed 1,424 assists in her first year for the Bears. Her total is already good for fourth all-time for an individual season total. She is within 26 assists of ranking second on that list and has already reached sixth on the career-ladder for total assists at Cal. Her season-high 69 assists against USC in Los Angeles on Oct. 26 were just 10 shy of the Cal record of 79 for a match. Lloyd's 12.71 apg average is fourth in the Pac-10.
PLAYING THE PERCENTAGES: The Golden Bears set a new school record for hitting percentage in a match on Sept. 1 against UNC-Wilmington at the Colorado Invitational. Cal had 43 kills with only three errors on 57 attacks to register a .702 hitting percentage, a Pac-10 record and fifth on the NCAA all-time record for three-game matches. The old school 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 .267 in 31 matches (1,805 kills, 683 errors, 4,203 attacks) and finished conference play fourth amongst Pac-10 teams. Senior middle hitter Ellen Orchard, sophomore middle hitter Minid Wiley and redshirt sophomore middle hitter Kat Reilly have the teams highest individual percentages with .333, .329 and .328 respectively. Reilly's .909 (10k, 0e, 11att) against Santa Clara is tied for seventh best all-time in Pac-10 history.
TOP OF THE BLOCK: Averaging 3.75 blocks per game, the Bears are far and away the best blocking team in the Pac-10 this season. Cal has two of the top four blockers in the Pac-10 on the roster. Senior middle hitter Ellen Orchard leads the conference in blocks individually, putting up 1.61 blocks per game and redshirt sophomore middle hitter Kat Reilly is tied for third with 1.42 bpg. Orchard registered the highest total blocking output for a single game amongst Pac-10 players this season with her school record 13 and has had 10 or more blocks five 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. In 31 games, the Bears have reached double figures in total blocks on 28 occasions, reaching at least 16 nine times and the 20-block mark three times.
ON THE LOW DOWN: Cal has been beating opponents with strong defense at the net, holding four opponents to negative hitting percentages. The Bears' .143 opponent hitting percentage is the best mark in the Pac-10. Cal has surrendered a better-than .250 hitting percentage only three times this season, all losses. The Bears are 22-2 when they hit a better percentage than their opponent. The losses were to UCLA at Haas Pavilion, to Washington at Bank of America Arena and to Stanford at Maples Pavilion.
ACES UP: California leads the Pac-10 with an average of 1.74 service aces per game. Sophomore outside hitter Hana Cutura leads the team with 33 aces and a 0.31 sapg average. Fellow sophomore outside hitter Cat Dailey averages 0.34 sapg with 21 on the year. Three other players have 27 total aces; sophomore libero Kristen Kathan (0.26 sapg), senior middle Ellen Orchard (0.24 sapg), and freshman setter Carli Lloyd (0.24 sapg). Cal has reached the 10-ace mark as a team in three separate matches this season, reaching nine aces on five other occasions. Six different Cal players have had four aces or more in single matches (Murphy, Dailey, Kathan, Pressey, Hana Cutura and Ellen Orchard).
DIGGING DEEP: Cal's defense at the net and conference leading blocking average has shown up on an opposite statistic as the Bears are not high in the Pac-10 ranks in digs, averaging 14.00 per game. Sophomore libero Kristen Kathan has come on strong of late, in eighth in conference with 3.72 dpg. She has had 16-straight contests with double digits in digs, reaching 29, 25, 19 and 18 twice during that span.
ON AN HONOR ROLL: In addition to postseason All-Pac-10 selections, several Golden Bears have received tournament honors this season. Seniors Angie Pressey and Ellen Orchard were named to the Molten Classic All-Tournament Team along with freshman setter Carli Lloyd who was selected as the tournament's outstanding setter. Pressey was named the tournament MVP for her performance. Pressey joined redshirt sophomore Kat Reilly on the All-Tournament Team at the 2007 Colorado Invitational. Hosting and winning the 2007 Golden Bear Invitational, four different Bears received All-Tournament team honors after defeating then-No. 12 Minnesota in a 3-0 sweep. Pressey, Orchard and Lloyd were joined by junior outside/middle Morgan Beck. Orchard was named the tournament MVP while Lloyd was once again named the outstanding setter. Sophomore outside hitter Hana Cutura and Reilly were named to the All-Tournament team at the Santa Clara Invitational.
BEARS IN TV LAND: The Cal vs. Stanford match at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. on Nov. 23 was selected as the Fox Sports Net Pac-10 game of the week, making it the fifth time this season that the Bears have appeared on television. The Bears 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. The Cal match at Oregon was also shown on television, delayed on Fox Sports Net. Overall, the Bears are 2-3 when televised.
2007 SCHEDULE: Cal once again completed a season amidst what is arguably the most challenging volleyball conference in the nation - the Pac-10. The Bears' 2007 schedule included eight teams ranked in the CSTV/AVCA Preseason Poll, with five of those opponents coming from the Pac-10. Cal faced No. 4 Stanford, No. 5 USC, No. 8 UCLA, No. 9 Oregon, and No. 10 Washington 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. In tournament play, the Bears defeated then-No. 22 ranked Duke and will face No. 18 Iowa State this weekend.
CAL'S PRESEASON 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, Texas. Cal has been ranked a total of 112 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.
ON WISCONSIN: The Grand Old Badger State is a familiar place to California assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Chris Bigelow. She used to serve as an assistant coach for Wisconsin from 1995-98 helping the Badgers to three NCAA Tournament appearances; twice finishing in the round of 16 and two other times, advancing to the regional final. While at Wisconsin, Bigelow also helped the Badgers to a Big-10 Co-Conference Championship.
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 Jeremy Wagner, a Cal volleyball supporter who 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 youths to write and produce their own books.
BEAR INTEGRITY: Redshirt sophomore middle hitter Kat Reilly is currently the vice-president of the Cal Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) 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 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 Bear on the roster hailing from a foreign country. A native of Zagreb, Croatia, Cutura's parents were 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. Cutura leads the team this season with 437 kills and 1048 total attacks. Her 0.31 service aces per game is also a team-best and her defensive prowess has netted her five double-double matches this year alone. Cutura's 29 kills against Stanford on Nov. 23 were a career high. Aside from two players from Texas (Orchard and Reilly) and one from Florida (Pressey) everyone else on Cal's roster is from California.
CLASS OF 2012: The Golden Bears have received National Letters of Intent from two of the nation's most sought-after volleyball prospects, Tarah Murrey and Shannon Hawari. Standing at 6-3, outside hitter Tarah Murrey is regarded as one of the top two recruits, Murrey hails form a family rich in athletic tradition. A local product, prepping at Saint Mary's HS in Berkeley and starring for the Golden Bear Bolleyball Club, she earned Bay Shore Athletic League MVP honors three consecutive years (2005-07). As a junior, she was named the 2006 Contra Costa Times Player of the Year. Murrey also brings international experience with her as a member of the USA Youth National Team. Hawari prepped at Plano West HS where she also runs track. A 6-2 middle blocker, Hawari starred with one of the top club teams in Texas, the Texas Advantage. She is Prep Volleyball's No. 23 recruit in the nation and was named the Prep Volleyball Classic's Outstanding Hitter this year. Hawari brings National Junior Olympics experience as a 2006 bronze medal winner and led her club squad to back to back Big South Tourney Championships.
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.
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