No. 5 Cal Volleyball Hosts Golden Bear Invitational

Sept. 3, 2008

BERKELEY, Calif. -

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No. 5-ranked California volleyball team looks to capitalize on the momentum gained from two three-set sweeps of St. John's and UC Santa Barbara in last weekend's Cal Molten Classic. This weekend, the Golden Bears play host to DePaul, James Madison and UC Riverside in the Golden Bear Invitational. Freshman outside hitter Tarah Murrey will face her sister, junior setter Brittney Murrey when Cal takes on the UCR Highlanders in the tournament's final match at 7 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 6).

THE FACTS: No. 5 Cal (2-0, 0-0 Pac-10) hosts DePaul (0-2), James Madison (2-2) and UC Riverside (3-1) this weekend (Sept. 5-6) in the Golden Bear Invitational at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. DePaul will take on UC Riverside Friday, Sept. 5 at 4:30 p.m. followed by the Bears' matchup with James Madison at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Sept. 6, two matches will be played simultaneously at noon as James Madison faces UC Riverside and Cal takes on DePaul. At 4:30 p.m., James Madison will play DePaul before Cal and UC Riverside close out the tournament with a 7 p.m. joust. Live statistics for all three Cal matches will be available via GameTracker and fans can watch the Bears live on the internet via Cal All-Access. Please visit www.CalBears.com for links to stats and video.

LLOYD NAMED PAC-10 VOLLEYBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd was named the Pac-10 Volleyball Player of the Week for the week of Aug. 23-Aug. 31 after earning honors as the Outstanding Setter and MVP of the Cal Molten Classic. Lloyd posted 66 assists in two matches (11.0 aps) and added eight kills without an error, 10 digs and five blocks. The award is the first for a Cal player since Angie Pressey received it for the week of Aug. 28, 2006. It is the first such honor for Lloyd and the 23rd for Cal.

LAST WEEK: The Bears took to the court for the first time in 2008 and came away with two 3-0 victories in the Cal Molten Classic. Junior outside hitter Hana Cutura led the way against St. John's with 13 kills (3e, 23att, .435) as the Bears laid waste to the Red Storm 25-14, 25-22, 25-18. The Bears hit .253 as a team (36k, 14e, 87att) and posted 12.0 total team blocks. Cutura posted 12 kills against UC Santa Barbara to lead the Bears once again (4e, 26att, .308) and added nine digs to her stat line as Cal went away winning 25-15, 25-14, 25-21. But it was sophomore setter Carli Lloyd who stole the show, earning Outstanding Setter and Tournament MVP honors by posting 66 assists, eight kills and 10 digs on the weekend. Senior middle hitter Kat Reilly logged an impressive match, hitting for an efficient .800 against the Gauchos (8k, 0e, 10att). Cutura also received all-tournament honors along with junior defensive specialist/libero Kristen Kathan, who was named the tournament's defensive standout.

DEPAUL NOTES: Opening up their season at the Chicagoland Classic, the Blue Demons came away with two 3-2 losses on their record, falling once each to Loyola and Illinois-Champaign. DePaul was led by sophomore middle blocker Jacie Fiedler who has compiled 24 kills (2.40 kps) over the two matches and is hitting .310 (6e, 58att). Sophomore setter Christy Landschoot had an impressive tournament as well, logging 73 assists (7.3 aps) and adding 13 kills and 26 digs against the two opponents. Led by fourth-year head coach Amy Kleyweg, the Blue Demons went 7-21 last season. This is the first meeting between Cal and DePaul.

JAMES MADISON NOTES: The Dukes come to Berkeley with a 2-2 record after hosting the JMU/Days Inn Invitational. James Madison is led by senior middle blocker Michelle Johnson, who is averaging 3.19 kps (51k, 17e, 97att) and hitting a team-high .351. Johnson is a local product, hailing from Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, Calif. Sophomore outside hitter Lindsay Callahan is second on the team with 50 kills and is hitting .145 this season (31e, 131att). The Dukes are led by ninth year head coach Disa Gardner (135-94 at James Madison). This is the first meeting between Cal and James Madison.

UC RIVERSIDE NOTES: The Highlanders are 3-1 in 2008, winning their three neutral-site matches at the Montana Tournament last weekend. UCR will face No. 6-ranked UCLA (Sept. 3) before arriving at the Golden Bear Invitational. Senior outside hitter Kelly Fink leads the Highlanders with 63 kills (4.20 kps). Junior starting setter Brittney Murrey is averaging 8.87 aps and was named to the Montana Tournament all-tournament team along with Fink. Murrey is the older sister of Cal freshman outside hitter Tarah Murrey. 39th year head coach Sue Gozansky holds a 675-497-16 record with the Highlanders and is 1-1 against the Golden Bears in the all-time series.

IN THE RANKS: Cal's No. 5 preseason ranking in the CBS College Sports Network/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll marks the eighth time in school history that the Bears have been ranked to open a season; the sixth time since Rich Feller became head coach in 1999. The Bears were ranked No. 12 at the start of 2007, No. 17 to open 2006, No. 19 in 2005, No. 10 in 2004 and No. 24 in 2003. Cal's two other preseason rankings came in 1989 (No. 9) and 1983 (No. 12). Setting a program-best mark in 2007, the Bears finished the season in the No. 4 spot after reaching the NCAA national semifinal, where they fell 3-0 to eventual NCAA champion Penn State. Cal has been ranked a total of 116 times since 1982.

2008 SCHEDULE: Cal will once again compete in what is arguably the most challenging collegiate women's volleyball conference in the nation - the Pacific-10. The Bears' 2008 schedule includes seven teams ranked in the CBS/AVCA preseason top 25 poll. St. John's and Arizona are among teams that also received votes in the initial poll. Five of the seven ranked teams are from the Pac-10, setting the Bears up for what looks to be at least 12 matches against top-25 ranked teams.

THE PACIFIC-10 CONFERENCE: The Pac-10 is home to six teams ranked in the most recent CBS/AVCA top 25 poll, including Cal at No. 5. Topping all conference teams is 2007 NCAA runner-up Stanford at No. 3. Just outside the top 5 are UCLA checking in at No. 6 and USC at No. 7. No. 9 Washington and No. 11 Oregon are the other two Pac-10 teams ranked in the top 25. Arizona also received votes in the most recent poll of coaches.

CAPTAIN CRUNCH: Cal will benefit from the leadership of three captains this season. Seniors Kat Reilly, Morgan Beck and Am'ra Solomon will each take the roll of co-team captain for 2008. Reilly brings her experience as the president of the Cal Student-Athlete Advisory Council to the court while Beck carries three years of on-court familiarity. Solomon's passion for the game and the team are apparent when she takes the court, often leading the team in cheers.

OUTSIDE INFLUENCE: The Bears return several weapons at the outside hitter position in 2008, including All-American junior Hana Cutura. Cutura leads the team in total kills with 25 (7e, 49att, .367) and kills per set (4.17 kps). She also does her share of work on defense, picking up 11 digs thus far. Senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck has logged 13 kills (2.17 kps) and eight total blocks (1.33 bps) after earning All-Pac-10 honorable mention in 2007. Senior Am'ra Solomon has put down 10 kills (2.00 kps) with a .292 attack percentage (3e, 24att). Solomon netted 80 kills (2.58 kps) last season in limited action. The Bears also add freshman Tarah Murrey (5k, 1e, 11att, .083) to the lineup this season.

MIDDLE METTLE: Senior middle hitter Kat Reilly enters her final season with the Bears as the incumbent starter. Reilly appeared in just 85 sets last year, protecting her knee after recovering from an injury sustained as a freshman. Last season, Reilly logged 147 kills and hit for .325 (44e, 317att), the sixth-best single season output by a Bear. She also ranked second on the team a year ago with a 1.36 bps average, putting up a total of 116 blocks. This season, Reilly has been incredibly efficient, second on the team with a .471 attack percentage (9k, 1e, 17att).

DIGGING DEEP: Junior defensive specialist/libero Kristen Kathan registered the ninth-best single-season mark for digs at Cal as a sophomore in 2007 with 414 (3.70 dps). Kathan had a career-high 29 digs at USC, Oct. 26, and her digs per set average was good for ninth-best among Pac-10 players last season. This season, Kathan has already posted 24 digs in just six sets (4.00 dps).

SETTING THE SCENE: 2007 Pac-10 All-Freshman selection Carli Lloyd returns as the starting setter for the Bears. After posting 1,550 assists (12.81 dps) last year, Lloyd's postseason play earned her NCAA Wisconsin Regional all-tournament team status. In addition to setting her teammates up, Lloyd also put down 93 kills and added 111 total blocks as a freshman. As a sophomore, Lloyd is averaging 11.00 aps, with 66 in the first two matches. Lloyd also has eight kills without an error, 10 digs and five total blocks.

WILD AND WILEY: Junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley had the eighth-best single season output for hitting percentage in 2007, registering a mark of .307 (85k, 30e, 179att). Wiley shared time in the middle with since-departed Ellen Orchard and senior Kat Reilly but still managed to average 1.52 kps and put up 74 total blocks (1.32 bps) as a sophomore. In 2008, Wiley has seven kills and put up a career-high seven total blocks against St. John's on Aug. 29.

SISTER, SISTER: Freshman outside hitter Tarah Murrey comes from a family of athletes, one of which is older sister, Brittney. The elder Murrey is the starting setter for UC Riverside. Cal faces the Highlanders in what is sure to be a family-affair in the Golden Bear Invitational at Haas Pavilion on Sept. 6 at 7 p.m.

FRESH FACES: The Bears welcome five newcomers to the team this year. Topping the list is phenom outside hitter Tarah Murrey. Murrey comes to Cal as one of 2007's most highly sought-after high school recruits in the country. Her impressive resume includes Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 honors and recognition as the 2008 Gatorade California Player of the Year. Also a Fab 50 selection, freshman middle hitter Shannon Hawari looks to step in and battle for immediate playing time. Joining Murrey and Hawari in the freshman class are setter/defensive specialist Ashley Roe, setter Kristin Obermeyer and defensive specialist/libero Katherine Gorman.

NATIONAL BECKONING: Senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck spent the spring 2008 semester away from the Berkeley campus to be with the USA Women's Indoor Volleyball team in Colorado Springs, Colo. Along with since-departed Angie Pressey, Beck trained with the team under the direction of head coach 'Jenny' Lang Ping. This summer, the USA Women's Indoor Volleyball team won the silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

CROATIAN SENSATION: Hailing from Zagreb, Croatia, junior outside hitter Hana Cutura has made a smooth transition to her new surroundings. Cutura's play in the postseason earned her honors as the NCAA Wisconsin Regional MVP, an achievement her parents are quite proud of. Cutura's father, Zoran is a former Olympic basketball star for Yugoslavia while her mother, Gordana, is a former member of the Croatian National Volleyball team.

TEXAS TWO-STEP: The Cal roster will once again feature two players from the great state of Texas. With the departure of Ellen Orchard (Houston, Texas), the Bears added another middle hitter in freshman Shannon Hawari to the lineup. Hawari arrives in Berkeley from Plano, Texas, a former player at Plano West High School. Hawari joins senior Kat Reilly, who comes from Plano East High School.

CALIFORNIA GLADIATOR: Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd credits her athleticism to the training she received from uncle and coach Doug Tomlinson. Tomlinson, a former volleyball coach at Fallbrook Union High School, is better known in some circles as Turbo from the 1980's television series, 'American Gladiators.'

STORMIN' GORMANS: Freshman defensive specialist/libero Katherine Gorman's older brother Richard is a junior designated hitter on the Cal baseball team.

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