No. 8 Cal Heads North for Pac-10 Clash with No. 9 Huskies and Cougars
Oct. 1, 2008
BERKELEY - The No. 8-ranked California volleyball team puts its seven-match winning streak on the line when it plays its first Pac-10 road matches in the Pacific Northwest. The Golden Bears have not lost a set in their last 17 tries, dating back to Sept. 14 against Cal Poly, and hold a perfect record (12-0) when posting a higher hitting percentage or more team blocks (11-0) than their opponents. No. 9 Washington struggled in its conference opener on the road at Arizona and Arizona State, getting by with 3-2 wins in each while Washington State fell in 3-0 sweeps in both of its matches in the desert. The Huskies and the Cougars will go up against the Pac-10 leader in assists (13.64 aps) and kills (14.76 kps) as the Bears look to extend their conference success.
THE FACTS: No. 8 Cal (12-1, 2-0 Pac-10) plays its first conference road matches this weekend as it visits No. 9 Washington (11-1, 2-0 Pac-10) on Friday (Oct. 3) for a 7 p.m. match at Bank of America Arena in Seattle, Wash. and Washington State (7-6, 0-2 Pac-10) on Saturday (Oct. 4) for a 7 p.m. match at Bohler Gym in Pullman, Wash. The Golden Bears have won their last seven matches, including 17 consecutive set wins, dating back to Sept. 14. Gametracker statistics will be available for the Washington match via www.GoHuskies.com.
LAST WEEK: Cal opened the Pac-10 season with two strong 3-0 wins over a No. 11-ranked Oregon squad and Oregon State. The Golden Bears rarely trailed in both matches, stunning the Ducks with a big 25-20, 25-15, 25-15 victory and completing a 25-14, 25-18, 25-15 win over the Beavers. Senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon tied for the team-lead with junior outside Hana Cutura, each getting 11 kills against Oregon. Solomon added five digs and five blocks while Cutura put in six digs. Cal held the Ducks to just .021 attacking (23k, 21e, 96att) and put up a season high 16.0 total team blocks. The Bears were relentless in their attack on the Beavers, posting a .473 attack percentage with 49 kills on 91 attacks (6e). Cutura led the way once more with 12 kills (1e, 20att, .550) while senior outside hittler/middle hitter Morgan Beck notched the 1,000th kill of her career, coming up with a .385 attack percentage on 13 attempts (7k, 2e). Cal fared well at the net once more, getting 9.5 total team blocks on the way to neutralizing the previous Pac-10 Player of the Week, Rachel Rourke, who got just seven kills on 32 attacks (6e, .031). With the win, Cal claimed its seventh straight victory and a 2-0 record in Pac-10 play.
NO. 9 WASHINGTON NOTES: The Huskies (11-1, 2-0 Pac-10) opened conference play on the road in the desert and needed a fifth set twice to come away 2-0 against Arizona and Arizona State. Washington's only loss on the season was a 3-2 decision on the islands against a No. 10-ranked Hawai'i team in which the fifth set score was 16-14 in favor of the Warriors. The Huskies are led by junior outside hitter Jill Collymore who has racked up 136 kills this season (3.32 kps) and holds a .340 hitting percentage (31e, 309att) for ninth place in the Pac-10. Collymore holds the top spot among Pac-10 players for service aces per set, averaging 0.63 saps with 26 total. Husky senior middle blocker Jessica Swarbrick leads the conference in hitting percentage with a .475 mark (82k, 16e, 139att) and was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 22-28. Swarbrick is fourth on the Washington all-time list for career blocks with 380 and is seventh in the conference with a 1.20 bps average. Sophomore setter Jenna Hagglund leads all Pac-10 players with 12.10 assists per set, the second highest average in the NCAA this season. The Bears are 21-28 against Washington all-time, getting their first win in seven tries last season at Haas Pavilion. The last time Cal won in Seattle was in 2003, a 3-2 victory on Oct. 24.
WASHINGTON STATE NOTES: The Cougars (7-6, 0-2 Pac-10) are coming off two 3-0 losses to Arizona and Arizona State, snapping a nine-set, three-match winning streak. Washington State won the Boise State Bronco Invitational to open the season before falling in all three matches at the Idaho Volleyball Classic. Cougar junior defensive specialist/libero Kelly Hyder became the seventh player to reach 1,000 career digs and is now the all-time career digs leader for the Cougars with 1,283. Much attributed to Hyder's 4.41 dps average, the Cougars hold the top-spot among Pac-10 teams in digs, averaging 15.49 dps. Senior outside hitter Brittany Johnson reached 1,000 career kills on Sept. 27 against Arizona State and became just the 10th Cougar in history to reach the milestone. With five more kills, Johnson will move into sole possession of ninth-place all-time at Washington State. Cougar head coach Andrew Palileo is in his first season at Washington State after a highly successful tenure at South Dakota State where he went 238-141 in 11 years. The Cougars are behind the count in the all-time series with the Bears, trailing 28-22, falling in last 10 meetings.