No. 4 Golden Bears Take Record Pac-10 Start to Los Angeles

Oct. 22, 2008

BERKELEY -

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This Week:

at No. 10 UCLAFriday, Oct. 24 - 7 p.m.Pauley Pavilion | Los Angeles

at No. 14 USCSaturday, Oct. 25 - 7 p.m.Galen Center | Los Angeles

BERKELEY, Calif. - The No. 4-ranked California volleyball team looks to maintain its unblemished Pac-10 record as it takes a school record 7-0 Pac10, 17-1 overall start to Los Angeles. The Golden Bears have won their last 12 matches through a stretch that included 29 consecutive set victories. Atop the conference standings after seven matches (a school record), Cal looks to continue its winning ways against No. 10 UCLA and No. 14 USC. Last season, the Bears endured three five-set matches against the Bruins and Trojans and emerged with just one win, a thrilling 3-2 victory at Pauley Pavilion. Armed with the best offensive arsenal in the Pac-10 and last week's conference and national player of the week in sophomore setter Carli Lloyd, the Bears hope to build on the momentum they've created and complete the first half of conference play with their perfect record intact.

THE FACTS: No. 4 Cal (17-1, 7-0 Pac-10) takes on No. 10 UCLA (14-4, 4-3 Pac-10), Friday Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. from Pauley Pavilion and No. 14 USC (10-6, 3-4 Pac-10), Saturday Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. from Galen Center. Please visit CalBears.com for links to live statistics via Gametracker. Live audio for the Cal vs. UCLA match will be available via www.uclabruins.com and live webcast of the Cal vs. USC match be available on TrojanTV at www.usctrojans.com. Fees may apply.

Carli Lloyd NAMED AVCA NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd was named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week after guiding the Bears to a historic win over then No. 4-ranked Stanford at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. it was Cal's first win at Stanford since 1979. She had 55 assists and added 12 digs to record her fourth double-double of the season in Cal's 3-1 victory. Lloyd is the first Cal player to garner national AVCA player of the week honors since Mia Jerkov received the distinction in 2003. Lloyd was also named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the second time this season and in addition, received Cal's Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week.

LAST WEEK: The Bears made history by defeating then No. 4-ranked Stanford, 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 27-25) at Maples Pavilion. The victory marked the first time Cal had gone to the Farm and won since Nov. 15, 1979. It also secured first place in the Pac-10 for the Bears heading into their final two matches of the first half of league play. Pac-10 Player of the Week, sophomore setter Carli Lloyd paced the Cal attack to a .260 percentage (64k, 25e, 150att) and poured in 12 digs for her fourth double-double of the season. Junior outside hitter Hana Cutura led all players with 23 kills (7e, 44att, .364) and recorded the fifth double-double of her season, also with 12 digs. Junior libero Kristen Kathan had a match-high 20 digs and served up one of the matches two service aces. The Bears committed several errors in the first set and could not overcome the Cardinal attack, falling 25-23, but a strong second set swung momentum in Cal's favor heading into the break. Freshman outside hitter Tarah Murrey put down one of her career-high 14 kills (6e, 34att, .235) to help close out the second and continued her hot play at the net to help carry the Bears to victory. Senior outside hitter co-captain Am'ra Solomon ensured that the Bears stay focused and added 11 kills (3e, 30att, .267). Stanford sophomore outside hitter Alix Klineman led the Cardinal with 21 kills (4e, 47att, .362) and had 12 digs.

NO. 10 UCLA NOTES: The Bruins (14-4, 4-3 Pac-10) have won three straight since opening Pac-10 play with a 1-3 record. UCLA has endured a rough start to its season overall, having to play all but two of its 18 matches away from Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins are directed by senior setter Nellie Spicer, who is averaging 10.86 assists per set while adding 1.13 kps. Spicer also does her share of the defensive dirty-work, logging the third-best mark among Bruins with 2.44 dps. Sophomore outside hitter Dicey McGraw is the beneficiary of most of those assists, leading the team with 3.08 kps (58e, 526att, .247). Senior libero Jessica Fine is putting up 4.38 dps (third in the Pac-10) to help the Bruins lead the conference in digs with 15.12 dps. UCLA's pair of freshman middle blockers have made an immediate impact, each standing among the conference's top 10 in hitting percentage and blocking. Amanda Gil attacks at a .336 percentage (eighth) while Katie Camp registers at .328 (10th). Gil is second with a 1.35 bps average and Camp is eighth with 1.12 bps. Last year, the Bears fell to the Bruins in a heartbreaking 3-2 loss at Haas Pavilion but turned around and became the first Cal squad to win at Pauley Pavilion with a 3-2 victory in Los Angeles. Overall, the Bruins lead the all-time series 51-2.

NO. 14 USC NOTES: The Women of Troy (10-6, 3-4 Pac-10) have struggled to maintain consistency since hitting the Pac-10 schedule, enduring four five-set matches and losing in three of them. After opening the season with losses against Texas and Nebraska, the Trojans reeled off eight straight wins including a 3-2 victory over cross-town rival UCLA. Since, USC is just 2-4, with a 3-0 sweep coming at the hands of a No. 11-ranked Oregon team in Eugene, Ore. The Trojans are led by freshman outside hitter Alex Jupiter, who averages 3.53 kps (sixth in the Pac-10, 89e, 522att, .228) while junior setter Taylor Carico runs the USC attack, putting up 10.47 assists per set (fifth in the Pac-10). Junior libero Alli Hillgren is fourth in the conference with 4.32 dps. Redshirt junior outside hitter Jessica Gysin averages 3.09 kps and is also second on the team in digs with a 2.16 dps average. Last season, the Bears took the opening set from the Trojans at Haas Pavilion but could not sustain momentum, falling 3-1. In Los Angeles, Cal forced a fifth set by winning the second and fourth in extra points but again fell in defeat, 3-2. The Women of Troy lead the all-time series against Cal, 40-8.

BEARS IN TV LAND: Cal is scheduled to appear live in five televised matches this season. Comcast SportsNet California haunts the Haas sidelines on Halloween night (Oct. 31) as the Bears take on Washington State and will show the Big Spike at Cal on Nov. 14 (7 p.m.). USC's visit to Berkeley on Nov. 22 will be carried by Fox Sports Net (5 p.m. PT) immediately following the Cal vs. Stanford football game. Cal appeared on CSN-California on Oct. 10 against Arizona State and on FSN on Oct. 19 at Stanford. In addition, the Cal appeared in a local telecast on the road at Washington Oct. 3. Cal is 3-0 in televised matches this season.POLL POSITION: 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 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's current No. 4 ranking and during the week of Sept. 8-15, 2008, is the highest regular season ranking the team has received. Since 1982, the Bears have been ranked a total of 123 times.

THE PACIFIC-10 CONFERENCE: Cal will once again compete in what is arguably the toughest women's collegiate volleyball conference, the Pac-10. Seven teams ranked in the most recent CBS/AVCA top 25 poll reside in the Pac-10 with six in the top 14. Cal tops the list at No. 4 with 2007 NCAA runner-up Stanford right behind at No. 5 followed by No. 6 Washington and No. 7 Oregon. UCLA sits at No. 10 and USC holds down the No. 14 position. Oregon State made its first appearance in the polls since 1996 several weeks ago and checks in at No. 24 this week. Arizona made its first appearance in the top 25 two weeks ago, but fell out after a loss and currently holds the mythical No. 26 position. With Cal Poly (No. 27), and Minnesota (No. 11) also cracking the lineup, and St. John's holding a position earlier this year, the Bears have the opportunity to face at least 15 top-25 ranked opponents before the season is over.

DIG FOR THE CURE: During the month of October, Pac-10 volleyball teams will join forces to help raise awareness about breast cancer during home matches. Among the promotional events planned, teams will wear pink accessories, pink game balls will be used for the match and pink mini volleyballs will be tossed into the stands. The Bears held Dig for the Cure on Oct. 10 when it hosted Arizona State at Haas Pavilion. On the road, Cal will also be part of other Breast Cancer Awareness Month matches when it visits Stanford (Oct. 19), USC (Oct. 25), and UCLA (Oct. 26).

FREE FOR ALL - ALMOST: The remainder of Cal's home matches feature free admission for all youth 12th grade and below with valid student identification. The Bears next home matches feature Washington State (Oct. 31) and Washington (Nov. 2). In mid-November, Cal welcomes Stanford (Nov. 14) for the second Big Spike of the season before closing out home matches against UCLA (Nov. 21) and USC (Nov. 22). The match against the Trojans is Senior Night.

BEARS IN THE PAC-10 RANKS: Cal is in the top five in six statistical categories in the Pac-10. The Bears lead the conference in assists (14.03 aps) and kills (15.10 kps). Cal is second in both hitting percentage (.319) and opponent hitting percentage (.150). Finally, the Bears are fourth in service aces (1.36 saps) and fifth in blocks (2.56 bps). Individually, junior outside hitter Hana Cutura leads the conference in kills (4.54 kps) and points (5.23 pps). She is also second in service aces (0.40 saps). Junior libero Kristen Kathan is fourth in service aces (0.33) and seventh in digs (4.09 dps). Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd leads all players in assists with 12.07 aps. Three Bears hold top-10 spots in hitting percentage led by freshman middle hitter Shannon Hawari (.409) who is third in the conference, Cutura in fifth (.364) and junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley in ninth (.332). On the other side of the net, Wiley is sixth in blocks per set with a 1.13 bps average.

NATIONAL N' THEM: The Bears hold several distinctions among the country's top teams including the top mark in assists with 14.03 aps. As a byproduct, the Bears rank second in the country in kills with 15.10 kps. Valparaiso leads all teams with a 15.12 kps average. Cal's .319 hitting percentage ranks fourth in the country behind Pac-10 leader, Stanford (.322) and NCAA leader, Penn State at No. 1 (.398). Defensively, the Bears are averaging 2.56 bps, 30th among NCAA division I teams; one of five Pac-10 teams in the top 30 in that statistical category. Individually, sophomore setter Carli Lloyd is second in the country with 12.07 aps while junior outside hitter Hana Cutura is ninth nationally in kills at 4.54 kps.

SUPER STREAK: Cal's streak of 29 straight sets without a loss between Sept. 14 and Oct. 19 set a new school record, breaking the old record of 27 held by the 2002 squad. The Bears' current 12-match winning streak is the second longest streak in school history. Cal has won 16 consecutive matches (dating back to Oct. 11, 2007) at Haas Pavilion, also a new school record.

CAPTAIN CRUNCH: Cal will benefit from the leadership of three captains this season. Seniors Kat Reilly, Morgan Beck and Am'ra Solomon each holds 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 returned several weapons at the outside hitter position from a squad that made an appearance in the NCAA semifinal, including All-American junior Hana Cutura. Cutura leads the team in total kills with 259 (73e, 511att, .364) and kills per set (4.54 kps). She also does her share of work on defense, picking up 136 digs thus far (2.39 dps). Senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck has logged 95 kills (2.32 kps) and 28 total blocks (0.68 bps) after earning All-Pac-10 honorable mention in 2007. Senior Am'ra Solomon has put down 140 kills (2.86 kps, second on the team) with a .302 attack percentage (39e, 334att). Solomon netted 80 kills (2.58 kps) a year ago in limited action. The Bears also added the services of freshman Tarah Murrey (121k, 52e, 272att, .254) to the lineup this season.

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.

HOME, SWEET, HOME: There's no place like home and these Bears don't come to Haas Pavilion to hibernate. Cal has successfully defended its home court advantage in the past 16 matches; a school-record run that dates back to a 3-2 win over Washington on Oct. 11, 2007. The longest home winning streak prior to the current one lasted 13 matches from Oct. 28, 2005 through Oct. 19, 2006.

1,000K CLUB: Two Golden Bears have surpassed the 1,000 kill mark in their careers. Junior outside hitter Hana Cutura was the first to do so, hitting the 1,000 kill milestone on the head against Central Connecticut State Sept. 19 at the Crowne Plaza Volleyball Classic in Fullerton, Calif. Cutura is ninth in all-time career kills at Cal with 1,136 and will likely threaten the seventh-place position before the season is over. Senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck got her 1,000th kill against Oregon State Sept. 28. Beck now has 1,008 career kills and holds the ninth-place spot all-time at Cal in total blocks with 324.

#1: SETTING THE SCENE: Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd is averaging 12.07 aps (700 assists), tops in the Pac-10, but more importantly, she has the Bears on top of the conference with a 14.03 aps mark (first nationally). A 2007 Pac-10 All-Freshman selection, Lloyd posted 1,550 assists (12.81 dps) last year, and earned NCAA Wisconsin Regional all-tournament team status for her impressive postseason play. In addition to setting her teammates up, Lloyd also put down 93 kills and added 111 total blocks as a freshman. Lloyd broke the 2,000 assist mark against Oregon on Sept. 26, becoming just the sixth player in Cal history to break that plateau. Her 2,250 assists is already good for sixth among all-time career leaders at Cal. Lloyd's stellar play has netted her all-tournament honors in all four of Cal's preseason tourney's including two MVP awards (Cal Molten Classic and Golden Bear Invitational) and the Pac-10 Player of the Week award twice.

#1: CALIFORNIA GLADIATOR: Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd credits her athleticism to the training she received from uncle and coach, Galen 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.'

#1: TRIPLE PLAY: Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd was named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week for her efforts against Stanford in a 3-1 victory on Oct. 19. She was also named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the second time this season for the week of Oct. 13-19, after earning honors for the week of Aug. 23-Aug. 31. In addition, Lloyd received the Cal Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week award to complete a trifecta of awards and honors. She is the first Cal player since Angie Pressey to receive Pac-10 (Aug. 28, 2006) and the first player since Mia Jerkov (2003) to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors twice in one season.

#2: DIGGING DEEP: Junior defensive specialist/libero Kristen Kathan sits in seventh place among Pac-10 players in digs per set with 4.09 dps (237 in 58 sets). Last year, Kathan registered the ninth-best single-season mark for digs at Cal as a sophomore 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 put up a season-high 23 balls against Cal Poly Sept. 14 and logged her 700th career dig against Oregon State Sept. 28.

#3: NATIONAL BECKONING: Senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck spent the 2008 spring 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.

#4: 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 faced the Highlanders in what became a family affair at Haas Pavilion on Sept. 6 in the Golden Bear Invitational. Youth beat out experience as Cal's Murrey helped the Bears to a 3-0 win to close out the tournament crown.

#7: ROE, ROE, ROE YOUR BOAT: Freshman setter/defensive specialist Ashley Roe lists writing poetry and lyrics as one of her favorite off-court activities. She can often be heard singing ad-lib lyrics to familiar melodies. She has appeared in three matches for the Bears, logging a service ace on her first collegiate play against Minnesota (Sept. 12) and logged her first career assist on a kill from Hana Cutura against Central Connecticut State Sept. 19.

#8: ADVENTURES WITH AM'RA: Senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon will be authoring a photo-journal during each of Cal's road trips this season. The pictorial essays are a behind-the-scenes look at the 2008 Golden Bears and will receive updates the Monday following each road trip. Solomon celebrated her second road-trip of the year with a spot on the Crowne Plaza All-Tournament team. Be sure to check the volleyball home page on CalBears.com for the latest shots off of Am'ra's camera.

#8: SHE AM WHAT SHE AM: Senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon has been quietly becoming one of the Bears' go-to players on the outside. Her 2.86 kills per set are good for second on the team behind Pac-10 leader junior Hana Cutura. Solomon's sure hand has netted her a .302 attack percentage (140k, 39e, 334att). She also set career high numbers in digs and blocks this season, playing in a heavily saturated front row.

#9: OBI WAN KENOBERMEYER: Freshman setter Kristin Obermeyer might not be able to play any Jedi mind-tricks on opponents but she has the resume to prove her academic aptitude as one of the valedictorians at Westmont High School in Campbell, Calif. She has appeared in three matches for Cal and had her first assist against DePaul Sept. 6; she later logged a career-high five assists against Central Connecticut State Sept. 19 at the Crowne Plaza Volleyball Classic in Fullerton, Calif.

#10: MIDDLE METTLE: In her final season with the Bears, senior middle hitter Kat Reilly will serve as one of three team captains. 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 logged 22 kills (0.85 kps) in limited time (13e, 70att, .129) and 22 total blocks (0.85 bps).

#10: PRESIDENTIAL PRECEDENCE: Senior middle hitter Kat Reilly serves as president of the Cal Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). 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.

#14: 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.

#14: NO HAWARIAN ISLAND VACATION: Freshman middle hitter Shannon Hawari has worked her way into the California starting lineup, logging 64 kills on 132 attacks with just nine errors all season. Her .409 attack percentage is third-best among all Pac-10 players. She has also racked up a total of 43 blocks (1.00 bps), second on the team. When she does decide to take a break, she would like to vacation to Paris, France.

#17: STORMIN' GORMANS: Freshman defensive specialist/libero Katherine Gorman's older brother Richard is a junior designated hitter on the Cal baseball team. With 14 home volleyball matches and 30 home baseball games, Golden Bear sports will be a family affair for the Gorman household. Gorman has appeared in seven of Cal's matches this year, recording her first digs in a match at Cal State Fullerton Sept. 20.

#21: WILD AND WILEY: Junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley is attacking at a .332 clip (117k, 39e, 235att). She first put up a career high 11 kills and 19 attacks against Notre Dame Sept. 13 and posted a career-high three solo blocks against UC Riverside Sept. 6. She later matched her high with 11 kills at Stanford, Oct. 19. She also recorded a career-high eight total blocks twice this season, first against San Francisco Sept. 20 and again against Oregon Sept. 26. Wiley's first service aces of her career came against Arizona (Oct. 11) and Arizona State (Oct. 10) this season. Wiley had Cal's 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.

#26: PASSING ON PIROUETTES: Hailing from Zagreb, Croatia, junior outside hitter Hana Cutura wasn't always the menacing volleyball force the Bears have come to know. The 6-4 outside hitter used to be a ballet dancer as a young girl but her natural gift for volleyball eventually shoved Nutcracker dreams aside. Last year, 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.

#26: SUPER HANA: Junior outside hitter Hana Cutura leads the Pac-10 in kills per set with a 4.54 kps average but is also an astonishing fifth in the conference with a .364 attack percentage, the highest of any outside hitter in the Pac-10. She has also contributed to the Cal defense by putting in 2.39 digs per set. Her 5.23 points per set is tops in the conference and is far outpacing Oregon's Gorana Maricic's 4.81 pps. Cutura also leads the Bears in service aces with 26 on the season (0.40, second in the Pac-10).

#44: FAMILY TRACK RECORD: Sophomore defensive specialist/libero Meagan Schmitt seems destined to have become a Cal athlete. Both her parents, Tom and Laura attended Cal and were cross country and track and field athletes for the Bears. Her uncle, John Starrett also starred as a rower for the Bears. Schmitt put up a career-high nine digs at Stanford, Oct. 19.

McSHANE THE TRAIN: This past June, assistant coach Matt McShane joined over 2,800 bike riders on a seven-day, 545-mile trek from San Francisco to Los Angeles as a part of the 2008 AIDS/LifeCycle Ride benefiting HIV/AIDS services. Founded in 2002, AIDS/LifeCycle is co-produced by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the LA Gay and Lesbian Center and is designed to advance their shared interests to end the pandemic and human suffering caused by AIDS through raising funds and social awareness. In 2008, the ride raised over $11.6 million dollars.

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