No. 6 Golden Bears Seek 20th Win in Arizonan Desert
Nov. 5, 2008
BERKELEY, Calif. - The No. 6-ranked California volleyball team seeks its 20th win of the season as it heads to the desert to face Arizona and Arizona State. The Golden Bears swept both the Wildcats and the Sun Devils when they came to visit Haas Pavilion in mid-October. After setting school records for best overall start and with an 8-0 record in Pac-10 play, Cal has dropped two of its last three matches. With just seven matches remaining in the regular season (four against top-10 teams), the Bears hope to go on another run as they build momentum heading into the postseason.
THE FACTS: No. 6 Cal (19-3, 9-2 Pac-10) takes its show on the road for two matches against Arizona (13-9, 3-7 Pac-10) and Arizona State (12-11, 3-7 Pac-10). The Bears take on the Wildcats on Friday, Nov. 7, in a 7 p.m. match at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. before heading down the interstate to face the Sun Devils on Saturday, Nov. 8, in another 7 p.m. match at the Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz. Live video for both matches is available via CBS College Sports (fees may apply) and live statistics will be available via Gametracker with links available at www.arizonaathletics.com, www.thesundevils.com, and www.calbears.com.
FREE FOR ALL: The remainder of Cal's home matches feature free admission for all youth 12th grade and below with valid student identification. The Bears play host to rival 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 Women of Troy is Senior Night and will be broadcast live by Fox Sports Net.
BEARS IN TV LAND: Cal will appear live in five televised matches this season. Comcast SportsNet California will show Cal's match against Stanford in the Big Spike on Nov. 14 (7 p.m.) and haunted the Haas sidelines on Halloween night (Oct. 31) as the Bears defeated Washington State, 3-1. Comcast also aired the Bears' Dig for the Cure match against Arizona State on Oct. 10. 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. FSN also showed the Cal's historic 3-1 victory on Oct. 19 at Stanford. In addition, Cal appeared in a local telecast on the road at Washington Oct. 3. Cal is 4-0 in televised matches.
LAST WEEK: The Bears fell two spots in the Bison/AVCA poll to No. 6 after splitting matches against the Cougars and Huskies. Cal took a 3-1 victory over Washington State before having its school-record 16-match home winning streak snapped in a 3-0 loss to Washington at Haas Pavilion. Dropping its first set against the Cougars, Cal stormed back in the second to claim a 25-17 win before closing out the match with hard fought third and fourth sets, 30-28, 25-19. Four Bears reached double figures in kills led by senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon's 16 (5e, 39att, .282). Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd had her sixth double-double of the season as she logged 12 digs to go with her match-high 55 assists. Junior libero Kristen Kathan led all players with 21 digs as the Bears mounted a strong defensive game to claim the victory. The next night, Cal fell prey to a Husky team seeking revenge after the Bears dealt them a 3-0 loss in Seattle, Wash. The Washington block forced the Bears into nine attack errors in the first and third set, and left little room for mistakes as Cal rarely led in the contest. Junior outside hitter Hana Cutura led her team with 10 kills (7e, 31att, .097) but a pair of stellar performances by Washington outsides Becky Perry (16k) and Airial Salvo (12k) stopped the Bears in their tracks. The Huskies claimed vengeance as they swept Cal in three sets, 25-17, 27-25, 25-19.
ARIZONA NOTES: The Wildcats (13-9, 3-7 Pac-10) are losers of four straight after pulling off a 3-2 upset of then No. 11-ranked USC in Tucson, Ariz. The Cats opened up the season winning 11 of their first 12 matches but are just 2-8 since getting a 3-0 victory over Washington State to open Pac-10 play. Arizona has lost its last three matches in three sets each, falling most recently to rival Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz. on Nov. 2. The last time the Cats met the Bears, Cal took a 3-0 win in Berkeley, Calif. Arizona is led by sophomore outside hitter Whitney Dosty who averages a team-high 3.08 kps. Fellow sophomore outside, Tiffany Owens is right behind her with a 2.99 kps average and holds the second spot on the team in digs with 2.61 dps. Junior libero Alanna Resch leads the Cats with 4.18 dps (fifth in the Pac-10) while sophomore middle blocker Stephanie Snow has a team-high 81 blocks on the season. The Wildcats lead the conference (15th in the country) in blocks per set with a 2.67 bps average and are second in opponent hitting percentage, holding foes to a .173 attack rate. Arizona is also second in the Pac-10 in service aces, averaging 1.38 saps. Including the loss at Haas Pavilion, the Wildcats still hold a 32-15 edge over Cal in the all-time series records.
ARIZONA STATE NOTES: The Sun Devils (12-11, 3-7 Pac-10) swept their last two opponents, first getting a 3-0 victory at No. 24-ranked Oregon State and then beating up on rival Arizona in a home match last weekend (Nov. 2). Prior to this two-match upswing, Arizona State had lost its last six matches and nine of its last 10 including a 3-0 sweep at the hands of the Bears. The Sun Devils' three conference wins came against teams that hold a combined 6-26 record in Pac-10 play. Arizona State is led by sophomore outside hitter Sarah Reaves who is averaging a team high 3.97 kps (fourth in the Pac-10). Reaves also puts in 3.06 dps, second most on the team behind sophomore defensive specialist Sarah Johnson (4.04 dps). As a team, the Devils average 14.81 digs in each set, third most in the Pac-10. Junior outside hitter Margie Giordano is eighth in the conference with 3.33 kps and third on the team in digs with a 2.64 dps average. Giordano is also ninth among Pac-10 players in service aces as she has already logged 19 this season. Arizona State's junior setter Marina Mercer paces the Sun Devil offense as she puts up 10.17 assists per set. The Devils hold a five-match lead in the all-time series against Cal, 27-22.
SUPER STREAKS: 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 also had the second-longest match winning streak in school history this season, winning 13 consecutive matches between Sept. 13 and Oct. 24. In addition, Cal set a new school record by winning eight consecutive Pac-10 matches. This Cal team also owns the record for most consecutive matches won at home, 16 (from Oct. 11, 2007 through Oct. 31, 2008).
POLL POSITION: Cal's No. 5 preseason ranking in the Bison/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll marked the eighth time in school history that the Bears were 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 highest regular season ranking was recorded several times this season as the Bears reached No. 4 for several weeks. Since 1982, the Bears have been ranked a total of 125 times.
RACKIN' UP THE REWARDS: Several Cal players received recognition for their outstanding play in preseason tournaments this season; at the Cal Molten Classic, sophomore setter Carli Lloyd took home MVP honors, joined by junior libero Kristen Kathan as the defensive standout and junior outside hitter Hana Cutura on the all-tournament team. At the Golden Bear Invitational, Lloyd once again garnered MVP honors while Kathan repeated as the defensive standout. This time, the pair was joined not only by Cutura, but senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck and junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley. At the Diet Coke Classic in Minneapolis, Minn., Lloyd and Cutura earned spots on the all-tournament team. And at the Crowne Plaza Volleyball Classic in Fullerton, Calif., Cutura took home MVP honors, joined by senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon and Lloyd on the all-tournament team.
THE PACIFIC-10 CONFERENCE: Cal will once again compete in what is arguably the toughest women's collegiate volleyball conference, the Pac-10. Six teams ranked in the most recent Bison/AVCA top 25 poll reside in the Pac-10 conference with all six in the top 10. 2007 NCAA runner-up Stanford tops the group at No. 2 with Washington checking in at No. 5 and Cal at No. 6. A trio of teams sit together at the back end with No. 8 Oregon leading the pack, followed by No. 9 UCLA and No. 10 USC. Oregon State made its first appearance in the polls since 1996 earlier this year and Arizona made its first appearance in the top 25 three weeks ago. Both have since exited the poll. With San Francisco (No. 25), Cal Poly, and Minnesota (No. 17) also cracking the lineup, and St. John's holding a position earlier this year, the Bears have the opportunity to face at least 16 top-25 ranked opponents before the season is over.
DIG FOR THE CURE: During the month of October, Pac-10 volleyball teams joined forces to help raise awareness about breast cancer during home matches. Among the promotional events, teams wore pink accessories, used pink game balls for the matches and tossed pink mini volleyballs 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 also participated in 'Pink' matches when it visited Stanford (Oct. 19), UCLA (Oct. 24), and USC (Oct. 25).
BEARS IN THE PAC-10 RANKS: Cal is in the top five in five statistical categories in the Pac-10. The Bears lead the conference in assists (14.04 aps) and kills (15.05 kps). Cal is second in hitting percentage (.304) and third in opponent hitting percentage (.174). Finally, the Bears are fifth in service aces (1.17 saps) and seventh in blocks (2.45 bps). Individually, junior outside hitter Hana Cutura is second in the conference in kills (4.35 kps) and first in points (4.98 pps). She is also third in service aces (0.35 saps). Junior libero Kristen Kathan is fourth in digs (4.24 dps) and sophomore setter Carli Lloyd is tied for the lead in assists with 12.09 aps. Three Bears hold top-10 spots in hitting percentage led by freshman middle hitter Shannon Hawari (.425) who is second in the conference; junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley is seventh (.341) and Cutura is 10th (.315).
NATIONAL N' THEM: The Bears hold several distinctions among the country's top teams including third in assists with 14.04 aps. As a byproduct, the Bears rank second in the country in kills with 15.05 kps. Valparaiso leads all teams with a 15.19 kps average. Cal's .304 hitting percentage ranks fourth in the country behind Pac-10 leader, Stanford (.319) and NCAA leader, Penn State at No. 1 (.395). Defensively, the Bears are averaging 2.45 bps, 44th among NCAA teams; one of eight Pac-10 teams in the top 50 in that statistical category. Individually, sophomore setter Carli Lloyd is tied for second in the country with 12.09 aps and junior outside Hana Cutura is 14th nationally in kills at 4.35 kps.
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 322 (107e, 682att, .315) and kills per set (4.35 kps). She also does her share of work on defense, picking up 186 digs thus far (2.51 dps). Senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck has logged 97 kills (2.02 kps) and 28 total blocks (0.58 bps) after earning All-Pac-10 honorable mention in 2007. Senior Am'ra Solomon has made huge contributions, putting down 198 kills (3.00 kps, second on the team) with a .305 attack percentage (53e, 476att). Solomon netted 80 kills (2.58 kps) a year ago in limited action. The Bears also added the services of freshman Tarah Murrey (159k, 75e, 376att, .223) 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 successfully defended its home court advantage for a school-record 16 consecutive matches; a run that dated back to a 3-2 win over Washington on Oct. 11, 2007 and ended against with a loss to the Huskies on Nov. 2, 2008. The previous longest home winning streak lasted 13 matches from Oct. 28, 2005 through Oct. 19, 2006. This season, Cal is 10-1 at Haas Pavilion with three matches left on the schedule.
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 1,199 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 1,010 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 12.09 aps (907 assists), tied for tops in the Pac-10, but more importantly, she has the Bears on top of the conference with a 14.04 aps mark (third 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 2,457 assists are already good for fifth among all-time career leaders at Cal. Lloyd's stellar play 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), Pac-10 Player of the Week award twice and most recently, an AVCA National Player of the Week honor.
#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 on Oct. 20, for her efforts in a 3-1 victory against Stanford, 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 fourth place among Pac-10 players in digs per set with 4.24 dps (318 in 75 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 twice, last at UCLA, Oct. 24.
#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 among her favorite off-court activities. She can often be heard singing or rapping 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 3.00 kills per set are good for second on the team behind team leader junior Hana Cutura. Solomon's sure hand has netted her a .305 attack percentage (198k, 53e, 476att). She set new career highs in both kills and attacks at UCLA Oct. 24, with 18 kills and 49 attacks. 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 26 kills (0.76 kps) in limited time (15e, 81att, .136) and 29 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 90 kills on 179 attacks with just 14 errors all season. Her .425 attack percentage is second best among all Pac-10 players. She has also racked up a total of 50 blocks (0.89 bps), second on the team. Hawari had a breakout match at USC Oct. 25 where she tallied a career-high 15 kills on 22 attacks. 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 11 of Cal's matches this year, recording her first digs in a match at Cal State Fullerton Sept. 20 and a career-high three digs at USC on Oct. 25.
#21: WILD AND WILEY: Junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley is attacking at a .341 clip (161k, 53e, 317att). She put up a career-high 15 kills and 25 attacks at UCLA Oct. 24 and posted a career-high three solo blocks against UC Riverside Sept. 6. She has also recorded a career-high eight total blocks twice this season, first against San Francisco Sept. 20 and again against Oregon Sept. 26. The first service aces of Wiley's 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). As a sophomore, 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).
#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 is second in the Pac-10 in kills per set with a 4.35 kps average but is also 10th in the conference with a .315 attack percentage, the highest of any outside hitter in the Pac-10. She has also contributed to the Cal defense by putting in 2.51 digs per set. Her 4.98 points per set is tops in the conference Cutura also leads the Bears in service aces with 26 (0.35, third 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.