No. 7 Cal Goes for First Sweep of No. 2 Stanford in 29 Years
Nov. 11, 2008
BERKELEY, Calif. - This Week:Haas Pavilion | Berkeley, Calif.
vs. No. 2 StanfordFriday, Nov. 14 7 p.m.Comcast SportsNet-California | Gametracker
The No. 7-ranked California volleyball team returns home to battle No. 2 Stanford in the second Big Spike with a chance to sweep its rival for the first time in 29 years. Earlier this season, the Golden Bears defeated the Cardinal at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. for the first time since a 3-1, Nov. 15, 1979 victory. Since the rivals last met, the teams have gone in opposite directions. Cal has had to brave injuries and weather the midseason lull to emerge with a 3-3 record while Stanford has reeled off six consecutive wins including 3-0 sweeps of its last four opponents. The Bears dealt Stanford its only Pac-10 loss of the season and looks to make it two when the teams clash again for Bay Area bragging rights.
THE FACTS: No. 7 Cal (20-4, 10-3 Pac-10) returns to Haas Pavilion for a three-match home stand which begins this week with No. 2 Stanford (21-3, 12-1 Pac-10) visiting Berkeley at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 14. The Big Spike will be broadcast live by Comcast SportsNet-California with Roxy Bernstein calling the action and Krista Blunk providing color commentary. Live statistics and video are also available on the internet via Gametracker at 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.
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).
LAST WEEK: The Bears made the trip to the desert to close out their season series' with Arizona and Arizona State looking to sweep both teams in the same year for the third consecutive season but came away with a split on the road. Cal was plagued by errors as it opened play against the Wildcats, dropping the first two sets 25-22, 25-23. The break helped the Bears regroup in time to bounce back with 25-18 and 25-23 wins in the third and fourth sets but Cal ran out of gas in the fifth as they fell to Arizona, 15-11. Despite the loss, several Bears put on marvelous performances including career-high marks in kills for senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon (20k, 4e, 41att, .390) and freshman outside hitter Tarah Murrey (14k, 6e, 28att, .286). It was junior outside Hana Cutura who posted match-high numbers however as she had 23 kills (3e, 54att, .370) and logged her eighth double-double of the year by adding 10 digs, not to mention five blocks (two solo). The Cats were led by their outside hitters as Tiffany Owens had 17 kills (4e, 51att, .255) and 19 digs and Whitney Dosty had 15 kills (6e, 35att, .257) and three blocks. The Bears didn't spend much time licking their wounds as they traveled down the interstate to Tempe, Ariz. to take on the Sun Devils. This time, Cal put up 75 kills (21e, 155att, .348) to drop a 3-1 win on Arizona State, 26-24, 26-28, 25-17, 25-21. Cutura led all Bears again with 21 kills and tied a career-high with four service aces. Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd tied a season high with 59 assists and set a new season high with 15 digs to record her eighth double-double match of the season. The Devils were led by sophomore outside hitter Sarah Reaves who had 26 kills and 13 digs, but this time out, the Bears minimized mistakes and capitalized on the errors made by the Sun Devils to get back on the winning track.
NO. 2 STANFORD: The Cardinal (21-3, 12-1 Pac-10) hold the top spot in the Pac-10 with their only loss coming at the hands of the Golden Bears (Oct. 19). Since dropping that match, Stanford has won its last six matches and arrives in Berkeley as winners of its last 15 sets. The Cardinal is coming off yet another efficiently successful conference weekend led by senior middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo who logged 4.67 kps while attacking at a .634 rate against Arizona and Arizona State. Akinradewo's .468 attack percentage on the season is the best in the Pac-10 and third overall in the country. Her 1.46 blocks per set also leads the Pac-10 and is ninth in the country. Junior middle blocker Janet Okogbaa is also attacking efficiently, posting a .381 attack percentage this season. The Cardinal leads the Pac-10 in hitting percentage with a .319 attack rate and is also leading the conference in opponent hitting percentage, holding foes to a .161 attack rate. Stanford's offensive attack comes from all directions as senior outside hitter Cynthia Barboza leads her team with 3.48 kps (sixth Pac-10) and is second in digs with 2.91 dps. Sophomore outside Alix Klineman is second on the team with 3.42 kps (seventh Pac-10) and puts up 2.00 digs every set. Stanford leads the all-time series against Cal, 61-7.
BEARS IN TV LAND: Cal appears 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.
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. Cal sits at No. 7 followed by No. 8 Oregon, 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 four weeks ago. Both have since exited the poll. With San Francisco (No. 27), Cal Poly, and Minnesota (No. 15) 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.
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.
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 (14.11 aps) and kills (15.15 kps). Cal is second in hitting percentage (.304) and third in opponent hitting percentage (.182). Finally, the Bears are fourth in service aces (1.20 saps) and seventh in blocks (2.45 bps). Individually, junior outside hitter Hana Cutura is tied for first in the conference in kills (4.41 kps) and first in points (5.10 pps). She is also second in service aces (0.37 saps). Junior libero Kristen Kathan is fourth in digs (4.29 dps) and sophomore setter Carli Lloyd leads all players in assists with 12.18 aps. Three Bears hold top-10 spots in hitting percentage led by freshman middle hitter Shannon Hawari (.422) who is second in the conference; Cutura is seventh (.320) and senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon is 10th (.317).
NATIONAL N' THEM: The Bears hold several distinctions among the country's top teams including second in assists with 14.11 aps. As a byproduct, the Bears rank second in the country in kills with 15.15 kps. Valparaiso leads all teams with a 15.22 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, 44tt among NCAA division I teams; one of seven Pac-10 teams in the top 50 in that statistical category. Individually, sophomore setter Carli Lloyd is second in the country with 12.18 aps and junior outside Hana Cutura is 13th nationally in kills at 4.41 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 366 (116e, 781att, .320) and kills per set (4.41 kps). She also does her share of work on defense, picking up 203 digs thus far (2.45 dps). Senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck has logged 98 kills (1.85 kps) and 28 total blocks (0.53 bps) after earning All-Pac-10 honorable mention in 2007. Senior Am'ra Solomon has made huge contributions, putting down 237 kills (3.16 kps, second on the team) with a .317 attack percentage (62e, 552att). Solomon netted 80 kills (2.58 kps) a year ago in limited action. The Bears also added the services of freshman Tarah Murrey (184k, 86e, 427att, .230) 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 seventh in all-time career kills at Cal with 1,243 and will likely threaten the fifth-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 1,011 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 12.18 aps (1,023 assists), tops in the Pac-10, but more importantly, she has the Bears on top of the conference with a 14.11 aps mark (second 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 2,573 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 4.29 dps (360 in 84 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 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 3.16 kills per set are good for second on the team behind team leader junior Hana Cutura. Solomon's sure hand has netted her a .317 attack percentage (237k, 62e, 552att). She set new career highs in attacks at UCLA Oct. 24, with 49; and recorded a new career-high in kills with 20 at Arizona Nov. 7. 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 27 kills (0.73 kps) in limited time (17e, 89att, .112) and 34 total blocks (0.92 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 100 kills on 199 attacks with just 16 errors all season. Her .422 attack percentage is second best among all Pac-10 players. She has also racked up a total of 54 blocks (0.86 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 .306 clip (174k, 65e, 356att). 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 tied for first in the Pac-10 in kills per set with a 4.41 kps average but is also seventh in the conference with a .320 attack percentage, the highest of any outside hitter in the Pac-10. She has also contributed to the Cal defense by putting in 2.45 digs per set. Her 5.10 points per set is tops in the conference and she leads the Bears in service aces with 31 (0.37, 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 and later served up a career-high three service aces at Arizona Nov. 7.
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.