California Volleyball Announces 2009 Schedule
March 11, 2009
The California volleyball program released its 2009 schedule, head coach Rich Feller announced today. The Golden Bears have 14 matches against teams that finished the 2008 season ranked in the Bison/AVCA Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll and host three tournaments at Haas Pavilion this fall. The 2009 schedule features 11 opponents that made the NCAA tournament last year, including six that advanced to regional championship semifinals or further.
Cal will open 2009 by hosting Connecticut, Southern Methodist and Wichita State in the Cal Molten Classic on Aug. 25-26 (Friday-Saturday). A total of six matches will comprise the two-day tournament schedule starting with UConn facing SMU on Friday, Aug. 25 at 4:30 p.m. before Cal and Wichita State take the court at 7 p.m. Two matches take place at noon on Saturday (Aug. 26) before the Bears conclude the tourney with a bout against Southern Methodist at 7 p.m.
The Bears will celebrate Labor Day with a trip to the islands for the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic hosted by Hawai'i at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu from Sept. 3-6 (Thursday-Sunday). Cal will take on Texas on Sept. 3, Saint Louis on Sept. 5 and Hawai'i on Sept. 6. All three matches are scheduled for 5 p.m. HT.
Upon returning to Haas Pavilion, Cal hosts San Jose State and Eastern Washington in the Double Tree Classic on Sept. 11-12 (Friday-Saturday) before welcoming Saint Mary's College and San Francisco for the Pac-10/WCC Challenge on Sept. 18-19 (Friday-Saturday). Stanford will also face SMC and USF the same weekend.
The Bears kick off a Pac-10 schedule that features four teams from the 2008 NCAA regional championship semifinal by hosting Stanford in the first of two Big Spikes on Friday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. Right away, Cal heads to the road to take on three more perennial conference powers with matches at USC (Oct. 2) and UCLA (Oct. 3). The Trojans and the Bruins visit Haas Pavilion on Oct. 30 and 31. The Bears will honor their seniors on Sunday, Nov. 15 in a 1 p.m. match against Oregon before completing the season with three matches on the road.
Cal takes on Arizona State (Nov. 20) and Arizona (Nov. 22) before completing the regular-season schedule with a day-after-Thanksgiving battle at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. for the second Big Spike. The Bears are looking to make their 13th appearance in the NCAA tournament this season, with the championship final taking place at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa Bay, Fla., Dec. 17-19. This year's NCAA regional championships will take place at Florida, Minnesota, Nebraska and Stanford.
The 2009 squad will bring back five starters including two-time AVCA All-American senior outside hitter Hana Cutura and 2008 second-team AVCA All-American junior setter Carli Lloyd. Senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley returns to the lineup after receiving Pac-10 honorable mention notice along with senior defensive specialist/libero Kristen Kathan, who is climbing the ranks in the Cal record books for digs and service aces. After receiving Pac-10 All-Freshman honors, two sophomores return to the court as valuable weapons for the Bears in outside hitter Tarah Murrey and part-time starting middle hitter Shannon Hawari.
The Bears received the No. 6 ranking in the final Bison/AVCA poll, after completing the 2008 season with the best record in school history at 26-7 (.788). Cal also recorded a program-best 13 victories in conference play (defeating every team at least once for the first time in school history) and finished third in the Pac-10 (13-5).
Cal advanced to the NCAA regional final for the second consecutive year where they fell to eventual NCAA champion, top-seeded Penn State in the University Park region. The Bears set school records with new marks for winning streaks by claiming 29 consecutive sets without a loss and winning 16 straight home matches.