No. 13 Golden Bears Set for Pac-10/WCC Challenge

Sept. 15, 2009

BERKELEY - Haas Pavilion | Berkeley, Calif.Pac-10/WCC Challenge

vs. Saint Mary's (CA)Friday, Sept. 18 7 p.m. PT

vs. San FranciscoSaturday, Sept. 19 7 p.m. PT

The Golden Bears look to extend their three-match winning streak as Cal plays host to Saint Mary's College and San Francisco in the Pac-10/WCC Challenge this weekend. The Bears' 3-1 victory over the Gaels in the Nevada Invitational remains the only loss for a Saint Mary's squad that has since won six straight matches. The Dons have reeled off three straight wins of their own and enter the weekend as winners of four of their last six. Outside hitter Hana Cutura tacked up another impressive performance in her last two outings to garner MVP honors at the Molten/Hilton Garden Inn Classic. Cutura was joined on the all-tournament team by fellow seniors Mindi Wiley and Kristen Kathan as well as junior setter Carli Lloyd. The four team captains hope to lead the Bears to some much-needed momentum with Pac-10 conference matches looming just around the corner.

THE FACTS: The No. 13-ranked California volleyball team (5-3) hosts Saint Mary's College (7-1) and San Francisco (5-5) in the Pac-10/WCC Challenge this weekend (Sept. 18-19) at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears and the Gaels will clash first in a rematch of an Aug. 29 bout that Cal won in four sets. Cal and Saint Mary's take the court for a 7 p.m. match on Friday, Sept. 18 before the Bears take on the Dons in a 7 p.m. match on Saturday, Sept. 19. USF will take on Stanford on Sept. 18 and SMC will head to Palo Alto on Sept. 19 as the teams trade places to complete the Bay-Area Pac-10/WCC Challenge. Live statistics via Gametracker and live streaming video are available via links at CalBears.com.

LAST WEEK: The Bears hosted Eastern Washington and San Jose State in the Molten/Hilton Garden Inn Classic at Haas Pavilion and claimed 3-0 and 3-1 victories respectively on successive nights. Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura led Cal with 13 kills (6e, 36att, .194) against the Eagles and was flanked by senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley who posted a .688 attack percentage with 12 kills (1e, 16att). As a team, the Bears logged a .320 attack rate on 100 attacks (46k, 14e) against Eastern Washington. Cutura returned for another big match against the Spartans as she led the way with 17 kills (4e, 42att, .310). Cal got offensive contribution from many players against San Jose State but did a number on the Spartan attack by holding it to just 32 kills on 133 attacks (32e) and a .000 attack percentage. Cutura, Wiley, senior libero Kristen Kathan and junior setter Carli Lloyd were each named to the all-tournament team.

SAINT MARY'S COLLEGE NOTES: The Gaels (7-1) enter the weekend as winners of their last six matches. After opening the season with a 3-1 win over Connecticut, Saint Mary's fell in four sets to a No. 6-ranked Cal team at the Nevada Invitational. The Gaels have since dropped just three sets; never more than one in any single match. Saint Mary's relies heavily on freshman outside hitter Lauren Corp who leads the team with 3.55 kps and is attacking at a .304 rate (103k, 21e, 270att). Corp also poses a defensive threat to opponents with a 2.28 dps average and is third on the team with 23 total blocks. Junior setter Kapua Kamana'o sets the pace for the Gaels with 10.57 aps and senior libero Alita Fisher leads the team with 4.45 dps. As a team, the Gaels attack at a .284 rate (418k, 120e, 1050att) and are digging up an average of 15 attacks every set. The Bears and the Gaels will be meeting for the 13th time with Cal holding an 11-2 edge in the all-time series. The teams have split the last two meetings but the last time Cal and Saint Mary's met twice in the same season, the Bears came away with two victories in 1988.

SAN FRANCISCO NOTES: The Dons (5-5) have won their last three matches heading into the Pac-10/WCC Challenge. After starting out 2-5, San Francisco swept Sacramento State before claiming a five-set win against Alabama and another sweep over Fresno State in the Hornet Invitational. Senior libero Haley Carroll set the all-time digs record at USF against Sacramento State and captured tournament MVP honors. Recently named the West Coast Conference player of the week, Carroll has accumulated 1,752 digs in her career and leads the Dons with 5.08 dps. Junior outside hitter Sarah Mandala leads San Francisco with 4.70 kps and has posted 174 kills in 10 matches this season. Mandala is also second on the team in digs with 2.19 dps. Sophomore middle blocker Erin Bragg leads the team in blocking with 1.08 bps and is second on the team with 2.57 kps (95k, 33e, 194att, .320). Junior Alaina Sully (8.15 aps) and freshman Leanna Ludes (6.95 aps) share time at setter for the Dons. The Bears have never lost to San Francisco and hold a 34-0 record all-time. Cal swept the Dons in three sets in a Sept. 20 meeting last year.

BEARS IN THE PAC-10 RANKS: Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura leads the conference in kills per set with a 4.81 kps average. The next closest player is Rachel Rourke of Oregon State with 4.03 kps. Junior setter Carli Lloyd is seventh in the conference with 10.16 assists per set. Senior libero Kristen Kathan ranks 10th in digs with 2.90 dps.

ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: Several Bears received all-tournament team honors in pre-conference tournaments this season. Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura was named the MVP of the Molten/Hilton Garden Inn Classic and selected to the all-tournament team at both the Nevada Marriott Courtyard/Fairfield Invitational and the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. Junior setter Carli Lloyd joined Cutura for all-tourney honors in Nevada and in the Molten. Senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley joined Cutura in Hawai'i and also received a spot on the Molten all-tournament team. Senior libero Kristen Kathan was also selected to the Molten all-tournament team.

BEARS IN TV LAND: The Bears will be featured in two Fox Sports Net television broadcasts this season. FSN will be on hand at Haas Pavilion to cover Cal's Pac-10 opener against Stanford on Friday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. PT. The Bears' first Pac-10 road match will also be televised when Cal visits the Galen Center in Los Angeles to take on USC on Friday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. Both matches will be televised via tape delay on the Sunday immediately following the match. The Bears will also appear in home matches against Washington State (Oct. 10) and Oregon (Nov. 15) on Comcast SportsNet California. Cal's visit to the Hawaiian Islands was broadcast by K5 Honolulu as they took out Hawai'i on Sept. 6. Please check your local listings for times and availability.

RUNNIN' WITH THE PAC: Cal competes in what is undeniably the toughest conference in women's collegiate volleyball--the Pacific-10. The conference has captured five of the last eight NCAA titles and holds 13 volleyball national championships overall. The Pac-10 has had 10 or more AVCA All-American selections in each of the last four years and boasts a group of coaches with over 200 years of combined head-coaching experience. Six Pac-10 teams hold rankings in the current AVCA Top 25 poll. Washington leads all teams with the No. 3 ranking. No. 7 UCLA follows next with No. 11 Stanford, No. 12 Oregon and No. 13 Cal not too far behind. USC holds down the No. 15 spot to give the conference six teams in the top 15 alone. Arizona broke into the rankings for the first time this season on Sept. 7 and is now ranked No. 21. Washington State and Oregon State also received votes in the last poll to give the Pac-10 at least nine teams on coaches ballots.

STRICT SCHEDULE: As a part of the Pac-10 conference, the Bears face top-ranked teams on a regular basis. This season Cal is scheduled to face at least 16 teams ranked in the top 25 before season's end. In addition to taking on No. 3 Washington, No. 7 UCLA, No. 11 Stanford, No. 12 Oregon, No. 15 USC and No. 21 Arizona twice this season, the Bears also faced No. 2 Texas, No. 22 Saint Louis and No. 4 Hawai'i in three consecutive matches as part of the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic in Honolulu from Sept. 3-6. Among teams receiving votes in the preseason poll, Cal also has Saint Mary's (CA) twice, San Francisco and No. 18 UC Irvine on its schedule.

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 as a part of the national Dig for the Cure campaign. Cal volleyball will run a special donation drive to benefit the Alta Bates Carol Ann Reed Breast Health Center when it takes on Arizona on Friday, Oct. 23. Check CalBears.com for more details on promotions as the match nears.

PACK THE PAVILION: On Friday, Sept. 25, fans can help the Cal volleyball team set a new attendance record as the Bears take on rival Stanford in the Big Spike. Special prizes will be handed out as part of the festivities and the push to break the old attendance record of 3,976.

SEEING DOUBLE: The Bears will face Saint Mary's College in two matches this season; the first was a 3-1 win for Cal on Aug. 29 at the Nevada Marriott Courtyard/Fairfield Invitational. The Gaels and Bears meet again on Sept. 18 in the Pac-10/WCC Challenge. The last time Cal faced a non-conference opponent twice in the same season was in 1996 when the Bears suffered back-to-back losses to Hawai'i in Honolulu on Sept. 13 and 14. However, the last time the Bears faced Saint Mary's twice in the same season, Cal came away with two victories in 1988.

WELCOME FRESHMEN: The Bears bring in seven newcomers in 2009. Among the top-10 ranked recruiting class, Cal's roster will feature four PrepVolleyball.com Top Senior Aces and three players who each earned Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 and UnderArmour High School All-America recognition. Joining the Bears this season are outside hitter Jessica Adams; setter Elly Barrett; middle hitter Kat Brown; outside hitter Mary Buckingham; middle hitter Tia Gaffen; middle hitter Correy Johnson; and defensive specialist Robin Rostratter.

TEXAS TWO-STEP: For the seventh consecutive season, the Cal roster will feature at least two players from the great state of Texas. Sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari (Plano, Texas) and freshman setter Elly Barrett (Austin, Texas) each hail from the Lone Star State. Barrett grew up close to Texas volleyball as a resident of Austin, one of the teams on the Bears' schedule this season.

EAGLE'S NEST: Assistant coach Chris Bigelow is a former middle blocker for the Eastern Washington Eagles. Bigelow played for head coach Beth Parsons when Eastern was a part of the Pine League and completed her physical education degree from the university in 1974. The Bears defeated the Eagles, 3-0, on Friday, Sept. 11. Bigelow also has connections with another Cal opponent this season; she was an assistant coach at Texas from 1984-91.

ISLAND CONNECTION: First-year director of volleyball operations Jennifer Carey is a former All-Western Athletic Conference setter for Hawai'i. Carey set records as a member of the Rainbow Wahine and was a four-time selection to the WAC All-Academic team. She arrived at Cal via Georgia Tech where she was an assistant coach under Bond Shymansky (currently the head coach at Marquette). Prior to coaching, Carey served as the director of operations for Texas A&M volleyball. Cal's visit to the islands was a homecoming for Carey as the Bears defeated her alma mater (3-2) on Sept. 6 in Honolulu.

#1 | SETTING HER PLACE: In just two seasons, setter Carli Lloyd has established herself as a force to be reckoned with. As a freshman, she completed her season just six assists shy of setting a new Cal single-season record as she posted 1,550 in 2007. In 2008, Lloyd continued to push boundaries by putting up 1,392 assists, as she earned the sixth best all-time single-season mark at Cal and placed third in the nation with her 12.00 aps average. With 3,257 career assists, Lloyd is second among active Pac-10 assist leaders and sits comfortably in fifth all-time for the Bears; on pace to continue to break records in the years to come. Over the summer, she was named to the all-tournament team at the USA Adult Open Volleyball Championship as she helped guide her team to a bronze medal finish.

#1 | HOME, HOME ON THE RANGE: Setter Carli Lloyd was quite literally raised in a barn. Her home in Bonsall, Calif. is a ranch just north of San Diego. Among the many animals on the ranch, Lloyd's pets include horses, dogs, cats, snakes, chinchillas, cows, pigs and plenty of fish in a man-made pond that she helped dig out.

#1 | CALIFORNIA GLADIATOR: Junior All-American 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.'

#2 | SHE CAN DIG IT: Senior libero Kristen Kathan led the Bears in digs in 2008 with 4.23 dps; fourth in the Pac-10. Her 491 digs ranked third all-time for single-season digs at Cal. As a sophomore, she posted the 10th best single-season mark with 414 digs. With 1,113 career digs, she is poised to break into the top 10 among Bears in that statistical category and is currently fourth among active Pac-10 players.

#3 | IT'S A SMALL HARBOR AFTER ALL: Freshman outside hitter Mary Buckingham shares an alma mater with two of Cal's staff members. A 2009 graduate of Newport Harbor High School, Buckingham joins fellow Sailor alum Jennifer Carey (`99, director of operations) and Ryan Newell ('04, volunteer assistant coach) in Berkeley this fall.

#4 | TARAH-RIZING THE COURT: In just her first year with the Bears, outside hitter Tarah Murrey proved why she was such a sought after recruit coming out of high school. Murrey posted 277 kills and ranked third on the team with 2.43 kps. She also contributed 177 digs in 2008 on her way to a selection on the Pac-10 All-Freshman team. Last summer, she helped her USA A2 team to a bronze medal at the 80th Annual USA Adult Open Volleyball Championship.

#7 | ROE SHAM BO: As a freshman, setter/defensive specialist Ashley Roe appeared in five matches for the Bears. Her first collegiate play was a service ace. Heading into her sophomore season, Roe hopes to bring a new set of tools to the court as she competes for time as a defensive specialist.

#8 | FANTASMICORREY: Hailing from Orlando, Fla., the home of Disney World and Mickey Mouse, freshman opposite Correy Johnson has wasted no time making her way to the court and contributing both offensively and defensively. In her first six matches, Johnson has posted 36 kills (19e, 101att) and a .168 attack percentage while adding 17 blocks.

#9 | OBI WAN KENOBERMEYER: Sophomore 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 2008 valedictorians at Westmont High School in Campbell, Calif. As a freshman, she 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 | WAKEY, WAKEY; EGGS AND BAKEY: One of freshman setter Elly Barrett's favorite pastimes is wakeboarding. She spent the summer prior to entering school at Berkeley serving as a counselor at a Christian wakeboard camp called Instead in Austin, Texas. The camp operates as a ministry of the Austin Ridge Bible Church.

#11 | DOUBLE-DRIBBLE: Freshman middle hitter Kat Brown was a dual-sport athlete in high school as she excelled on both the volleyball and basketball courts. She was a four-year starter in both sports at St. Francis Central Coast Catholic High School. Her basketball coach was former Golden Bear point guard Kristin Iwanaga. Iwanaga helped Brown achieve school records in points, rebounds and blocked shots on her way to being named Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League MVP as a senior.

#13 | GOPHER GAFFEN: Freshman middle hitter Tia Gaffen is the first Golden Bear to hail from the Gopher State. A native of Wayzata, Minn., Gaffen comes from a place better known as the 'North Star State', 'Bread and Butter State' and the 'Land of 10,000 Lakes'. In the end, Gaffen chose one bay over many lakes.

#13 | GAFFEN'S GAFF: Freshman middle hitter Tia Gaffen saw her first collegiate action in matches against Eastern Washington and San Jose State in the 2009 Molten/Hilton Garden Inn Classic. She hooked the competition for several points as she posted 12 kills (2e, 23att) and a .435 attack percentage in seven sets. She also had four assists and four blocks.

#14 | HAWARIAN VACATION: Sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari didn't take any time off when she set a new Cal record for single season hitting percentage in 2008 as she posted a .387 mark with 113 kills on 230 attacks. She ranked fourth among Pac-10 players and also contributed to the Bears defensively with 64 blocks on her way to a selection to the 2008 Pac-10 All-Freshman team.

#17 | ROCKIN' ROBIN: Freshman defensive specialist Robin Rostratter has found a way to rock out on the volleyball court, coming in to serve and to play back-row for the Bears this season. Rostratter has recorded a service ace and put up 11 digs in 11 sets of play so far. When she's not on the court, Rostratter likes to rock out to a variety of music; from Beyoncé to John Mayer and from Michael Bublé to T-Pain.

#21 | MINDI IN THE MIDDLE: Senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley led the Bears in blocks in 2008 with 123; 1.09 bps. Those numbers were good enough to rank fifth among Pac-10 players. She also ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage with a .337 mark (258k, 86e, 511att). Wiley received AVCA All-Pacific Region honorable mention and All-Pac-10 honorable mention as a junior and set the ninth best single-season mark for blocks as well as the sixth best single-season mark for hitting percentage at Cal.

#21 | MIND OVER MATTER: Senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley is one of the most efficient attackers for the Bears. She has notched 68 kills (22e, 128att) to log a .359 attack percentage this year and leads the team in blocks with 0.97 bps and 30 total blocks. Wiley is an avid believer in signs, mythology, numerology and looks far deeper into things than beyond the surface.

#26 | HANA HOU: Meaning 'Do it again!' in Hawaiian, Cal fans want senior All-American outside hitter Hana Cutura to do it again. Cutura posted new career highs for kills and attacks in a five-set win against Hawai'i on Sept. 6. Cutura's 30 kills (72 attacks) made her the first Bear to reach the 30-kill mark since All-American outside hitter Mia Jerkov recorded 32 kills in a loss to Georgia Tech on Dec. 12, 2003. In her career, Cutura has 1,525 kills and is fourth all-time at Cal for career kills; the leader among active Pac-10 players. She is also within reasonable reach of the all-time mark at Cal of 1,814 kills held by Tiffany Rochelle (1986-89).

#26 | THE CROATION SENSATION: Two-time All-American outside hitter Hana Cutura led the Bears in kills (4.34 kps, 499 kills) and points (572.5) in 2008. As a senior, she returns to the Cal lineup with 1,525 career kills (the leader among active Pac-10 players). Her performance as a junior nabbed her second All-Pac-10 selection as she set the fifth highest mark for single-season kills at Cal. She is tops among active Pac-10 players in service aces with 98; tied for 10th all-time at Cal.

#26 | PASSING ON PIROUETTES: Hailing from Zagreb, Croatia, senior 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 youth but her natural gift for volleyball eventually shoved Nutcracker dreams aside. As just a sophomore, Cutura's play in the postseason earned her honors as the NCAA Wisconsin Regional MVP. As a junior, Cutura received her second selection to the AVCA All-America team; each achievements 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.

#39 | THE ADAMS FAMILY: Freshman outside hitter Jessica Adams comes from a long line of California alumni. Her great-great uncle Homer Woolsey MD received his degree from the university in 1910. Her great-grandparents Fred Lawson Adams and Marion Anderson Adams were students in Berkeley in 1921 and 1926 and her grandparents Fred Lawson Adams Jr. and Joan Woolsey Adams received degrees in the early 1950's. Most recently aunt Jill Adams and uncle Jeff Adams received degrees in 1976 and 1984 respectively. Currently, Adams' brother Lawson David is set to graduate in 2010.

#44 | FAMILY TRACK RECORD: Junior defensive specialist Meagan Schmitt seems destined to be a Cal athlete. Both of 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.

FOLLOW CAL VOLLEYBALL ON TWITTER: This season, fans can follow Cal volleyball on Twitter. Stay up-to-date and get the inside scoop along with special Twitter-only photos on everything Cal volleyball at www.twitter.com/calvolleyball.

SEASON TICKET HOLDER CHALLENGE: The Cal volleyball team issued a challenge to its season ticket holders this season. In an effort to raise the number of season ticket holders and E-newsletter subscribers, the team is offering prize incentives for different levels of goal achievement. Check the volleyball page at CalBears.com for more information and learn how you can help.

GOING BACK TO CALI: Before each match, the Bears gather for a team huddle in which they chant 'Going, going; back, back; to Cali, Cali!' Taken from the 1997 rap-hit Going Back To Cali by late Bad Boy Records rapper Notorious B.I.G., the chant is a reference to the great Golden State; the home of the Golden Bears.

PRESEASON POLL POSITIONS: Cal received the No. 6 ranking in two preseason polls; the AVCA Division I Coaches' Top 25 Poll and the Volleyball Magazine Top 20 Poll. The selection in the AVCA poll marks the ninth time in school history that the Bears have been ranked to open a season; the seventh since Rich Feller became head coach in 1999. Cal was ranked No. 5 at the start of 2008 and finished No. 6. The Bears held the No. 12 spot in 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 in 2008 as the Bears reached No. 4 for several weeks. Since 1982, the Bears have been ranked in the weekly AVCA poll a total of 133 times.

2008 IN REVIEW: The Bears recorded the best record in school history as they advanced to the NCAA Regional Final for the second consecutive season and received the No. 6 ranking in the final AVCA poll. Cal finished 26-7 overall and claimed third place in the Pac-10 with a 13-5 mark. The Bears defeated every team in the Pac-10 at least once for the first time and beat Stanford on the road for the first time in 29 years. Cal reeled off a school-record 29 consecutive set victories from Sept. 14 through Oct. 19 and set a new mark for consecutive home wins with 16 from Oct. 11, 2007 through Nov. 2, 2008. The Bears' 18-1 start to the season and 8-0 mark to open conference play were also new program bests. Cal received a school-record seventh-consecutive bid to the NCAA tournament and hosted first and second round matches at Haas Pavilion. The Bears defeated Siena College, New Mexico State and Illinois in postseason play before falling to eventual national champion No. 1-ranked Penn State in the State College Regional Championship match. Outside hitter Hana Cutura and setter Carli Lloyd received AVCA All-America and Pac-10 All-Conference honors. The duo was joined by outside hitter Amr'a Solomon, and middle hitter Mindi Wiley for postseason awards as Solomon and Wiley received AVCA regional recognition and All-Pac-10 honorable mention. Cal also placed two players on the conference all-freshman team as outside hitter Tarah Murrey and middle hitter Shannon Hawari each made appearances on the short roster. Murrey ranked third on the team in kills per set (2.43 kps) and Hawari set a new Cal single-season hitting percentage record as she registered 113 kills on 230 attacks (.387).

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