No. 14 Bears Host No. 11 UCLA and No. 16 USC to Start Pac-10 Back Nine
Oct. 28, 2009
BERKELEY - Haas Pavilion | Berkeley, Calif.
vs. No. 11 UCLAFriday, Oct. 30 7 p.m. PT
vs. No. 16 USCSaturday, Oct. 31 7 p.m. PT
The Golden Bears look to extend their three-match winning streak as they begin the back nine in Pac-10 conference matches. Cal will be seeking revenge in a big way when USC and UCLA visit Haas Pavilion on Halloween weekend. The Bears faced each team in their first conference road matches and were edged out by the Trojans in five sets before falling to the Bruins in four. Cal hopes to maintain a strong attack as the conference leader in Pac-10 matches for hitting percentage. The Bears' offense is attacking at a .291 percentage in conference play thanks in part to the recent hot hitting of outside hitter Hana Cutura. The senior captain was recently named the Pac-10 Player of the Week and the AVCA National Player of the Week for her dominating performances against Arizona and Arizona State.
THE FACTS: The No. 14-ranked California volleyball team (12-7, 5-4 Pac-10) will host No. 11 UCLA (16-6, 6-3 Pac-10) and No. 16 USC (15-6, 4-5 Pac-10) in matches at Haas Pavilion this weekend. The Golden Bears will take on the Bruins on Friday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. PT before hosting the Women of Troy on Halloween night, Saturday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. PT.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: Live statistics for both matches will be available via Gametracker through links at CalBears.com. Live streaming video is also available for both matches via CalBears.com All-Access.
PROMOTIONS: Head coach Rich Feller will host a free pre-match Chalk Talk in the Haas Pavilion Club Room at 6:15 p.m. before the UCLA match on Friday, Oct. 30. The Bears host the Cal Costume Contest on Halloween night (Saturday, Oct. 31) when USC visits Haas Pavilion. Fans are encouraged to wear their best Halloween costumes to the match.
CROATION SENSATION: Two-time All-American outside hitter Hana Cutura was named Pac-10 Player of the Week and the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 respectively. She registered 52 kills (4e, 79att) and a .608 attack percentage to go with 18 digs and four blocks in seven sets of play against Arizona (Oct. 23) and Arizona State (Oct. 25).
LAST WEEK: Cal defeated a No. 16-ranked Arizona squad in four sets before sweeping Arizona State to earn its third consecutive victory. The Bears posted their best hitting percentage of the year against the Sun Devils with a .426 attack rate (49k, 6e, 101att) while out-digging and out-blocking both of their visitors. Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura logged her second 30-kill match of the year to set a new career-high with 31 kills with just one error on 47 attacks for a .638 attack percentage. Senior libero Kristen Kathan also came on strong with a season-high 21 digs against the Wildcats. Cutura followed up her first performance with 21 kills in three sets of work as she posted a .562 attack rate on 32 attacks (3e). Cutura moved ahead of fellow All-American outside hitter Angie Pressey (2004-07) into third place all-time with 1,736 career kills at Cal. Kathan went in front of Jessica Dinaberg (1994-97) for fourth in all-time career digs at Cal with 1,276. The Bears ran their winning streak against the Sun Devils to a record 14-straight victories and have now taken seven of the last eight from Arizona.
NO. 11 UCLA NOTES: The Bruins (16-6, 6-3 Pac-10) are on a three-match winning streak of their own since dropping a four-set match at Washington on Oct. 16. UCLA's three wins have included two three-setters at Washington State and at home against Oregon State. In between, the Bruins edged out a No. 12-ranked Oregon in the fifth set, 15-9. Junior outside hitter Dicey McGraw leads UCLA offensively with 3.23 kps while adding 10 service aces on the season. Freshman outside hitter Bojana Todorovic has come on strong in conference play and shares team-high honors with 21 service aces while averaging 1.55 kps and 2.31 dps. Sophomore libero Lainey Gera leads the team and is fourth in the Pac-10 with 4.47 dps and also has 21 service aces this season. Sophomore middle blocker Amanda Gil leads the conference (second in the NCAA) in blocks with 1.63 bps. Freshman setter Lauren Cook is seventh in the Pac-10 with 10.49 aps and has contributed 16 service aces for the Bruins. UCLA leads the conference in digs (16.23 dps) and is tied for first in blocks (2.82 bps) to rank second in the Pac-10 in opponent hitting percentage (.165). The last time the two teams met, the Bruins won in four sets at Pauley Pavilion to snap a three-match losing streak to Cal. UCLA leads the all-time series, 51-4.
No. 16 USC NOTES: The Women of Troy (15-6, 4-5 Pac-10) snapped a season-high four-match losing streak by getting two sweeps at home over the weekend. USC defeated Oregon State and Oregon in six sets of work and look to regain the early-season form that helped it win 11 straight matches. The Trojans are led by sophomore outside hitter Alex Jupiter, who posts 4.54 kps to rank second in the Pac-10 and fifth in the nation. Jupiter also ranks second in the conference in points with 5.41 pps thanks in part to her 29 service aces (0.40 saps, third in the Pac-10). USC leads the conference and ranks second in the country in both kills (15.01 kps) and assists (14.15 aps). Sophomore setter Kendall Bateman leads all NCAA players with 12.26 aps. Senior libero Alli Hillgren is fifth in the Pac-10 with 4.36 dps while senior outside hitter Jessica Gysin brings in 2.92 dps to go with 3.39 kps. Junior outside hitter Kimmee Roleder logs 2.89 kps and has 16 aces this season. The Trojans rank third in the conference in opponent hitting percentage (.187) as sophomore middle blocker Lauren Williams has a team-high 57 blocks (0.85 bps). The Women of Troy own a 44-9 advantage in the all-time series record but the Bears have gone five sets with USC in three of the last four meetings and defeated USC in four sets at Haas Pavilion on Nov. 11 last year.
BEARS IN THE PAC-10 RANKS: The Bears rank third in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage (.274) and fourth in blocks (2.63 bps). Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura leads the conference and is third nationally in kills per set with 5.07 kps. Cutura also leads all Pac-10 players and is fourth nationally in points with 5.58 pps. She is the only outside hitter in the Pac-10 to rank in the conference top 10 in hitting percentage at .327 (360k, 99e, 797att). Junior setter Carli Lloyd is fourth in the conference with 11.21 assists per set (18th in the nation). Senior libero Kristen Kathan ranks eighth in digs with 3.56 dps. Senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley is third in hitting percentage at .378 (180k, 53e, 336att) and ninth in blocks at 1.04 bps.
RIPPIN' THE RPI: The NCAA released its first Division I Women's Volleyball ratings percentage index (RPI) on Sunday, Oct. 11, with the Bears debuting at No. 10 out of 330 ranked teams. A team's RPI ranking is determined by its strength of schedule and how a team does against that schedule; whether or not a team won and where the match was played. It is used by the NCAA as one determining factor in deciding which teams to invite to the NCAA tournament and where to seed them. In the third week of RPI ratings, Cal moved up to No. 9 while the Pac-10 was represented by No. 7 Washington, No. 8 Stanford and No. 13 UCLA. Arizona is at No. 17 with Oregon at No. 20 and USC at No. 24.
500 AND COUNTING: Head coach Rich Feller earned his 500th career coaching victory as the Golden Bears swept Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore. on Oct. 17. Feller reached this milestone against his former boss and current Beavers head coach, Taras Liskevych. He began his professional career as one of the top assistants to Liskevych at Pacific, where he helped guide the Tigers to second, fourth and fifth-place national finishes from 1980-83. Feller also earned his 200th victory at Cal in a sweep of Washington State on Oct. 10.
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 appear in a live 12:30 p.m. PT broadcast at home against Oregon (Sunday, Nov. 15) on Comcast SportsNet California. Please check your local listings for availability. The Bears were also featured on two Fox Sports Net television broadcasts this season. FSN was on hand at Haas Pavilion to cover Cal's Pac-10 opener against Stanford on Friday, Sept. 25 and at the Bears' first Pac-10 road match when Cal visited the Galen Center in Los Angeles to take on USC on Oct. 2. Both matches were televised via tape delay on the Sunday immediately following the match. The Bears were also on television as they defeated Washington State on Oct. 10 for head coach Rich Feller's 200th victory and once again on Oct. 25 as the Bears swept Arizona State. Cal's visit to the Hawaiian Islands was broadcast by K5 Honolulu as they took out Hawai'i on Sept. 6.
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. A conference-record eight Pac-10 teams held rankings for the first time in the Oct. 5 AVCA Top 25 poll. Currently, Stanford leads all teams with the No. 4 ranking. No. 5 Washington follows next with UCLA at No. 11. Then No. 14 Cal, No. 15 Oregon, No. 16 USC and No. 18 Arizona check in to give the conference seven teams in the top 20 alone. Washington State appeared at No. 25 in the Oct. 5 poll for the first time since 2003 and now holds the No. 21 spot. Oregon State and Arizona State each received votes in a poll earlier this season to give the Pac-10 full representation on coaches ballots in 2009.
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 17 teams ranked in the top 25 before season's end. In addition to taking on No. 4 Stanford, No. 5 Washington, No. 11 UCLA, No. 15 Oregon, No. 16 USC, No. 18 Arizona and No. 21 Washington State twice this season, the Bears also faced a No. 2-ranked Texas, No. 19 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 poll, Cal has faced Saint Mary's (CA) twice, San Francisco and No. 23 UC Irvine as well as Oregon State.
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 as a part of the national Dig for the Cure campaign. Cal volleyball ran a special donation drive to benefit the Alta Bates Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center when it defeated Arizona on Friday, Oct. 23. Cal's match at UCLA on Oct. 3 was also a Dig for the Cure match. Fans can continue to support the cause with donations throughout the rest of the season. Please visit CalBears.com and click to the volleyball home page for more information.
PACK THE PAVILION: On Friday, Sept. 25, fans set a new Haas Pavilion attendance record as the Bears defeated Stanford in the 69th Big Spike. 4,189 fans were in the building to witness the thrilling five-set finish, breaking the old record of 3,976. In nine home dates this season, Cal has welcomed 9,696 fans to Haas for an average of 1,077 per match.
SEEING DOUBLE: The Bears faced 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 and the second was also a 3-1 win for Cal 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 previous time Cal faced Saint Mary's twice in the same season, the Bears also came away with two victories in 1988.
WELCOME FRESHMEN: The Bears brought in seven newcomers in 2009. Among the top-10 ranked recruiting class, Cal's roster features 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 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 3,738 career assists, Lloyd is second among active Pac-10 assist leaders and sits comfortably in fourth 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 1,276 career digs, she ranks fourth all-time at Cal and is currently fifth 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 ('03, 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.
#4 | LITTLE FIREBALL: As a youngster, sophomore outsider hitter Tarah Murrey wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and become a firefighter. Douglas Murrey played basketball for San Jose State and was selected in the ninth-round of the 1981 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. It was Murrey's mother Barbara whose athletic influence shows through Tarah however; she played volleyball for San Jose State in 1978-79.
#8 | PART OF THEIR WORLD: Hailing from Orlando, Fla., the home of Disney World and Mickey Mouse, freshman opposite Correy Johnson's favorite Disney character is Ariel from the Little Mermaid; partly because she has similarly red hair. Johnson has wasted no time making her way to the court and contributing both offensively and defensively. She has posted 120 kills (38e, 272att) and a .301 attack percentage while adding 47 blocks. Johnson logged a career-high 15 kills (4e, 29att) and posted a .379 attack percentage in a match against USC on Oct. 2.
#8 | FANTASMICORREY: Freshman opposite hitter Correy Johnson enjoyed a career night as she logged 15 kills (4e, 29att, .379) in a match at USC on Oct. 2. Johnson, however, has shown a propensity for offensive efficiency as she has enjoyed five matches in which she attacked at better than .400; including three in which she went without error. On Sept. 19, Johnson logged five kills on six attacks (0e, .833) against San Francisco. She went for seven kills (0e, 10att, .700) on Oct. 9 against Washington. In Cal's five-set win over Stanford, Johnson logged 10 kills (1e, 16att) to record a .562 attack rate. She was .538 against Saint Mary's on Sept. 18 (7k, 0e, 13att) and .444 against Washington State on Oct. 10 (10k, 2e, 18att).
#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 two service aces and put up 26 digs in 45 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 180 kills (53e, 335att) to log a .378 attack percentage this year and leads the team in blocks with 1.02 bps and 74 total blocks. She set new career high marks in a match at USC when she posted 21 kills and 37 attacks. Wiley is an active member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee; 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.
#26 | HANA HOU: Meaning 'Do it again!' or 'Encore' 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. Cutura later broke her own personal best with a 31 kill (1e, 47att, .638) performance against Arizona on Oct. 23. In her career, Cutura has 1,736 kills and is third all-time at Cal for career kills; second 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 | SENIOR ACE: Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura has recorded 104 career service aces and ranks seventh all-time at Cal. She ranks third among active Pac-10 players and leads the team with 11 (0.15 saps) this season.
#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.
INJURY REPORT: Sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari suffered a complete tear of her left anterior cruciate ligament in the first set of Cal's match against Hawai'i in Honolulu on Sept. 6. Hawari will have reconstructive surgery to repair the ligament damage and apply for a medical hardship waiver in hopes of retaining three years of eligibility.
FOLLOW CAL VOLLEYBALL ON TWITTER: This season, fans can follow Cal volleyball on Twitter. Stay up-to-date and get the exclusive 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.
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 140 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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