No. 11 Golden Bears Close Regular Season at No. 6 Stanford
Nov. 23, 2009
BERKELEY - The Golden Bears look to close the regular season on a strong note after having their six-match winning streak snapped as they face rival Stanford in the second Big Spike on a day-after-Thanksgiving conference-season finale. Cal has a chance to win the season series against the Cardinal for the first time in 30 years when it takes the floor against Stanford. The last time the Bears paid a visit to Maples Pavilion, they took home a four-set victory to mark the first time Cal won in Stanford's gym since 1979. The Bears also have the chance to play the role of spoiler as a win on Friday would put Stanford on the outside looking in for a share of the conference crown. Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura continues to provide some major firepower for the Bears as she leads the Pac-10 in kills (5.17 kps) and points (5.69 pps) heading into the final weekend of play.
THE FACTS: The No. 11-ranked California volleyball team (18-9, 11-6 Pac-10) faces No. 6 Stanford (20-7, 13-4 Pac-10) in the second Big Spike of the year at 7 p.m. PT on Friday, Nov. 27, at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. This is the 70th meeting between the two Bay-Area rivals and is Stanford's Senior Day match.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: Fox Sports Net will be on hand to produce the second Big Spike and will be broadcasting the match via tape delay on Sunday, Nov. 29. Paul Sunderland will call the action with Holly McPeak providing color commentary. Please check your local listings for times and availability. Live statistics for the match will be available via Gametracker at both www.GoStanford.com and www.CalBears.com. Fans can also receive set-score updates and a behind-the-scenes look at the Bears by following CalVolleyball on www.twitter.com/calvolleyball.
NCAA SELECTION SHOW: The Bears are in position to receive a school record eighth consecutive bid to the NCAA tournament. The selection committee will reveal its 64-team bracket for the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championships on Sunday, Nov. 29, at noon PT on ESPNews.
BEAR BRILLIANCE: Six California volleyball players received honorable mention selections to the 2009 Pac-10 Conference All-Academic team. Senior libero Kristen Kathan received her third honorable mention and was joined by a duo of second-time honorable mention Bears; senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley and junior setter Carli Lloyd. Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura, junior defensive specialist Meagan Schmitt and sophomore outside hitter Tarah Murrey each made their first appearance on the all-academic team with honorable mention status. The Bears also had at least six players on the conference all-academic team on two other occasions: 1997 and 2006.
LAST WEEK: Cal went to the desert and returned home with a four-set win over Arizona State and a four-set loss to No. 19 Arizona. The latter defeat halted a season-high six-match winning streak and knocked the Bears out of the running for at least a piece of their first conference title. Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura recorded her 10th double-double of the season as she led the team with 19 kills and a career-high tying 19 digs against the Sun Devils. Sophomore outside hitter Tarah Murrey contributed 15 kills and five digs to the Cal victory while senior libero Kristen Kathan's 15 digs moved her ahead of Tiffany Rochelle (1986-89) into third place at Cal in all-time digs. Kathan now has 1,421 in her four-year career. Senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley had 11 kills and four blocks in the Cal victory. Cutura returned to the court two days later and put up her sixth match with at least 25 kills as she led all players with 26 against the Wildcats. Junior setter Carli Lloyd had 41 assists to go with a season-high 14 digs as the Bears fell in its final regular-season match away from the Bay Area.
NO. 6 STANFORD NOTES: The Cardinal (20-7, 13-4 Pac-10) has won its last five matches and dropped just two sets in that stretch. Stanford ranks no lower than sixth in the Pac-10 in all statistical categories. The Cardinal is the second-best attacking team in the conference with a .272 attack percentage (1427k, 440e, 3634att) and ranks fourth in both kills (14.13 kps) and assists (13.31 aps). Defensively, Stanford is third in the conference in digs (15.42 dps) and fifth in blocks (2.65 bps) to hold opponents to a .210 attack rate (sixth in the Pac-10). Junior outside hitter Alix Klineman leads the Cardinal and ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in kills (4.11 kps) and points (4.71 pps). Senior middle blocker Janet Okogbaa leads the team and is second in the conference in hitting percentage (.386) and blocks (1.30 bps). Freshman middle blocker Jessica Walker is tied for ninth in the Pac-10 in blocks with 1.02 bps and leads the Cardinal with 22 service aces on the season. Junior libero Gabi Ailes tops all conference players in digs with 5.42 dps and has put up 21 service aces. Freshman setter Karissa Cook dishes out 8.63 assists per set and ranks 10th in the conference. Cal's four-set win over the Cardinal on Oct. 19, 2008, marked the first time that the Bears claimed victory on Stanford's home floor. This time, the Bears look to win consecutive matches in the Cardinal gym for the first time in school history and can sweep the season series for the first time in 30 years. The Bears won the last meeting in five sets at Haas Pavilion on Sept. 25, but Stanford leads the series by a 61-8 margin.
RECORD RECALL: Several long-standing Cal records have been broken this season. The most notable of newly minted records is the all-time leader for career kills. Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura surpassed 20-year record holder Tiffany Rochelle (1986-89) for most kills in a five-set victory at Washington on Nov. 7, and now has 1,914. Cutura also made her way from eighth at the beginning of the season to third place in career attacks and now has 4,441. Junior setter Carli Lloyd started the season in fifth but has now taken over second place for career assists (4,115) as she passed Sienna Curci (1989-93) on Nov. 15. Senior libero Kristen Kathan has moved into third place in career digs with 1,421. Senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley entered the all-time career blocks leader ladder and has 316 for 10th on Cal's all-time record.
WILD TURKEY: Cal's final regular-season match at Stanford on Friday, Nov. 27, was selected as the Fox Sports Net wild card match and will be broadcast via tape delay distribution on Sunday, Nov. 29. The day-after-Thanksgiving showdown will be the third FSN broadcast that the Bears will appear in this season. Cal also appeared in live telecasts six other times this year and holds a 5-3 record when on television.
BRAND NEW BEARS: The Bears signed two top-ranked recruits to its 2010 class out of the great state of Texas. Cal will welcome the services of outside hitters Lauren Loerch (Georgetown, Texas/Georgetown HS) and Adrienne Gehan (Dallas, Texas/Episcopal School of Dallas). Loerch played for Austin Performance volleyball club and was named to the 'Next 30' list of Fab 50 Recruits. She was the Prep Volleyball No. 23 Senior Ace and was selected to the 16-5A District All-Tournament team in 2008 and 2009. Gehan played for the Skyline Juniors volleyball club and lettered all four years in high school. She was named to the All-Southwest Preparatory Conference team three times and was selected to the All-Texas team. Gehan was named an AAU All-American in 2007 and 2008 and was a top-50 junior recruit as well as Prep Volleyball's No. 22 Senior Ace.
BEARS IN THE PAC-10 RANKS: The Bears rank third in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage (.267; 14th nationally) and opponent hitting percentage (.188). Cal is fifth in kills (14.00 kps) and assists (12.95 aps) in the conference and fourth in blocks (2.72 bps). Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura leads the conference and is third nationally in kills per set with 5.17 kps. Cutura also leads all Pac-10 players and is fourth nationally in points with 5.69 pps. With a .315 rate, Cutura ranks 10th and is the only outside hitter among the top 10 players in hitting percentage. Junior setter Carli Lloyd is fourth in the conference with 11.28 assists per set (18th in the nation). Senior libero Kristen Kathan is seventh in digs with 3.83 dps. Senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley is sixth in hitting percentage at .341 (250k, 83e, 490att) and sixth in blocks at 1.06 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 seventh week of RPI ratings, Cal moved up to No. 8 just behind the Pac-10's highest-rated teams, No. 5 Washington and No. 6 Stanford. No. 10 UCLA is no far behind along with No. 17 Arizona, No. 25 USC and No. 26 Oregon to give the conference seven of the top 30 rated teams.
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 the 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: Cal's final regular season match at Stanford on Friday, Nov. 27, will be carried via tape delay by Fox Sports Net. The Bears were also featured on two other FSN television broadcasts this season as it 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, Washington leads all teams with the No. 4 ranking. No. 6 Stanford follows next with No. 9 UCLA not far behind. Cal checks in at No. 11 with No. 16 USC, No. 18 Oregon and No. 19 Arizona 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 held a ranking for several weeks this season. 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 Washington, No. 6 Stanford, No. 9 UCLA, No. 16 USC, No. 18 Oregon, No. 19 Arizona and a previously ranked 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 No. 22 Saint Mary's (CA) twice, San Francisco and a formerly-ranked 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 13 home dates this season, Cal has welcomed 12,876 fans to Haas for an average of 990 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.
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 4,115 career assists, Lloyd is second among active Pac-10 assist leaders and is second all-time for the Bears; surpassing Sienna Curci (1989-93) on Nov. 15. 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 1,421 career digs, she ranks third all-time at Cal and is currently fourth among active Pac-10 players. Kathan passed Tiffany Rochelle (1986-89) to move into third place as she put up 15 digs against Arizona State on Nov. 20.
#2 | BROTHERLY LOVE: Senior libero Kristen Kathan is the eldest of three siblings. Her two younger brothers, Ryan (22) and Michael (17) also grew up playing sports for nearby Campolindo High School in Moraga, Calif. However, Kathan also affectionately calls senior outside hitter Hana Cutura her 'brother' as the two have become a close pair of friends over the course of their four-year careers. The name originates from a costume party for which Kathan and Cutura dressed as males complete with beards. Cutura called Kathan 'brother' once and the name stuck. Listen carefully when the Bears are in serve-receive and you can hear them calling each other 'Bro' or 'Brother'.
#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 alumni 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 173 kills (62e, 403att) and a .275 attack percentage while adding 75 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 seven service aces and put up 44 digs in 77 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 250 kills (83e, 490att) to log a .341 attack percentage this year and leads the team in blocks with 1.06 bps and 110 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.
#21 | BLOCKBUSTER: Mindi Wiley broke into Cal's top-10 career blocks leaders during a match against Oregon State on Nov. 13. The senior middle hitter currently has 316 and ranks sixth among active Pac-10 players as she leads the team with 110 (1.06 bps).
#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 since-broken 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. Cutura logged her third 30-kill performance of the season with 33 against Washington (10e, 77att, .299) on Nov. 7. In her career, Cutura has 1,914 kills and is Cal's all-time leader for career kills; tops among active Pac-10 players. She also ranks third in all-time career attacks at Cal with 4,441.
#26 | CROATIAN SENSATION: Two-time All-American outside hitter Hana Cutura was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the second time after she posted career highs in kills (33) and attacks (77) in a five-set upset victory over No. 4 Washington on the road. Cutura also took the lead in all-time career kills at Cal after that match as she surpassed Lisa Arce and Tiffany Rochelle on the same night. Cutura was also the 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).
#26 | SENIOR ACE: Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura has recorded 111 career service aces and ranks seventh all-time at Cal. She ranks third among active Pac-10 players and is tops on the team with 18 (0.17 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 silver medalist 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 144 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).