No. 22 Cal (2-0) Travels to Colorado State Coors Classic

Sept. 2, 2003


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Sept. 5 vs. Seton Hall, Moby Arena, Fort Collins, CO 5 p.m.Sept. 6 vs. CS Northridge, Moby Arena, Fort Collins, CO 10 a.m.Sept. 6	at Colorado State, Moby Arena, Fort Collins, CO 7 p.m.

BEAR NOTES: No. 22 ranked California (2-0), featuring one of the nation's premier players in All-American Mia Jerkov, will be looking to extend its streak of regular season tournament victories when it travels to the Colorado State Coors Classic this weekend in Fort Collins, Colo. The Bears face Seton Hall (4-0) Friday, Sept. 5 at 5 p.m., before taking on Cal State Northridge (1-1) at 10 a.m. and host Colorado State (2-1, received votes in latest USA Today/AVCA poll) at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6. Cal has a streak of 11 straight regular season tournament victories and 33 consecutive games won in those 11 matches, carrying over from last year when it won the Golden Bear Invitational, the UNLV Gameworks Classis and the SMU DoubleTree Invitational to start the 2002 campaign. The Bears also return to the former stomping grounds of head coach Rich Feller. Feller was the head coach at Colorado State for 14 years (1983-96), leading the Rams to a 299-167 overall record (.642) and eight NCAA Tournament appearances.

CAL'S TOURNAMENT SUCCESS: Besides winning 11 straight tournament matches and capturing 33 consecutive tournament games, Cal will be attempting to win its fourth tournament in a row. The Bears won the Golden Bear Invitational, UNLV Gameworks Classic and the SMU DoubleTree Invitational to open the 2002 season with Mia Jerkov garnering MVP honors in all three of those tournaments. Last weekend's UC Irvine Tournament did not have a tournament champion, but in her last 11 tournament matches, Jerkov has recorded 185 kills, 93 digs and 26 service aces. In Cal's victories over Hofstra and UC Irvine, she tallied a combined 32 kills, 23 digs and five service aces. She led the Bears in kills in both matches, with 18 kills, a service ace and nine digs against Hofstra, and 14 kills and a team-high 14 digs with four service aces against UC Irvine. Several other Cal players performed well in the season opening matches in Irvine. Freshman setter Samantha Carter started her college career on a high note, registering 87 assists in the two matches and leading the Bears with five service aces against UC Irvine. Junior outside hitter Gabrielle Abernathy had 17 kills in the season opener against Hofstra, playing in her first match since Nov. 25, 2001 after sitting out last year to concentrate on academics. Sophomore outside hitter Jenna Brown recorded 19 kills and hit .405 for the tournament, while sophomore middle hitter Alicia Powers hit .750 (9 k, O e, 12 att.) against UC Irvine and junior middle hitter Camille Leffall had 18 block assists over the weekend.

CAL'S NO. 22 AVCA RANKING: The last time the Bears were ranked in the AVCA Top 25 poll during the regular season was Nov. 14, 1989 when Cal finished the year 20th in the nation with a 19-13 mark, advancing to the second round of the NCAAs. The Bears have been ranked 35 times in the AVCA Top 25 poll, reaching a high of a No. 8 ranking on Sept. 26, 1989. The highest Cal has been ranked at the end of a season was 10th in 1982. Cal's No. 24 preseason ranking is only the third time in school history the Bears have been preseason ranked in women's volleyball. Cal was ranked No. 12 in the 1983 preseason poll and No. 9 in the 1989 preseason poll.

HEAD COACH Rich Feller: Rich Feller (58-60, .492 at Cal; career 357-227, .611) is in his fifth season as Cal's head coach. Feller came to the Bears after a stint as assistant coach for the USA National Team (1997-98) and 14 years as head coach at Colorado State (1983-96) where he led the Rams to eight NCAA Tournament appearances and 12 Top 25 national rankings.

CAL VERSUS SETON HALL, CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE AND COLORADO STATE: The Bears face Seton Hall (4-0, won Western New York Tourney Aug. 29-30, over Youngstown State, North Carolina State, Colgate, Niagara) for the first time in school history. The Pirates, coached by Rich Pickrell (sixth year), are led by 5-9 freshman outside hitter Katherine Whitney (45 kills, 41 digs, 15 service aces), named last week's Co-Big East Rookie of the Week. Cal has a 1-2 all-time record against CS Northridge (1-1 - W Northeastern, 3-0; L Saint Mary's, 3-0 - last week at CSN). The Bears defeated the Matadors in the last meeting, 3-1, Sept. 6, 1990 at the JMN Premiere Invitational in Fullerton, Calif. CS Northridge, coached by Jeff Stork (second year at CSN), is led by 6-3 junior middle hitter Jennifer Fopma (22 kills, 18 digs). The Bears have a 1-3 all-time record against Colorado State (2-1 - L Stanford, 3-0; W Florida A&M, 3-2; W Bradley, 3-0 - last week at CSU). The Bears lost to the Rams in the last meeting, 3-0, Aug. 30, 1997 at the Colorado State/Holiday Inn Classic. Colorado State, coached by Tom Hilbert (seventh year at CSU), is led by 6-0 junior middle blocker Katie Jo Shirley (43 kills, .436 hitting percentage).

USA Today/AVCA Poll 9/1Rank	Team	           Votes	Rec.1	USC 	            1625	5-02	Hawai'i             1550	3-13	Florida	            1492	4-14	Stanford	            1435	3-05	Nebraska	            1334	3-06	Northern Iowa	    1191	2-17	UC Santa Barb.	    1170	1-08	Pepperdine	    1166	2-19	Penn State	    1041	4-010	Arizona	            1006	2-111	UCLA	            1003	2-012	Georgia Tech	     915	3-013	Minnesota	             726	0-314	Kansas State	     689	3-215	Long Beach St.	     683	2-016	Louisville	     488	1-217	North Carolina	     430	3-018-tie	Ohio State	     397	0-018-tie	Missouri	             397	3-020	Santa Clara	     377	1-121	Notre Dame	     362	2-122	California	     303	2-023	Washington	     295	3-024	Wisconsin	             261	2-125	Michigan State 	     208	3-0

CAL AGAINST THE AVCA TOP 25: Competing in what is arguably the toughest volleyball conference in the nation - the Pac-10, the Bears' 2003 schedule includes seven teams currently ranked in the USA Today/AVCA Poll. Cal will take on No. 1 USC, No. 4 Stanford, No. 10 Arizona, No. 11 UCLA, No. 15 Long Beach State, No. 20 Santa Clara and No. 23 Washington. Cal will also face two teams - Colorado State and Washington State - that received votes in the latest AVCA Poll. The Bears compete against a total of 13 teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season, including Cal Poly, New Hampshire and Nevada, the three teams joining Cal for the 2003 Golden Bear Invitational. The Bears upset five teams ranked in the AVCA Top 25 last season (at No. 16 Arizona Oct. 12, No. 11 Washington State Oct. 18, then-No. 23 Arizona State Nov. 9, at then-No. 22 Washington Nov. 16, at No. 14 Santa Clara Nov. 19). The Bears were 7-4 last year in five-game matches, including losing to No. 1 ranked USC Oct. 5 and No. 3 ranked Stanford Nov. 22 in five games at Haas Pavilion. Cal upset No. 14 ranked Santa Clara twice last season, 3-2 Nov. 19 at Santa Clara, and 3-1 Dec. 6 in the first round of the NCAA Regional at UC Santa Barbara.

ALL-AMERICAN Mia Jerkov: Cal returns four starters, five seniors and a total of 11 players from the last year's 20-12 NCAA Regional squad, including 6-3 outside hitter Mia Jerkov, the Bears' first All-American volleyball player since Sylvie Monnet in 1983. Jerkov was also first team All-Pacific Region and first team All-Pac-10. She was voted the MVP in all three of the Bears' 2002 tournament titles and was twice named Pac-10 Player of the Week, including becoming the school's first-ever AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 21. Jerkov recorded 30 or more kills in six matches, was the Pac-10 leader in points (635.0, combining kills, blocks and service aces) and kills (578), and established school records for single-season kills (578), single-match kills (39) and kill attempts (91).

Jenna Brown ACCOLADES: Sophomore outside hitter Jenna Brown, the Bears' 2002 leader in digs (365, 10th in the Pac-10 with 3.07 digs per game) is another Cal athlete to earn postseason accolades as she was named to the 2002 Pac-10 All-Freshman team. Brown is the 14th Bear freshman in school history to have earned conference all-freshman honors. In 2000, junior outside hitter Gabrielle Abernathy was named honorable mention Pac-10 All-Freshman and in 2001, junior middle hitter Camille Leffall was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team. Brown also had the privilege of training with the USA National A2 squad this summer in Colorado Springs.

CAL PLAYERS IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Besides the 2002 team posting its best record since 1989 with a 20-12 mark, several current Cal players notched their names on the school's career and single-season list. Mia Jerkov established a single-season kill record (578), surpassing Tiffany Rochelle's 568 kills set in 1988. Jerkov was also third on the single-season kill attempt list (1,400) and established school records for kills in a match (39 Oct. 17 versus Washington) and kill attempts in a match (91 Nov. 22 versus Stanford). Middle hitter Heather Diers tied a school record with 11 total blocks and the Bears establishing a new school record with 40 total team blocks Oct. 22 versus Saint Mary's. Junior middle blocker Camille Leffall (2001- ) is currently the school record-holder with a .356 career hitting percentage and set a school record for single-season hitting percentage (.381) as a freshman in 2001. Leffall also had 11 total blocks in a match, accomplishing the feat as a freshman, Oct. 23, 2001 versus Santa Clara.

KEY NEWCOMERS: Samantha Carter, 5-11 setter, FR - Bishop Moore HS (Apopka, FL) Six-time AAU All-American; named nation's 28th top recruit by Student Sports magazine; two-time all-state selection...Natalie Smart, 6-2 middle hitter, FR - Durango HS (Las Vegas, NV) Member of USA Junior National Team; named nation's 50th top recruit by Student Sports magazine; 2002 all-conference and Sunset Region MVP...Amanda Fox, 6-3 outside hitter, FR - El Molino HS (Forestville, CA) Member of USA National Youth Team; named nation's 53rd top recruit by Student Sports magazine; 2001 and 2002 league MVP.

IMPORTANT HOME DATES: Sept. 11-13 Golden Bear Invitational, Cal opens 2003 home schedule hosting a tournament that features Nevada, Cal Poly and New Hampshire. Oct. 11 vs. Stanford, The Golden Bears host Bay Area rival and 2002 national runner-up Stanford Cardinal.

2002 REVIEW: The 2002 Cal volleyball team had one of the best seasons in school history, finishing 20-12, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1989 and defeating six opponents ranked in the AVCA Top 25. The Bears defeated No. 14 Santa Clara, 3-1, in the NCAA first round match before falling to No. 7 ranked UC Santa Barbara, 3-0. Cal's 20 victories in 2002 was only the fourth time in school history the Bears had won 20 or more matches in a season (20-21 in 1981, 28-12 in 1982 and 22-20 in 1983). Last year, Cal made its eighth postseason appearance and sixth NCAA appearance.

DID YOU KNOW? The Golden Bears featured Holly McPeak, the 1987 National Freshman of the Year, and Lisa Arce, Cal teammates from 1987-89 who went on to be a standout Olympic beach volleyball players. Mia Jerkov's father, Zeljko, is a seven-foot former Olympic basketball star for Yugoslavia, helping his country to a silver medal in the 1976 Montreal Olympics (losing to the United States) and a gold medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

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