No. 8 Cal Volleyball Hosts Golden Bear Invitational

Sept. 8, 2004


Sept. 9-11 Golden Bear Invitational, Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CAThu., Sept. 9 Texas A&M vs. UC Santa Barbara 7 p.m.Fri., Sept. 10 UC Santa Barbara at California 7 p.m.Sat., Sept. 11 Texas A&M at California 7 p.m.

BEAR NOTES: No. 8-ranked California, a perfect 4-0 with 3-0 victories in all four matches this season, hosts the fifth annual Golden Bear Invitational, Sept. 9-11 at Haas Pavilion. The 2004 Golden Bear Invitational features some of the nation's top teams - No. 8 Cal, No. 13 UC Santa Barbara (3-0) and No. 14 Texas A&M (3-1). The Bears are looking to extend a streak of six straight tournament titles since 2002. Last weekend Cal captured the Houston Tournament with 3-0 wins over No. 15 Kansas State, Maryland and Houston.CAL'S TOURNAMENT SUCCESS: As a result of winning the Houston Tournament, the Bears have now won 18 consecutive tournament matches since the 2002 season and have earned six straight tournament titles - 2002 Golden Bear Invitational, 2002 UNLV Gameworks Classic, 2002 SMU DoubleTree Invitational, 2003 Colorado State Coors Classic, 2003 Golden Bear Invitational, 2004 Houston Tournament. Cal will definitely face a challenge this week as it hosts No. 13 UC Santa Barbara and No. 14 Texas A&M, two teams ranked in the Top 20 and 2003 NCAA postseason participants. UCSB lost in the NCAA First Round and Texas A&M fell to national champion USC in the NCAA Round of 16. Junior middle hitter Alicia Powers has helped No. 8 Cal to its 4-0 start, hitting .325 for the week with 38 kills, two service aces, 11 digs and nine total blocks. Powers is also averaging 3.17 kills per game and in her last match at Houston, she hit .400 with 12 kills and only two errors in 25 attempts. Other notables for the Bears last week were freshman outside hitter Angie Pressey, who led Cal with 13 kills in the season-opener versus UC Davis and senior outside hitter Gabrielle Abernathy, who paced the Bears with 15 kills against then-No. 14 Kansas State in Houston. Senior middle hitter Camille Leffall and sophomore setter Samantha Carter have also started the season off well. Leffall is leading the team with a .353 hitting percentage (22 kills, four errors, 51 attempts) and 13 total blocks, while Carter has 164 assists in four matches and is averaging 13.67 assists per game. As a freshman, Carter set a new school record with 1,555 single-season assists and was on the Pac-10 All-Freshman team. Leffall was honorable mention All-Pac-10 in 2003, and is the Bears' record holder with a .354 career hitting percentage.CAL'S AVCA RANKING: Cal's No. 10 preseason ranking is only the fourth time in school history the Bears have been preseason ranked. Cal was ranked No. 24 at the start of last season, No. 12 in 1983 and No. 9 in 1989. The Bears finished with a No. 12 national ranking last year after falling to Georgia Tech, 3-1, in the NCAA Regional in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Bears have been ranked 52 times, including in all 17 weekly polls last season, reaching as high as a No. 5 ranking on Oct. 13, 2003. The highest Cal has ever been ranked at the end of a season was 10th in 1982.IMPORTANT HOME DATES: Sept. 9-11 Golden Bear Invitational, Cal's annual tournament features the No. 10 Bears, No. 15 Texas A&M and No. 16 ranked UC Santa Barbara. Oct. 31 vs. Stanford, the Bears host Bay Area rival Stanford Cardinal in 'The Big Spike.' Nov. 4 vs. USC, Cal hosts two-time defending national champion USC. The Bears were the only team to take the undefeated Trojans to five games last season.HEAD COACH RICH FELLER: Rich Feller (85-67, .559 at Cal; career 384-234, .621) is in his sixth season at Cal. He was named both 2003 Pacific Region Co-Coach of the Year and 2003 Pac-10 Coach of the Year after leading the Bears to the NCAA Round of 16 for the first time in school history. 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 UC SANTA BARBARA AND TEXAS A&M: The Bears have a 3-12 all-time record against No. 13 UC Santa Barbara (3-0 in 2004, 19-9 in 2003). Cal fell to the Gauchos in the last meeting, 3-1, Dec. 7, 2002, in the NCAA Second Round at UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos are coached by Kathy Gregory (30th year at UCSB) and are led by 6-0 junior middle blocker Megan Blackshire (.517 hitting percentage, 3.70 kpg). Cal has a 3-4 all-time record against Texas A&M (3-1 in 2004, 23-10 in 2003). The Bears lost to the Aggies in the last meeting, 3-0, Sept. 19, 1997, at the Notre Dame Tournament of Champions. Texas A&M is coached by Laurie Corbelli (12th year at Texas A&M) and is led by 6-1 senior middle blocker/outside hitter Melissa Munsch (33 kills, .467, 30 digs, 25 blocks in 2004).KEY CAL NEWCOMERS: Angie Pressey, 5-8 outside hitter, FR - Lake Mary HS (Heathrow, FL) 2002 Florida 6A Volleyball Player of the Year; member of Fab 50 team in 2003 and 2004; all-state performer in volleyball, basketball and track...Ellen Orchard, 6-2 middle hitter, FR - Cypress Springs HS (Houston, TX) District MVP and all-state selection in 2003; two-time All-Houston Area and three-time all-district; member of 2004 Fab 50 team.BEARS HAVE TOUGH 2004 SCHEDULE: Competing in what is arguably the toughest volleyball conference in the nation - the Pac-10, the Bears' 2004 schedule includes 10 teams ranked in the USA Today/CSTV Preseason Poll. Cal will take on No. 1 USC, No. 3 UCLA, No. 6 Washington, No. 12 Stanford, and No. 19 Arizona in league play. The Bears also face some extremely talented foes in non-conference action. Cal defeated then-No. 14 Kansas State, 3-0, Sept. 3 in Houston, and now host No. 13 UC Santa Barbara Sept. 10 and No. 14 Texas A&M Sept. 11 at the Golden Bear Invitational in Haas Pavilion. Following the Golden Bear Invitational, Cal will play at No. 11-ranked Hawaii Sept. 17 and visit No. 17 Santa Clara Sept. 28. The Bears defeated four teams ranked in the AVCA Top 25 last season (No. 13 Washington Sept. 26, No. 14 Santa Clara Oct. 8, No. 4 Stanford Oct. 11, at No. 10 Washington Oct. 24). The Bears were the only team to take two-time defending national champion USC to five games last season, coming back from a 2-0 deficit before falling to the Trojans, 15-13, in game five at Haas Pavilion Oct. 18.CAL PLAYERS AMONG ACTIVE PAC-10 CAREER LEADERS: The Bears have two players, Leffall and Carter, who are among the top five Pac-10 active career leaders. Leffall, a senior middle blocker, has the most career total blocks (333) of any current conference player. Carter, who is only a sophomore, already has 1,719 assists, which is the second-most career assists behind UCLA's senior setter Krystal McFarland's 2,458 assists. Leffall is currently sixth on the Cal all-time total block list, and Carter is fifth on the Bears' all-time assist list.BEARS ON TELEVISION: Cal will be on television three times this season. The Bears will be shown on Fox Sports Net Friday, Oct. 1 when Cal travels to Stanford, and Thursday, Nov. 4 when two-time defending national champion USC visits Haas Pavilion. Both the Cal-Stanford and USC-Cal matches will be shown on a delayed basis Saturday morning following the match with time TBA. The Bears will also be aired on CSTV live when CSTV Sunday Night Spikes:AVCA Match of the Week features Stanford at Cal, Sunday, Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.CAL IMPRESSIVE IN 2003: In 2003, the Bears' 25-7 record was the best winning percentage (.781) in school history. Cal recorded back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1981-83. The Bears qualified for the NCAA Round of 16 for the first time in school history. Cal made its second consecutive NCAA appearance - seventh overall. The 2003 Bears' volleyball team was the first Cal program to host a NCAA tournament event at Haas Pavilion. Cal started the season with a school-record 16-straight victories, and won a school-record 12 Pac-10 matches. The Bears defeated Stanford for the first time since 1982 before a record Cal volleyball crowd of 3,021. Cal earned its highest national volleyball ranking ever at No. 5 on Oct. 13, 2003, after defeating No. 14 Santa Clara and No. 4 Stanford in back-to-back five-game matches at Haas Pavilion.BEARS AMONG 2003 PAC-10 STAT LEADERS: The Bears return four players - Leffall, Abernathy, Carter and sophomore libero Jillian Davis - who were among the 2003 stat leaders in the Pac-10. Leffall was sixth in hitting percentage (.345) and ninth in the Pac-10 in blocks (1.10 bpg), while Abernathy was fourth in service aces (0.42 pg). Carter was second in the Pac-10 in assists per game (13.41) and Davis was fifth in digs (3.43 dpg). Besides Carter being named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team and Leffall earning Pac-10 honorable mention, Davis and freshman outside hitter Amanda Fox were honorable mention Pac-10 All-Freshmen.DID YOU KNOW? The Golden Bears featured Holly McPeak, the 1987 National Freshman of the Year, who has played beach volleyball in the last three summer Olympics and won a bronze medal with partner Elaine Youngs at the 2004 Athens Games.

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