No. 13 Cal Volleyball Hosts Golden Bear Invitational

Sept. 5, 2006

BERKELEY, CALIF. -

Sept. 8-9  Golden Bear Invitational,Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, Calif.Fri., Sept. 8 Pepperdine vs. American University/Colorado State at California 4:30/7 p.m.Sat., Sept. 9 Colorado State vs. Pepperdine/American University at California 12 p.m.Sat., Sept. 9 American University vs. Colorado State/Pepperdine at California 4:30/7 p.m.

BEAR NOTES: The No. 13-ranked Golden Bears (6-0) will be aiming for their third-straight tournament title of the season this weekend when California hosts the Golden Bear Invitational (sponsored by The Renaissance Fund), Sept. 8-9 at Haas Pavilion. Cal will play head coach Rich Feller's former school, Colorado State (4-2), at 7 p.m. Sept. 8, before hosting American University (4-2) and No. 18-ranked Pepperdine (2-3) at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sept. 9. Pepperdine is coached by Nina Matthies, whose son, Marty, is a standout senior on the No. 1-ranked Cal men's water polo team. All four teams in the Golden Bear Invitational competed in last year's NCAA Tournament. The Bears are fresh off of capturing both the Cal Molten Classic with 3-0 victories over Montana, UC Davis and Baylor; and the Florida International Tournament with 3-0 wins over Xavier, Oral Roberts and Florida International. Freshman outside hitter Hana Cutura was named MVP of the FIU Tournament, while junior outside hitter Angie Pressey and Cutura were Co-Tournament MVPs of the Cal Molten Classic. Pressey was later selected as this season's first Pac-10 Player of the Week recipient on Aug. 28. The Bears return four starters (Samantha Carter, Pressey, Morgan Beck, Ellen Orchard) and their top libero (Jillian Davis) from the 2005 squad that went 19-11 (10-8 in the Pac-10), advanced to the NCAA second round for the fourth consecutive year and finished ranked No. 20 in the country. Cal also features a freshman class ranked third nationally by PrepVolleyball.com. The Bears are looking to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for a school-record fifth straight year in 2006 and will attempt to win its 10th tournament in the past five years when they host the Golden Bear Invitational.

2006 QUICK CAL OUTLOOK: Cal will be led by a pair of senior team captains - setter Samantha Carter and libero Jillian Davis - who are both school record-holders and honorable mention All-Pac-10 picks last season. Junior outside hitter Angie Pressey is a two-time All-Pac-10 selection and was a member of the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team in 2004. Sophomore outside hitter Morgan Beck was a member of the 2005 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team, while junior middle hitter Ellen Orchard paced the team with 129 blocks last season and owns a .265 career hitting percentage - third on the school's all-time list. Besides being ranked 13th nationally, Cal is also tabbed to finish fourth in the Pac-10.

IMPRESSIVE PRESSEY: Angie Pressey, the dynamic 5-8 junior outside hitter from Heathrow, Fla., is the Bears' most highly decorated player. Pressey is a two-time All-Pac-10 performer and was a member of the 2004 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team. She was the first Cal player in school history to be both an All-Pac-10 selection and a member of the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team. Pressey's Pac-10 Player of the Week distinction on Aug. 28 was the third of her career, finishing the Cal Molten Classic with 47 kills, five aces, 14 digs and a .430 hitting percentage. She was named all-tournament for the fifth consecutive time last weekend. Pressey led the Bears with 446 kills and 517.5 points in 2005 and has already recorded 863 kills, which is third among current Pac-10 players. This season, she leads Cal with 88 kills, 4.89 kills per game and a .373 hitting percentage. Pressey is the daughter of former NBA player and Golden State assistant Paul Pressey.

CUTURA SHINES: In what might be the most spectacular collegiate debut in Cal history, 6-3 freshman outside hitter Hana Cutura (Zagreb, Croatia) earned Co-MVP honors at the Cal Molten Classic, finishing with 45 kills, four service aces, 19 digs and a .407 hitting percentage. Cutura led the Bears with 16 kills in the season-opener versus Montana and added 18 kills with only one error in 30 attempts (.567) in the championship match versus Baylor. The following week, she was tabbed MVP of the Florida International Tournament after recording 39 kills with a .314 hitting percentage in the three matches, including registering 15 kills with no errors in 26 attempts (.577) in the tournament opener versus Xavier. Cutura is currently second behind Pressey with 84 kills, 4.67 kills per game and a .360 hitting percentage.

HEAD COACH Rich Feller: The most successful volleyball coach in Cal history, Rich Feller (123-90, .577 at Cal; career 419-257, .621) is in his eighth season in Berkeley. Feller won his 400th career match and 100th Cal contest last season while leading the Bears to a school-record fourth consecutive NCAA appearance. In 2003, he was named Pacific Region Co-Coach of the Year and Pac-10 Coach of the Year after leading Cal to the NCAA Round of 16 for the first time in school history. Feller was an assistant for the USA National Team from 1997-98, and head coach at Colorado State for 14 years (1983-96) prior to taking over the Bears' coaching reins in 1999.

CAL VERSUS COLORADO STATE, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY AND PEPPERDINE: The Bears have a 2-3 all-time record against Colorado State (4-2). The Bears defeated the Rams in the last meeting, 3-1, Sept. 6, 2003 at the CSU's Coors Classic. Colorado State is coached by Tom Hilbert (10th year at CSU) and is led by 6-1 sophomore Jaime Strauss (68 kills, 3.24kpg). Cal will be facing American University (4-2) for the first time in school history. The Eagles are coached by Barry Goldberg (18th year at AU) and are led by 6-1 sophomore Rubena Sukaj (111 kills, .327 hitting percentage). The Bears have a 3-4 all-time record against Pepperdine (2-3). The Bears fell to the Waves in the last meeting, 2-1 (forfeit for use of an ineligible player), Oct. 11, 1985 at the UCLA NIVT. Pepperdine is coached by Nina Matthies (24th year at Pepperdine) and is led by 6-4 senior middle blocker Sophia Milo (82 kills, 3.73kpg).

BEAR RECORD-HOLDERS: Carter and Davis have the distinction of owning two Cal volleyball records apiece. As a freshman in 2003, Carter set the Cal single-season mark of 1,555 assists, helping pace the Bears to the NCAA Round of 16. She became the school's all-time career assist leader last season and now has 4,568 career assists, which is the second-most among current Pac-10 players, trailing only Washington's Courtney Thompson. Carter is also second among active Pac-10 players with 97 service aces, 10th on the Cal all-time list. Davis, a starter in 2003 as well, set the Cal record for single-season digs (538) in 2005. On Oct. 1, 2004, her 33 digs at Stanford set a new Cal single-match mark. Davis' 1,352 career digs is now second among current Pac-10 players and third on the Cal all-time list.

CAL'S AVCA RANKING: Cal's No. 17 preseason ranking was only the sixth time in school history the Bears had been preseason ranked, but the fourth time since Rich Feller became head coach in 1999. Cal was ranked 19th at the start of last season, No. 10 in 2004, No. 24 in 2003, No. 9 in 1989 and No. 12 in 1983. The Bears finished 20th last year after falling to Wisconsin, 3-0, in the NCAA Second Round in Madison, Wis. The Bears have been ranked 83 times since 1982, reaching as high as a No. 5 ranking on Oct. 13, 2003. The highest Cal ranking at the end of a season was 10th in 1982.

BECK AND ORCHARD RETURN TO THE SCENE: Two more returning stars for the 2006 Bears are 6-3 sophomore outside hitter Morgan Beck and 6-3 junior middle hitter Ellen Orchard. Beck was a member of the 2005 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team after finishing second on the team with 342 kills and 380.0 points. She notched her best match against national champion Washington, tallying a career-high 19 kills against the Huskies on Oct. 7 at Haas Pavilion. Orchard led the Bears with 129 blocks last season while hitting .266 and recording 234 kills. This was after coming off the bench as a freshman to record a career-high 14 kills and lead the Bears in their NCAA first round victory over Pacific in 2004. This season, Beck has been impressive. She is third on the team with 49 kills and second with 26 total blocks. Last weekend in Miami, Beck hit .359 for the tournament (31k, 8e, 64att) and had a team-high 14 total blocks. Orchard has also been a force this season. She is first on the team with 27 total blocks, fourth with 44 kills and is hitting .337. Orchard's .273 career hitting percentage is third on the school's all-time list.

BEARS' TOURNAMENT SUCCESS: Cal will be looking for its 10th tournament title in the last five years when it hosts The Golden Bear Invitational. The Bears have captured two tournaments this season with Pressey and Cutura earning Co-MVP honors at the Cal Molten Classic, and Cutura being selected MVP of the FIU Tournament. Cal senior captains - libero Davis and setter Carter - were also members of the Cal Molten All-Tournament Team, with Davis being tabbed as the classic's Defensive Standout. In Florida, Carter was selected all-tournament along with Cutura and Pressey. Carter and Pressey have now been all-tournament picks in five consecutive tournaments carrying over from the 2005 season. The Bears had a perfect regular-season tournament record during the 2002 and 2003 seasons, winning 15 consecutive tournament matches and capturing five tournament titles. Former Cal standout Mia Jerkov was tournament MVP during all five of those tournament championships. Last season, Cal won the CenturyTel/Classic Honda Premier in San Marcos, Texas with Davis earning tournament MVP honors.

CAL'S IMPRESSIVE STATS: Currently the Bears lead the Pac-10 with a .320 team hitting percentage and 3.61 blocks per game (fourth in the nation). Pressey and Cutura are first and second in the conference in kills (4.89, 4.67) and points (5.78, 5.44) per game. Pressey and Cutura are also seventh (.373) and ninth (.360), respectively, in hitting percentage. Carter is third in assists (241, 13.39 pg) and fifth in service aces (8, 0.44 pg), while Davis is fourth in digs (90, 5.00 pg). For blocking, Orchard (27, 1.50 pg, Beck (26, 1.44 pg) and senior Natalie Smart (22, 1.22 pg) are third, fourth and eighth in the league rankings.

TOP SHELF NEWCOMERS: The Bears' 2006 freshman class is ranked third in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com, trailing only Penn State and Texas. Cat Dailey, a 6-3 outside hitter from Sage Hill High School (Newport Beach, Calif.), was 2005 CIF Southern Section Division IV Player of the Year and the 17th top recruit. Hana Cutura is considered one of the top young players from Europe. Cutura's father, Zoran, is a former Olympic basketball star for Yugoslavia. Mindi Wiley, a 6-3 middle hitter from Sonoma Valley High School, was named 2004 Cal-Hi Sports Junior Athlete of the Year after excelling in both volleyball and high jumping. Wiley was the nation's 18th top recruit. Kristen Kathan, a 5-6 defensive specialist from Campolindo High School (Moraga, Calif.), was the 2005 Contra Costa Times and Cal-Hi Sports Player of the Year. Dailey (broken little finger in left hand) and Wiley (torn ligaments in right thumb) are currently injured, but are expected back this season.

KEY HAAS PAVILION DATES: Nov. 3 versus Stanford, Cal hosts the Cardinal, the preseason favorite to win the Pac-10 and ranked fourth in the AVCA/CSTV poll. Nov. 25 versus Washington, the Bears host the 2005 NCAA champion Huskies in the final Pac-10 home game of the season. Cal was the only team to take Washington to five games twice last season. The UW-Cal match will be televised live at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet (local viewing details TBA).

2006 University of California Volleyball Season Highs 9-5Career highs in italics

TEAMKills 54 vs. Xavier, 9/1Attempts 140 vs. Oral Roberts, 9/2Hitting Pct. .423 vs. Baylor, 8/26Assists 49 at Fla. Int., 9/2Service Aces 10 vs. Montana, 8/25Digs 62 vs. UC Davis, 8/26Block Solos 4 vs. two teamsBlock Assists 22 vs. UC Davis, 8/26Team Blocks 15.0 vs. UC Davis, 8/26

INDIVIDUAL

Morgan BeckKills 12 vs. Xavier, 9/1Attempts 26 vs. Oral Roberts, 9/2Service Aces 2 vs. Xavier, 9/1Digs 14 vs. UC Davis, 8/26Block Solos 3 vs. UC Davis, 8/26Block Assists 7 vs. Xavier, 9/1Total Blocks 8 vs. UC Davis, 8/26

Samantha CarterKills 4 vs. UC Davis, 8/26Attempts 9 vs. UC Davis, 8/26; Oral Roberts, 9/2Assists 45 vs. Oral Roberts, 9/2Service Aces 4 vs. Montana, 8/25Digs 13 vs. Montana, 8/25Block Solos 0Block Assists 2 vs. Montana, 8/25; Baylor, 8/26Total Blocks 2 vs. Montana, 8/25; Baylor, 8/26

Vivian CheungService Aces 0Digs 2 vs. UC Davis, 8/26; Xavier, 9/1

Hana CuturaKills 18 vs. Baylor, 8/26Attempts 36 vs. Oral Roberts, 9/2Service Aces 3 vs. Montana, 8/25Digs 10 vs. Oral Roberts, 9/2Block Solos 1 vs. Oral Roberts, Fla. Int., 9/2Block Assists 4 vs. UC Davis, 8/26Total Blocks 4 vs. UC Davis, 8/26

Jillian DavisService Aces 1 vs. three teamsDigs 24 vs. UC Davis, 8/26; Oral Roberts, 9/2

Kristen KathanKills 0Attempts 0Assists 1 at Fla. Int., 9/2Service Aces 2 vs. Xavier, 9/1Digs 1 vs. three teamsBlock Solos 0Block Assists 0Total Blocks 0

Ellen OrchardKills 10 vs. UC Davis, 8/26; at Fla. Int., 9/2Attempts 23 at Florida International, 9/2Service Aces 3 vs. Baylor, 8/26Digs 3 vs. Oral Roberts, 9/2Block Solos 2 vs. Baylor, 8/26Block Assists 6 vs. UC Davis, 8/26Total Blocks 6 vs. three teams

Angie PresseyKills 20 vs. Baylor, 8/26Attempts 35 vs. Baylor, 8/26Service Aces 3 vs. UC Davis, 8/26Digs 9 vs. Oral Roberts, 9/2Block Solos 2 at Florida International, 9/2Block Assists 4 vs. Oral Roberts, at Fla. Int., 9/2Total Blocks 6 at Florida International, 9/2

Natalie SmartKills 6 vs. Montana, 8/25; vs. Xavier, 9/1Attempts 16 vs. Montana, 8/25Service Aces 0Digs 2 vs. Baylor, 8/26; vs. Xavier, 9/1Block Solos 0Block Assists 6 vs. Oral Roberts, 9/2Total Blocks 6 vs. Oral Roberts, 9/2

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