No. 15 California Hosts Golden Bear Invitational

Sept. 5, 2007


Fri.-Sat., Sept. 7-8, Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, Calif.
Fri., Sept. 7 - Minnesota vs. Eastern Kentucky - 4:30 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 7 - Utah State at California - 7 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 8 - Eastern Kentucky at California - 12 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 8 - Utah State vs. Minnesota - 12 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 8 - Eastern Kentucky vs. Utah State - 4 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 8 - Minnesota at California - 7 p.m.

BEAR NOTES: No. 15 California looks to rebound from its only loss of the season as it hosts the 2007 Golden Bear Invitational at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. Cal will take on the Utah State Aggies on Sept. 7 at 7 p.m.; the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on Sept. 8 in a noon match; and will conclude the tournament with a match-up of ranked teams when they face-off against No. 12 Minnesota at 7 p.m. on Sept. 8. California holds a 1-2 record against both Utah State and Minnesota and has never faced Eastern Kentucky before. The Golden Bears return four starters (Angie Pressey, Ellen Orchard, Morgan Beck, Hana Cutura) from a 2006 squad that went 22-10 overall (9-9 in the Pac-10), advanced to the NCAA Round of 16, and finished the season ranked No. 13 in the country. Cal also features six other returnees and an outstanding freshman setter, Carli Lloyd, who was named 2006 CIF Player of the Year. The Bears will be looking to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for a school-record sixth straight year in 2007

2007 QUICK CAL OUTLOOK: Cal is led by a pair of senior team captains: All-American outside hitter Pressey and HM All-Pac-10 middle hitter Orchard. Pressey is also a three-time All-Pac-10 selection and is second among currently active Pac-10 players with 1,323 career kills (Washington's Christal Morrison is first). Orchard led the Bears with 163 blocks and a .305 hitting percentage last season and is also second among active Pac-10 players in total blocks with 346 behind only Arizona's Dominique Lamb. Junior outside hitter/middle hitter Beck was honorable All-Pac-10 in 2006 and was second on the team in blocks (127) and third in kills (306), while sophomore outside hitter Hana Cutura was a member of the 2006 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team after finishing second on the team with 392 kills and was MVP of two tournaments.

BEARS IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Pressey and Orchard are in the Cal record book for both single-season and career marks. Pressey, one of four Cal All-American volleyball players in school history, and the only three-time All-Pac-10 selection, is currently sixth on Cal's all-time kill list (1,323), sixth with a .241 career hitting percentage and seventh with 3,265 kill attempts. Pressey also had the fifth-most single-season kills (487) in school history last season. Orchard has the school's second-highest career hitting percentage (.289) and the eighth-most total blocks (346). As a junior, she had the school's second-most single-season blocks (168) and the sixth-best hitting percentage (.305).

BEARS IN TV LAND: The Golden Gophers-Golden Bears match at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8 will be shown live on Comcast SportsNet with Jim Kozimor calling the action and Randy Rosenbloom providing the color commentary. On Sept. 21, Cal hosts the Stanford Cardinal to open its Pac-10 schedule. Stanford, the preseason favorite to win the conference, is ranked second nationally after losing to Nebraska in last year's NCAA title match. The Bears fell to the Cardinal, 3-0, in the 2006 NCAA Regional in Austin, Texas. The Big Spike will also be shown live on Comcast. In total, the Bears will be televised four times this season, including three live home broadcasts. The Oct. 4 match at Oregon will be shown delayed on Fox Sports Net. The final Haas Pavilion home match shown live at 7 p.m. on Comcast will be the Friday, Sept. 28 USC-Cal match.

CAL VERSUS UTAH STATE, EASTERN KENTUCKY AND MINNESOTA: Utah State (2-4) from the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), is led by senior opposite side hitter Amanda Nielson, whose team-high 80 kills and 12 service aces have garnered her two All-Tournament team selections this season. Cal will meet Eastern Kentucky (1-5) for the first time in program history and must contend with the Colonels balanced attack up front. No. 12 Minnesota (2-2) is the first ranked opponent that the Bears will face this season. Cal holds a 1-2 records against Minnesota and last faced the Golden Gophers in 2000, falling in a 3-0 sweep at the Silver Legacy/Ray Wersching Invitational in Reno, Nev. The Gophers have had a tough road to face entering this match having already played three ranked opponents in Ohio, Stanford and San Diego. Minnesota is led by freshman outside hitter Brook Dieter who is averaging a team-high 4.69 kills per game (75k, 20e, .322).

HEAD COACH Rich Feller: The most successful volleyball coach in Cal history, Rich Feller (144-101, .588 at Cal; career 443-268, .623) is in his ninth season at Berkeley. Feller led the Bears to a school-record fifth consecutive NCAA appearance and their second NCAA Regional appearance last season. In 2003, he was named Pacific Region Co-Coach of the Year and Pac-10 Coach of the Year after leading Cal to an NCAA Regional 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'S AVCA RANKING: Cal's No. 12 pre-season ranking marks the seventh time in school history that the Bears have been ranked to open a season, the fifth time since Feller became head coach in 1999. Cal was ranked 17th at the start of 2006, 19th in 2005, 10th in 2004, 24th in 2003, ninth in 1989 and 12th in 1983. The Bears finished 13th in 2006 after advancing to the NCAA Regional where they fell to No. 2 Stanford, 3-0, in Austin, Tex. Cal has been ranked a total of 100 times since 1982, reaching as high as fifth on Oct. 13, 2003. The highest the Bears have ever been ranked at the end of a season was 10th in 1982.

BEARS' TOURNAMENT SUCCESS: Cal will be looking for its 12th tournament title in the last six years when it hosts the 2007 Golden Bear Invitational this weekend. Last week, led by All-Tournament Team selections Angie Pressey and Kat Reilly, Cal defeated Central Florida and UNC-Wilmington at the Colorado Invitational before falling to tournament host Colorado. In 2006, the Bears won the Florida International Invite in Miami, Fla. and the Golden Bear Invitational. Pressey and Cutura were the Co-MVPs of the Cal Molten Classic, Cutura was the MVP of the Florida International Invitational and Pressey was the MVP of the Golden Bear Invitational. Pressey has now been named to all-tournament teams seven consecutive times. Other all-tournament selections from Cal in 2006 included setter Samantha Carter and libero Jillian Davis (named Defensive Standout) in the Cal Molten Classic, Pressey and Carter at the Florida International Invitational, and Carter, Cutura and Beck in the Golden Bear Invitational. The Bears also had a perfect regular-season tournament record during the 2002 and 2003 seasons, winning 15 consecutive tournament matches and capturing five-straight tournament titles. Former Cal standout Mia Jerkov was tournament MVP during all five of those tournament championships.

CAL VOLLEYBALL 2006 REVIEW: Cal finished 13th in the AVCA poll after winning NCAA first and second round matches in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The Bears advanced to the round of 16 for the second time in school history with 3-1 victories over then No. 16 LSU, and then No. 14 Cal Poly. The Bears went on to face No. 2-ranked and eventual national runner-up Stanford on Dec. 8 at Gregory Gymnasium on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin, falling in three close games - 31-29, 30-25, 31-29 - to conclude the year 22-10. The Bears, who received an at-large selection to the postseason for the fifth consecutive year, started the season 11-0 and captured the Cal Molten Classic, the Florida International Invitational and the Golden Bear Invitational. Of Cal's 10 losses last season, nine came against teams ranked higher in the AVCA national poll. The Bears' 22 victories marked only the sixth time in school history that Cal has captured 20 or more matches. Feller is the only Cal coach to lead the Bears to an NCAA Regional, and has now accomplished the feat twice (2003, 2006). Several Bears had standout performances in 2006. Pressey led Cal with 487 kills and 4.39 kills per game, was tournament Co-MVP of the Cal Molten Classic and the Golden Bear Invitational, and was the Aug. 28 Pac-10 Player of the Week. Senior setter Samantha Carter finished her career as Cal's all-time assist leader with 5,777 assists and is only the fifth Pac-10 player to ever reach 5,000 career assists. Senior libero Jilian Davis set the school's all-time digs record with 1,810 career digs. Ellen Orchard hit .305 and led the Bears with 168 total blocks, the second-most single-season blocks in school history. Morgan Beck was second on the team with 127 blocks and third with 306 kills, while as a freshman Hana Cutura was second on the team with 392 kills and was Co-MVP of the Cal Molten Classic, and MVP of the Florida International Invitational.

BEARS' TOUGH 2007 SCHEDULE: Cal once again is competing in what is arguably the most challenging volleyball conference in the nation - the Pac-10. The Bears' 2007 schedule includes six teams ranked in the CSTV/AVCA Preseason Poll, with four of those opponents coming from the Pac-10. Cal will take on No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 USC, No. 5 UCLA, and No. 8 Washington in league play. Aside from Minnesota, the Bears will also face some extremely talented foes in non-conference action. Cal will travel to play No. 19 Santa Clara on Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Leavey Center in Santa Clara.

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