No. 11 Cal And No. 2 Stanford Meet In Big Spike
Sept. 17, 2007
BERKELEY, CALIF. -
BEAR NOTES: The No. 11 California volleyball team wrapped up its non-conference schedule last weekend with victories over then No. 22 Santa Clara and Notre Dame, improving its record to 10-1. The Cal-Notre Dame match was the first of the season to extend beyond three games. Now the Golden Bears look towards beginning Pac-10 conference matches against rival No. 2 Stanford (11-0). The Big Spike will be broadcast live on Comcast on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. For the second season in a row, the Bears enter conference play with at least ten wins. Cal returns four starters (Angie Pressey, Ellen Orchard, Morgan Beck, and 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 the 2006 CIF Player of the Year. The Bears are looking to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for a school-record sixth straight time in 2007.
2007 QUICK CAL OUTLOOK: Cal is led by a pair of senior team captains: All-American outside hitter Angie Pressey and HM All-Pac-10 middle hitter Ellen Orchard. Pressey is also a three-time All-Pac-10 selection and is second among currently active Pac-10 players with 1,348 career kills (Washington's Christal Morrison is first). Orchard led the Bears with 163 blocks and a .305 hitting percentage last season. She is also second among active Pac-10 players in total blocks with 354 behind only Arizona's Dominique Lamb. Most recently, Orchard was named MVP of the 2007 Golden Bear Invitational. Junior outside hitter/middle hitter Beck was an All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection 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 squad with 392 kills and was MVP of two tournaments.
IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Angie Pressey and Ellen Orchard are in the Cal record books 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 fifth on Cal's all-time kill list (1,356), sixth with a .242 career hitting percentage and seventh with 3,341 kill attempts. Pressey had the fifth-most single-season kills (487) in school history in 2006. Orchard has the school's second-highest career hitting percentage (.294) and is tied for fifth highest in total career blocks (364). 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 Big Spike against Stanford will be broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. Jim Kozimor will be calling the action and Krista Blunk will provide the color commentary. Stanford, the preseason favorite to win the conference, lost 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. Including the Big Spike and the match against Minnesota, the Bears will be televised four times this season. The Haas Pavilion home match against USC on Friday, Sept. 28 will be shown live at 7 p.m. on Comcast. And the Oct. 4 match at Oregon will be shown delayed on Fox Sports Net on Sunday, Oct. 7 at noon and again on Thursday, Oct. 11 at noon.
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 eight teams ranked in the CSTV/AVCA Preseason Poll, with five of those opponents coming from the Pac-10. Cal will take on No. 2 Stanford, No. 4 USC, No. 5 UCLA, No. 8 Washington and No. 24 Oregon in league play. Outside of the conference, the Bears defeated a then-No. 12 Minnesota team and also notched a victory over then-No. 22 Santa Clara.
CAL VERSUS STANFORD: Although Cal is 6-59 all-time against Stanford, the Bears have been much more competitive in the series in recent years, most recently defeating the Cardinal 3-2 in a home match on Oct. 31, 2004. Stanford would go on to win the 2004 NCAA Championship. Cal and Stanford met three times in 2006 with the Bears falling in each meeting, the last of which was in the NCAA round of 16 in Austin, Texas. The Cardinal would go on to face Nebraska in the championship match before being outdone 3-1 by the Cornhuskers. Stanford currently leads the Pac-10 Conference in assists (15.97 apg) and kills (17.32 kpg). The Cardinal stayed undefeated (11-0) over the weekend with wins against Cincinnati, Delaware State, Yale and No. 3 Penn State. Senior setter Bryn Kehoe is averaging 13.91 assists per game for tops in the conference while junior middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo leads the Pac-10 with a .509 hitting percentage. Stanford is coached by seventh year head coach John Dunning (187-30) who has led the Cardinal to two NCAA titles (2001 and 2004) and also led the University of the Pacific to two NCAA titles (1985 and 1986).
HEAD COACH Rich Feller: The most successful volleyball coach in Cal history, Rich Feller (149-101, .596 at Cal; career 448-268, .626) 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.
BLOCK PARTY: The Bears lead the Pac-10 in blocks as a team with 4.03 bpg. Sophomore middle hitter Kat Reilly leads the conference with 2.04 bpg herself but senior middle hitter Ellen Orchard isn't far behind (1.53) in fourth and junior outside hitter Morgan Beck (1.34) is sixth amongt Pac-10 players. Orchard is also one of only three players in the Pac-10 to have notched 10 blocks in a single match this season.
ON THE LOW DOWN: Cal has been beating opponents with strong defense at the net, holding four teams to negative hitting percentages and leading the conference in opponent hitting percentage with a mark of .060. The Bears have surrendered a better-than .200 hitting percentage only once this season.
ACES UP: California is tops in the Pac-10 with an average of 2.29 service aces per game. Freshman libero Caitlyn Murphy is tied for the lead in the Pac-10 conference with 0.58 aces per game. The Bears have also reached the 10-ace mark in three separate matches this season.
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 won its 12th tournament title in the last six years when it hosted the 2007 Golden Bear Invitational where Ellen Orchard was honored as the tournament MVP. The Bears also won the Molten Classic, led by Tournament MVP, Angie Pressey. Cal is also looking to return to the NCAA tournament for the sixth consecutive season after bowing out to rival Stanford in a 3-0 match in the Round of 16 last season.
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. Angie 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.