No. 5 Cal Puts Nine Match Win Streak On the Line Against Sun Devils and Wildcats
Oct. 7, 2008
BERKELEY, Calif. - The No. 5-ranked California volleyball team returns home to Haas Pavilion, where they have won their last 13 contests dating back to Sept. 28, 2007. With its win over Washington State, the Golden Bears recorded their ninth consecutive victory. Not only has Cal won its last nine matches, but the Bears have logged 3-0 wins in the last seven of those matches to run their set-streak to 23 straight. Cal currently sits atop the Pac-10 standings, sharing the best conference record with Stanford, but is the only Pac-10 team remaining with just one loss on its record. The Bears will don special pink accessories, use a pink game ball and event staff will be taking donations when the Bears take on the Sun Devils for Dig for the Cure night as a part of the Pac-10's initiative to support Breast Cancer Awareness month. Fans wearing pink will be admitted to the match for $3. When Cal faces Arizona, youth 12th grade and younger will receive free admission to the match as a part of the Bears' on-going Youth Day promotions.
THE FACTS: No. 5 Cal (14-1, 4-0 Pac-10) faces Arizona State (10-6, 1-2 Pac-10) on Friday, Oct. 10 for Dig for the Cure night at Haas Pavilion. The 7 p.m. match will be televised live by Comcast SportsNet West with Roxy Bernstein calling the play-by-play action and and Krista Blunk providing color commentary. Please check your local listings for availability. The Golden Bears will take on Arizona (12-3, 2-1 Pac-10) in a Saturday, 7 p.m. match for Youth Day at Haas Pavilion. All youth 12th grade and below will receive free admission to the match and the Bears will host an autograph signing session post-match. Live statistics (via Gametracker) and internet webcasts of both matches will be available via www.CalBears.com.
BEARS IN TV LAND: Cal is scheduled to appear live in five televised matches this season. The Bears' first live broadcast will originate from Haas Pavilion at 7 p.m. on Oct. 10 as they face Arizona State on Comcast SportsNet West. Fox Sports Net will show the Big Spike at Stanford on Oct. 19 (12:30 p.m. PT) and Comcast will show the Big Spike at Cal on Nov. 14 (7 p.m.). Comcast's crew will haunt the Haas sidelines on Halloween night (Oct. 31) as the Bears take on Washington State. And finally, USC's visit to Haas Pavilion on Nov. 22 will be carried by Fox Sports Net (5 p.m. PT) immediately following the Cal vs. Stanford football game.LAST WEEK: Cal took to the road for its first Pac-10 away matches and returned home with two 3-0 wins under its belt. The Bears faced a No. 9-ranked Washington squad in their first match and neutralized the Pac-10 Player of the Week, Jessica Swarbrick to become the first visiting team to come out of Seattle, Wash. with a 3-0 (28-26, 25-22, 25-23) win since Oct. 4, 2003. The Bears attacked at a .306 rate, getting 50 kills on 121 attacks (13e). Junior All-America outside hitter Hana Cutura led all players with 17 kills (4e, 36att, .361) and logged her fourth double-double of the season by adding 13 digs to her stat line. Junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley also helped buoy the Bear attack with 10 kills on 15 attacks without a single error (.667). Fellow middle, freshman Shannon Hawari helped the middle hitters record an error-free night as she put in seven kills on 16 attacks without error. Next, Cal traveled to the Palouse to face the Cougars. Led again by Cutura, the Bears held the Washington State attack to .052 (26k, 21e, 96att) in three sets to win 25-14, 25-21, 26-24. Senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon also put in her share of the offense, getting 10 kills on 19 attacks with just four errors (.316). Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd kept the Cal offense churning, getting 43 assists on the 51 kills, out-pacing the entire Cougar team's 19 total assists by more than two times.
ARIZONA STATE NOTES: The Sun Devils (10-6, 1-2 Pac-10) have dropped two of its three Pac-10 matches after getting nine wins in preseason tournaments. Arizona State is coming off a 3-0 loss to in-state rival Arizona, in which the third set score ended up 25-10. The Sun Devil offense is led by sophomore outside hitter Sarah Reaves, who has put up 253 kills this season and is second in the Pac-10 in kills per set (4.29 kps). Fellow outside, senior Maggie Giordano is not far behind with 212 kills (3.48 kps). Sophomore libero Sarah Johnson leads the team with 4.15 digs per set (third in the Pac-10) and has her team atop the Pac-10 ranks for total team digs per set at 15.11. Junior setter Marina Mercer has the most assists of any Pac-10 player this season with 647 and her 10.61 aps average is third in the conference. The Bears own a 21-27 overall record against the Sun Devils but claimed both wins last season and have reeled off 11 straight victories against Arizona State.
ARIZONA NOTES: The Wildcats (12-3, 2-1 Pac-10) are coming off a 3-1 loss to No. 13 Colorado State but are 2-1 in Pac-10 play thanks to wins over Arizona State and Washington State, falling in a five-set squeaker to Washington. Prior to entering conference play, the Wildcats put together a 10-1 record in preseason tournaments falling only to Santa Clara. The `Cats are led by sophomore outside hitter Whitney Dosty, who has tallied 160 kills this season, with a .201 attack percentage. Defensively, Arizona is a team to be reckoned with, as it leads the Pac-10 in opponent hitting percentage at .126 (540k, 325e, 1703att) and in blocks with a 2.89 bps average. The `Cats have two middle blockers in the Pac-10 top 10 for blocks, sophomore Stephanie Snow (1.28 bps, fifth) and junior Jacy Norton (1.12 bps, 10th). Thanks to sophomore setter Paige Weber's 21 service aces, the `Cats are second in the conference with a 1.63 saps average. Cal is 14-32 all-time against Arizona but has won five out of the last six meetings including both last season.
IN THE RANKS: Cal's No. 5 preseason ranking in the CBS College Sports Network/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll marks the eighth time in school history that the Bears have been ranked to open a season; the sixth time since Rich Feller became head coach in 1999. The Bears were ranked No. 12 at the start of 2007, No. 17 to open 2006, No. 19 in 2005, No. 10 in 2004 and No. 24 in 2003. Cal's two other preseason rankings came in 1989 (No. 9) and 1983 (No. 12). Setting a program-best mark in 2007, the Bears finished the season in the No. 4 spot after reaching the NCAA national semifinal, where they fell 3-0 to eventual NCAA champion Penn State. Cal's No. 4 ranking during the week of Sept. 8-15, 2008, is the highest regular season ranking the team has received. Since 1982, the Bears have been ranked a total of 121 times.
THE PACIFIC-10 CONFERENCE: Cal will once again compete in what is arguably the toughest women's collegiate volleyball conference, the Pac-10. Seven teams ranked in the most recent CBS/AVCA top 25 poll reside in the Pac-10 with 2007 NCAA runner-up Stanford topping the list at No. 4. Cal checks in at No. 5, followed by No. 7 Oregon and No. 8 UCLA. Washington sits at No. 10 and USC holds down the No. 11 position. Oregon State made its first appearance in the polls since 1996 this week and checks in at No. 24 with a 12-5 record. Arizona made its first appearance in the top 25 last week, but fell out after a loss and currently holds the mythical No. 26 position. With Cal Poly (No. 22), and Minnesota (No. 12) also cracking the lineup, and St. John's holding a position earlier this year, the Bears have the opportunity to face at least 15 top-25 ranked opponents before the season is over.
DIG FOR THE CURE: During the month of October, Pac-10 volleyball teams will join forces to help raise awareness about breast cancer during home matches. Among the promotional events planned, teams will wear pink accessories, pink game balls will be used for the match and pink mini volleyballs will be tossed into the stands. The Bears will Dig for the Cure on Oct. 10 when it hosts Arizona State at Haas Pavilion. On the road, Cal will also be part of other Breast Cancer Awareness Month matches when it visits Stanford (Oct. 19), USC (Oct. 25), and UCLA (Oct. 26).
CAL YOUTH DAY: The California volleyball team will host a special Youth Day when it plays Arizona on Oct. 11 at Haas Pavilion. Youth up to 12th grade will receive free admission to the match. The Bears will also hold a special autograph signing session with coaches and players post-match in the Haas Pavilion Club Room.
CAPTAIN CRUNCH: Cal will benefit from the leadership of three captains this season. Seniors Kat Reilly, Morgan Beck and Am'ra Solomon each holds the roll of co-team captain for 2008. Reilly brings her experience as the president of the Cal Student-Athlete Advisory Council to the court while Beck carries three years of on-court familiarity. Solomon's passion for the game and the team are apparent when she takes the court, often leading the team in cheers.
OUTSIDE INFLUENCE: The Bears returned several weapons at the outside hitter position from a squad that made an appearance in the NCAA semifinal, including All-American junior Hana Cutura. Cutura leads the team in total kills with 209 (56e, 409att, .374) and kills per set (4.45 kps). She also does her share of work on defense, picking up 114 digs thus far (2.43 dps). Senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck has logged 95 kills (2.32 kps) and 28 total blocks (0.68 bps) after earning All-Pac-10 honorable mention in 2007. Senior Am'ra Solomon has put down 112 kills (2.87 kps, second on the team) with a .305 attack percentage (32e, 262att). Solomon netted 80 kills (2.58 kps) a year ago in limited action. The Bears also added the services of freshman Tarah Murrey (91k, 37e, 198att, .273) to the lineup this season.
FRESH FACES: The Bears welcome five newcomers to the team this year. Topping the list is phenom outside hitter Tarah Murrey. Murrey comes to Cal as one of 2007's most highly sought-after high school recruits in the country. Her impressive resume includes Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 honors and recognition as the 2008 Gatorade California Player of the Year. Also a Fab 50 selection, freshman middle hitter Shannon Hawari looks to step in and battle for immediate playing time. Joining Murrey and Hawari in the freshman class are setter/defensive specialist Ashley Roe, setter Kristin Obermeyer and defensive specialist/libero Katherine Gorman.
NATIONAL N' THEM: The Bears hold several distinctions among the countries top teams including the No. 3 position in assists with 13.96 aps. Hawai'i leads all teams with a 14.17 aps average. As a byproduct, the Bears rank third in the country in kills with 15.02 kps. Hawai'i also leads this category with 15.25 kps. Cal's .325 hitting percentage ranks fourth in the country behind Pac-10 leader, Stanford (.332) and NCAA leader, Penn State at No. 1 (.403). Defensively, the Bears are averaging 2.55 bps, 29th among NCAA division I teams; one of four Pac-10 teams in the top 30 in that statistical category.
1,000K CLUB: Two Golden Bears have surpassed the 1,000 kill mark in their careers. Junior outside hitter Hana Cutura was the first to do so, hitting the 1,000 kill milestone on the head against Central Connecticut State Sept. 19 at the Crowne Plaza Volleyball Classic in Fullerton, Calif. Cutura is 10th in all-time career kills at Cal with 1,086 and will likely threaten the seventh-place position before the season is over. Senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck got her 1,000th kill against Oregon State Sept. 28. Beck now has 1,005 career kills and holds the ninth-place spot all-time at Cal in total blocks with 324.
#1: SETTING THE SCENE: Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd is averaging 12.04 aps (578 assists), tops in the Pac-10, but more importantly, she has the Bears on top of the conference with a 13.96 aps mark (third in the country). A 2007 Pac-10 All-Freshman selection, Lloyd posted 1,550 assists (12.81 dps) last year, and earned NCAA Wisconsin Regional all-tournament team status for her impressive postseason play. In addition to setting her teammates up, Lloyd also put down 93 kills and added 111 total blocks as a freshman. Lloyd broke the 2,000 assist mark against Oregon on Sept. 26, becoming just the sixth player in Cal history to break that plateau. Her 2,128 assists is already good for sixth among all-time career leaders at Cal. Lloyd's stellar play has netted her all-tournament honors in all four of Cal's preseason tourney's including two MVP awards (Cal Molten Classic and Golden Bear Invitational).
#1: CALIFORNIA GLADIATOR: Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd credits her athleticism to the training she received from uncle and coach, Galen Tomlinson. Tomlinson, a former volleyball coach at Fallbrook Union High School, is better known in some circles as Turbo from the 1980's television series, 'American Gladiators.'
#1: LLOYD NAMED PAC-10 VOLLEYBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd was named the Pac-10 Volleyball Player of the Week for the week of Aug. 23-Aug. 31 after earning honors as the Outstanding Setter and MVP of the Cal Molten Classic. Lloyd posted 66 assists in two matches (11.0 aps) and added eight kills without an error, 10 digs and five blocks. The award is the first for a Cal player since Angie Pressey received it for the week of Aug. 28, 2006. It is the first such honor for Lloyd and the 23rd for Cal. The Bonsall, Calif. native later received Outstanding Setter and MVP honors at the Golden Bear Invitational and earned a spot on the Diet Coke Classic all-tournament team.
#2: DIGGING DEEP: Junior defensive specialist/libero Kristen Kathan sits in fifth-place among Pac-10 players in digs per set with 3.98 dps (191 in 48 sets). Last year, Kathan registered the ninth-best single-season mark for digs at Cal as a sophomore with 414 (3.70 dps). Kathan had a career-high 29 digs at USC, Oct. 26, and her digs per set average was good for ninth-best among Pac-10 players last season. This season, Kathan put up a season-high 23 balls against Cal Poly Sept. 14 and logged her 700th career dig against Oregon State Sept. 28.
#3: NATIONAL BECKONING: Senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck spent the 2008 spring semester away from the Berkeley campus to be with the USA Women's Indoor Volleyball team in Colorado Springs, Colo. Along with since-departed Angie Pressey, Beck trained with the team under the direction of head coach 'Jenny' Lang Ping. This summer, the USA Women's Indoor Volleyball team won the silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
#4: SISTER, SISTER: Freshman outside hitter Tarah Murrey comes from a family of athletes, one of which is older sister, Brittney. The elder Murrey is the starting setter for UC Riverside. Cal faced the Highlanders in what became a family affair at Haas Pavilion on Sept. 6 in the Golden Bear Invitational. Youth beat out experience as Cal's Murrey helped the Bears to a 3-0 win to close out the tournament crown.
#7: ROE, ROE, ROE YOUR BOAT: Freshman setter/defensive specialist Ashley Roe lists writing poetry and lyrics as one of her favorite off-court activities. She can often be heard singing ad-lib lyrics to familiar melodies. She has appeared in three matches for the Bears, logging a service ace on her first collegiate play against Minnesota (Sept. 12) and logged her first career assist on a kill from Hana Cutura against Central Connecticut State Sept. 19.
#8: ADVENTURES WITH AM'RA: Senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon will be authoring a photo-journal during each of Cal's road trips this season. The pictorial essays are a behind-the-scenes look at the 2008 Golden Bears and will receive updates the Monday following each road trip. Solomon celebrated her second road-trip of the year with a spot on the Crowne Plaza All-Tournament team. Be sure to check the volleyball home page on CalBears.com for the latest shots off of Am'ra's camera.
#9: OBI WAN KENOBERMEYER: Freshman setter Kristin Obermeyer might not be able to play any Jedi mind-tricks on opponents but she has the resume to prove her academic aptitude as one of the valedictorians at Westmont High School in Campbell, Calif. She has appeared in three matches for Cal and had her first assist against DePaul Sept. 6; she later logged a career-high five assists against Central Connecticut State Sept. 19 at the Crowne Plaza Volleyball Classic in Fullerton, Calif.
#10: MIDDLE METTLE: In her final season with the Bears, senior middle hitter Kat Reilly will serve as one of three team captains. Reilly appeared in just 85 sets last year, protecting her knee after recovering from an injury sustained as a freshman. Last season, Reilly logged 147 kills and hit for .325 (44e, 317att), the sixth-best single season output by a Bear. She also ranked second on the team a year ago with a 1.36 bps average, putting up a total of 116 blocks. This season, Reilly has logged 22 kills (0.85 kps) in limited time (13e, 70att, .129) and 22 total blocks (0.85 bps).
#10: PRESIDENTIAL PRECEDENCE: Senior middle hitter Kat Reilly serves as president of the Cal Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). SAAC is a collaboration of student-athletes representing all intercollegiate teams competing for the University of California, Berkeley. The mission of SAAC is to bring the student-athlete community together; provide feedback to the athletic administration on proposed conference and NCAA legislation; foster student-athlete welfare; create relationships between student-athletes and the community by organizing community service efforts and raising funds for various causes; and to become a sounding board for the athletic administration by generating a student-athlete voice where concerns are addressed.
#14: TEXAS TWO-STEP: The Cal roster will once again feature two players from the great state of Texas. With the departure of Ellen Orchard (Houston, Texas), the Bears added another middle hitter in freshman Shannon Hawari to the lineup. Hawari arrives in Berkeley from Plano, Texas, a former player at Plano West High School. Hawari joins senior Kat Reilly, who comes from Plano East High School.
#14: NO HAWARIAN ISLAND VACATION: Freshman middle hitter Shannon Hawari has worked her way into the California starting lineup, logging 49 kills on 105 attacks with just seven errors all season. Her .400 attack percentage is third-best among all Pac-10 players. She has also racked up a total of 33 blocks (1.00 bps) second on the team. When she does decide to take a break, she would like to vacation to Paris, France.
#17: STORMIN' GORMANS: Freshman defensive specialist/libero Katherine Gorman's older brother Richard is a junior designated hitter on the Cal baseball team. With 14 home volleyball matches and 30 home baseball games, Golden Bear sports will be a family affair for the Gorman household. Gorman has appeared in seven of Cal's matches this year, recording her first digs in a match at Cal State Fullerton Sept. 20.
#21: WILD AND WILEY: Junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley is attacking at a .344 clip (95k, 30e, 189att). She put up a career high 11 kills and 19 attacks against Notre Dame Sept. 13 and posted a career-high three solo blocks against UC Riverside Sept. 6. She also recorded a career-high eight total blocks twice this season, first against San Francisco Sept. 20 and again against Oregon Sept. 26. Wiley had Cal's eighth-best single season output for hitting percentage in 2007, registering a mark of .307 (85k, 30e, 179att). Wiley shared time in the middle with since-departed Ellen Orchard and senior Kat Reilly but still managed to average 1.52 kps and put up 74 total blocks (1.32 bps) as a sophomore.
#26: PASSING ON PIROUETTES: Hailing from Zagreb, Croatia, junior outside hitter Hana Cutura wasn't always the menacing volleyball force the Bears have come to know. The 6-4 outside hitter used to be a ballet dancer as a young girl but her natural gift for volleyball eventually shoved Nutcracker dreams aside. Last year, Cutura's play in the postseason earned her honors as the NCAA Wisconsin Regional MVP, an achievement her parents are quite proud of. Cutura's father, Zoran is a former Olympic basketball star for Yugoslavia while her mother, Gordana, is a former member of the Croatian National Volleyball team.
#26: SUPER HANA: Junior outside hitter Hana Cutura leads the Pac-10 in kills per set with a 4.45 kps average but is also an astonishing fourth in the conference with a .374 attack percentage, the highest of any outside hitter in the Pac-10. She has also contributed to the Cal defense by putting in 2.43 digs per set. Her 5.13 points per set is tops in the conference and is outpacing Arizona State's Sarah Reaves' 4.73 pps. Cutura also leads the Bears in service aces with 19 on the season.
#44: FAMILY TRACK RECORD: Sophomore defensive specialist/libero Meagan Schmitt seems destined to have become a Cal athlete. Both her parents, Tom and Laura attended Cal and were cross country and track and field athletes for the Bears. Her uncle, John Starrett also starred as a rower for the Bears.
McSHANE THE TRAIN: This past June, assistant coach Matt McShane joined over 2,800 bike riders on a seven-day, 545-mile trek from San Francisco to Los Angeles as a part of the 2008 AIDS/LifeCycle Ride benefiting HIV/AIDS services. Founded in 2002, AIDS/LifeCycle is co-produced by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the LA Gay and Lesbian Center and is designed to advance their shared interests to end the pandemic and human suffering caused by AIDS through raising funds and social awareness. In 2008, the ride raised over $11.6 million dollars.