No. 7 Cal Hosts No. 9 UCLA and No. 10 USC in Final Home Matches

Nov. 17, 2008


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Since stunning rival Stanford (currently ranked No. 2) on the Cardinal's home floor for the first time in 29 years (Oct. 19), the No. 7-ranked California volleyball team has won just three of its last seven matches. The Golden Bears look to right the ship with their four remaining regular season matches beginning with bouts against visiting Southern California teams, No. 9 UCLA and No. 10 USC. Cal will try to sweep the season series against the Bruins for first time in program history after claiming a 3-2 win at Pauley Pavilion Oct. 24. The Bears also have revenge on their minds as the Trojans come to Haas Pavilion on Senior Night. Cal fell in five sets to the women of Troy when they met in Los Angeles; the team's first Pac-10 loss. The Bears celebrate the career accomplishments of seniors Morgan Beck, Kat Reilly and Am'ra Solomon as they close out regular-season home matches for 2008. The volleyball matches are but a part of a big weekend on the Berkeley campus as men's and women's basketball are in action as well. On Saturday, Nov. 22, Cal's match against USC follows the 111th Big Game taking place at Memorial Stadium at 12:30 p.m. The Bears will also take on the Cardinal in men's water polo at Spieker Pool with first sprint at 10 a.m. Check for schedules, updates and information on all 27 of Cal's intercollegiate athletic teams.

THE FACTS: No. 7 Cal (20-5, 10-4 Pac-10) completes its regular-season home schedule by hosting No. 9 UCLA (18-8, 8-7 Pac-10) on Friday (Nov. 21) at 5 p.m. and No. 10 USC (16-8, 9-6 Pac-10) on Saturday (Nov. 22) at 5 p.m. The Golden Bears will honor their seniors during pre-match ceremonies prior to the match against USC. The Senior Night match will be broadcast live by Fox Sports Net. Paul Sunderland will call the action with Holly McPeak and Karch Kiraly providing color commentary. Live statistics through Gametracker and streaming video are also available via links at

FREE FOR ALL: Both of this weekend's matches feature free admission for all youth 12th grade and below with valid student identification.

LAST WEEK: No. 2-ranked Stanford came to visit Haas Pavilion and exacted revenge for an early-season loss to Cal by sweeping the Bears, 3-0 (25-23, 25-16, 25-20) at Haas Pavilion. With the victory, the Cardinal claimed sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 and continued on a streak that has it winning its last 21 sets and seven matches. Stanford senior outside hitter Cynthia Barboza led all players with 13 kills (0e, 31att, .419) and 18 digs as she was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week. Cardinal senior middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo contributed 12 kills (1e, 18att, .611) , eight digs and six blocks to help Stanford record a .319 attack rate in the match (46k, 10e, 113). The Bears were held to .167 with 41 kills (20e, 126att) and hit into the Cardinal block 11 times. Cal found itself on the defensive most of the time as it dug up 48 balls (matching the highest mark this season in a three-set match), led by junior libero Kristen Kathan who had 18 to lead her team. Junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley led the Bears with 10 kills (2e, 15att, .533) while outside hitters junior Hana Cutura and senior Am'ra Solomon put up nine kills each.

NO. 9 UCLA NOTES: The Bruins (18-8, 8-7 Pac-10) opened the season by winning 10 of their first 11 matches. Since UCLA began conference play, the going has been much tougher. Still, the Bruins come to Haas winners of their last two matches in six efficient sets of play. In fact, although UCLA is 4-2 in its last six matches, the Bruins have swept their opponents in all four victories. The Bruin attack comes from all directions as six players average at least two kills per set, led by sophomore outside hitter Dicey McGraw who puts up 3.03 kps. Senior libero Jessica Fine puts up 4.70 dps (third in the Pac-10) for the conference leading Bruins, who average 15.62 digs every set (14th nationally). The Bruins also lead the Pac-10 in blocking (2.64 bps) as a pair of freshman middle blockers clog up the attacking lanes. Amanda Gil is second in the conference, averaging 1.41 bps and Katie Camp is ninth with 1.05 bps. Camp and Gil also boost the UCLA attack percentage as each appear in the top 10; Gil is attacking at a .328 rate (seventh in conference) and Camp is attacking at a .350 rate (sixth). Senior setter Nellie Spicer is fourth in the Pac-10 in assists, averaging 11.09 aps. The Bruins hold a 51-3 lead in the all-time series against Cal but the Bears have won the last two (both at Pauley Pavilion). Cal's only victory against UCLA at Haas Pavilion came on Sept. 23, 2005 as the Bears swept the Bruins, 3-0.

NO. 10 USC NOTES: The Women of Troy (16-8, 9-6 Pac-10) have won six of their last seven matches since squeaking out a 15-13 fifth set to hand the Bears their first conference loss of the season. The victory was just the first of three five-set wins for the Trojans, who have since played in four consecutive three-set matches; the last three each wins against Washington State, Arizona and Arizona State. USC comes to Haas Pavilion at full strength since sophomore middle blocker Zoe Garrett returned to action. Garrett leads the Trojans in hitting percentage (.317, eighth in the Pac-10) and averages 1.70 kps. On the outside, USC gets its points from freshman phenom Alex Jupiter, who averages a team-high 3.37 kps (seventh Pac-10). Redshirt junior outside hitter Jessica Gysin is in Jupiter's orbit, as she puts up 3.22 kps and has the second-highest digging average on the team at 2.32 dps. Junior libero Alli Hillgren does most of the digging dirty work for the Women of Troy, putting up 4.24 digs every set. Freshman middle blocker Lauren Williams stuffs 1.06 attacks each set (seventh Pac-10) and has the Trojans averaging 2.46 blocks each set. Junior setter Taylor Carico is fifth in the conference, averaging 10.50 assists per set while putting up 2.02 dps. The Women of Troy own a 41-8 advantage in the all-time series against Cal and have won the last five meetings since 2005.

POLL POSITION: Cal's No. 5 preseason ranking in the Bison/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll marked the eighth time in school history that the Bears were ranked to open a season; the sixth 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 highest regular season ranking was recorded several times this season as the Bears reached No. 4 for several weeks. Since 1982, the Bears have been ranked a total of 127 times.

BEARS IN TV LAND: Cal appears live in five televised matches this season, the last of which is the USC match on Nov. 22, broadcast by Fox Sports Net. Comcast SportsNet California showed Cal's match against Stanford in the Big Spike on Nov. 14 and haunted the Haas sidelines on Halloween night (Oct. 31) as the Bears defeated Washington State, 3-1. Comcast also aired the Bears' Dig for the Cure match against Arizona State on Oct. 10. FSN also showed the Cal's historic 3-1 victory at Stanford (Oct. 19). Cal also appeared in a local telecast on the road at Washington Oct. 3. Cal is 4-1 in televised matches.

SUPER STREAKS: Cal's streak of 29 straight sets without a loss between Sept. 14 and Oct. 19 set a new school record, breaking the old record of 27 held by the 2002 squad. The Bears also had the second-longest match winning streak in school history this season, winning 13 consecutive matches between Sept. 13 and Oct. 24. In addition, Cal set a new school record by winning eight consecutive Pac-10 matches. This Cal team also owns the record for most consecutive matches won at home, 16 (from Oct. 11, 2007 through Oct. 31, 2008).

RACKIN' UP THE REWARDS: Several Cal players received recognition for their outstanding play in preseason tournaments this season; at the Cal Molten Classic, sophomore setter Carli Lloyd took home MVP honors, joined by junior libero Kristen Kathan as the defensive standout and junior outside hitter Hana Cutura on the all-tournament team. At the Golden Bear Invitational, Lloyd once again garnered MVP honors while Kathan repeated as the defensive standout. This time, the pair was joined not only by Cutura, but senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck and junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley. At the Diet Coke Classic in Minneapolis, Minn., Lloyd and Cutura earned spots on the all-tournament team. And at the Crowne Plaza Volleyball Classic in Fullerton, Calif., Cutura took home MVP honors, joined by senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon and Lloyd on the all-tournament team.

THE PACIFIC-10 CONFERENCE: Cal competes in what is arguably the toughest women's collegiate volleyball conference, the Pac-10. Six teams ranked in the most recent Bison/AVCA top 25 poll reside in the Pac-10 conference with all six in the top 10. 2007 NCAA runner-up Stanford tops the group at No. 2 with Washington checking in at No. 5. Cal sits at No. 7 followed by No. 8 Oregon, No. 9 UCLA and No. 10 USC. Oregon State made its first appearance in the polls since 1996 earlier this year and Arizona made its first appearance in the top 25 four weeks ago. Both have since exited the poll. With San Francisco (No. 27), Cal Poly, and Minnesota (No. 15) also cracking the lineup, and St. John's holding a position earlier this year, the Bears have the opportunity to face at least 16 top-25 ranked opponents before the season is over.

DIG FOR THE CURE: During the month of October, Pac-10 volleyball teams joined forces to help raise awareness about breast cancer during home matches. Among the promotional events, teams wore pink accessories, used pink game balls for the matches and tossed pink mini volleyballs into the stands. The Bears held Dig for the Cure on Oct. 10 when it hosted Arizona State at Haas Pavilion. On the road, Cal also participated in 'Pink' matches when it visited Stanford (Oct. 19), UCLA (Oct. 24), and USC (Oct. 25).

BEARS IN THE PAC-10 RANKS: Cal is in the top five in five statistical categories in the Pac-10. The Bears lead the conference in assists (14.06 aps) and kills (15.10 kps). Cal is second in hitting percentage (.298) and third in opponent hitting percentage (.187). Finally, the Bears are fourth in service aces (1.21 saps) and seventh in blocks (2.43 bps). Individually, junior outside hitter Hana Cutura is second in the conference in kills (4.36 kps) and first in points (5.05 pps). She is also second in service aces (0.37 saps). Junior libero Kristen Kathan is fourth in digs (4.34 dps) and sophomore setter Carli Lloyd is second in assists with 12.13 aps. Two Bears hold top-10 spots in hitting percentage led by freshman middle hitter Shannon Hawari (.411) who is third in the conference. Junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley is 10th (.315) in hitting percentage and blocks (1.01 bps).

NATIONAL N' THEM: The Bears hold several distinctions among the country's top teams including third in assists with 14.06 aps. As a byproduct, the Bears rank second in the country in kills with 15.10 kps. Valparaiso leads all teams with a 15.24 kps average. Cal's .298 hitting percentage ranks fifth in the country behind Pac-10 leader, Stanford (.319) and NCAA leader, Penn State at No. 1 (.396). Defensively, the Bears are averaging 2.43 bps, 48th among NCAA division I teams; one of seven Pac-10 teams in the top 50 in that statistical category. Individually, sophomore setter Carli Lloyd is third in the country with 12.13 aps and junior outside Hana Cutura is 16th nationally in kills at 4.36 kps.

CAPTAIN CRUNCH: Cal benefits from the leadership of three captains this season. Seniors Kat Reilly, Morgan Beck and Am'ra Solomon each hold 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 375 (123e, 816att, .309) and kills per set (4.36 kps). She also does her share of work on defense, picking up 210 digs thus far (2.44 dps). Senior outside hitter/middle hitter Morgan Beck has logged 101 kills (1.80 kps) and 28 total blocks (0.50 bps) despite playing a limited role due to an injury. Beck earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention in 2006 and 2007. Senior Am'ra Solomon has made huge contributions, putting down 246 kills (3.15 kps, second on the team) with a .308 attack percentage (66e, 585att). Solomon netted 80 kills (2.58 kps) a year ago in limited action. The Bears also added the services of freshman Tarah Murrey (190k, 88e, 446att, .229) 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.

HOME, SWEET, HOME: There's no place like home and these Bears don't come to Haas Pavilion to hibernate. Cal successfully defended its home court advantage for a school-record 16 consecutive matches; a run that dated back to a 3-2 win over Washington on Oct. 11, 2007 and ended against with a loss to the Huskies on Nov. 2, 2008. The previous longest home winning streak lasted 13 matches from Oct. 28, 2005 through Oct. 19, 2006. This season, Cal is 10-2 at Haas Pavilion with two matches left on the schedule.

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 seventh in all-time career kills at Cal with 1,252 and will likely threaten the fifth-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 1,014 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 12.13 aps (1,055 assists), second in the Pac-10 (third nationally), but more importantly, she has the Bears on top of the conference with a 14.06 aps mark (also second nationally). 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 2,605 assists are already good for fifth among all-time career leaders at Cal. Lloyd's stellar play 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), Pac-10 Player of the Week award twice and most recently, an AVCA National Player of the Week honor.

#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: TRIPLE PLAY: Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd was named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week on Oct. 20, for her efforts in a 3-1 victory against Stanford, Oct. 19. She was also named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the second time this season for the week of Oct. 13-19, after earning honors for the week of Aug. 23-Aug. 31. In addition, Lloyd received the Cal Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week award to complete a trifecta of awards and honors. She is the first Cal player since Angie Pressey to receive Pac-10 (Aug. 28, 2006) and the first player since Mia Jerkov (2003) to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors twice in one season.

#2: DIGGING DEEP: Junior defensive specialist/libero Kristen Kathan sits in fourth place among Pac-10 players in digs per set with 4.34 dps (378 in 87 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 twice, last at UCLA, Oct. 24.

#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 among her favorite off-court activities. She can often be heard singing or rapping 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 for the latest shots off of Am'ra's camera.

#8: SHE AM WHAT SHE AM: Senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon has been quietly becoming one of the Bears' go-to players on the outside. Her 3.15 kills per set are good for second on the team behind team leader junior Hana Cutura. Solomon's sure hand has netted her a .308 attack percentage (246k, 66e, 585att). She set new career highs in attacks at UCLA Oct. 24, with 49; and recorded a new career-high in kills with 20 at Arizona Nov. 7. She also set career high numbers in digs and blocks this season, playing in a heavily saturated front row.

#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, slowed by injury, Reilly has logged 28 kills (0.74 kps) in limited time (18e, 92att, .109) and 34 total blocks (0.89 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 103 kills on 207 attacks with just 18 errors all season. Her .411 attack percentage is third best among all Pac-10 players. She has also racked up a total of 54 blocks (0.83 bps), second on the team. Hawari had a breakout match at USC Oct. 25 where she tallied a career-high 15 kills on 22 attacks. 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 11 of Cal's matches this year, recording her first digs in a match at Cal State Fullerton Sept. 20 and a career-high three digs at USC on Oct. 25.

#21: WILD AND WILEY: Junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley is attacking at a .315 clip (184k, 67e, 371att), 10th in the Pac-10. She put up a career-high 15 kills and 25 attacks at UCLA Oct. 24 and posted a career-high three solo blocks against UC Riverside Sept. 6. She has also recorded a career-high eight total blocks twice this season, first against San Francisco Sept. 20 and again against Oregon Sept. 26. The first service aces of Wiley's career came against Arizona (Oct. 11) and Arizona State (Oct. 10) this season. Wiley had Cal's eighth-best single season output for hitting percentage in 2007, registering a mark of .307 (85k, 30e, 179att). As a sophomore, 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).

#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 is tied for first in the Pac-10 in kills per set with a 4.36 kps average. She has also contributed to the Cal defense by putting in 2.43 digs per set. Her 5.05 points per set is tops in the conference and she leads the Bears in service aces with 32 (0.37, second in the Pac-10).

#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. Schmitt put up a career-high nine digs at Stanford, Oct. 19 and later served up a career-high three service aces at Arizona Nov. 7.

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.