No. 10 California Draws Three Top-20 Opponents in Hawai'i
Sept. 1, 2009
The Golden Bears will test their mettle as they head to the Hawaiian Islands for one of the toughest three-match stretches of the season. The No. 10-ranked California volleyball team draws No. 2 Texas, No. 4 Hawai'i and No. 19 Saint Louis in this weekend's Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. The Bears are coming off an opening weekend over which they went 2-1 at the Nevada Marriott Courtyard/Fairfield Invitational and off little rest, must prepare for some of women's collegiate volleyball's powerhouses. All-tournament team members Hana Cutura and Carli Lloyd look to help lead the Bears to another successful road trip.
THE FACTS: The No. 10-ranked California volleyball team will face three of the top teams in the country as it heads to Honolulu for the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Bears will take on No. 2 Texas (2-0) on Thursday, Sept. 3 in an 8 p.m. PT match. Then after a day's break, Cal draws No. 19 Saint Louis (2-1) on Saturday, Sept. 5, at 8 p.m. PT. Host Hawai'i (3-0) gets to face the Bears last as the two teams clash in an 8 p.m. PT match on Sunday, Sept. 6. K5 Honolulu will broadcast each Hawai'i match live on the islands and live statistics for all matches will be available via the www.hawaiiathletics.com women's volleyball page or at http://livestats.internetconsult.com/hawaii/wvball.
NEVADA ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura and junior setter Carli Lloyd were each named to the Nevada Marriott Courtyard/Fairfield Invitational All-Tournament Team. Cutura led all players with 56 kills and posted a .307 attack rate in three matches while Lloyd dished out 136 assists (11.33 aps) while leading the Bears in digs (2.33 dps) and blocks (1.08 bps).
NO. 2 TEXAS NOTES: The Longhorns (2-0) claimed their two wins of the season at the Long Beach State Baden Classic last weekend. Texas showed vulnerabilities as it fell behind, 2-0, to host No. 23 Long Beach State before the Longhorns flexed their muscles to claim a come-from-behind 3-2 victory against the 49ers. Texas took care of business in its second match, stomping out No. 15 San Diego in three sets. Senior outside hitter Destinee Hooker leads the Longhorns with 5.38 kps and is at the top of her team charts with eight blocks in two matches. Junior outside hitter Juliann Faucette trails Hooker just slightly with a 3.50 kps average. Senior setter Ashley Engle is the Texas on-court leader and has posted 66 assists this season. Defensively, senior libero Heather Kisner leads the team with a 5.38 dps average. The Bears and Longhorns have faced each other on nine occasions with Texas claiming victory every time. The last time the two teams met, the Longhorns came away with a 3-1 win on Sept. 12, 1992.
NO. 19 SAINT LOUIS NOTES: The Billikens (2-1) opened the season at home as hosts of the Active Ankle Challenge where they got two wins, one against Alabama (3-0) and the other against Miami of Ohio (3-1). Saint Louis ran into trouble when it faced top-ranked defending NCAA champion Penn State as it fell in three sets. The Billikens spread the scoring duties around on an offensively balanced squad. In three matches, six players have double-digit kills with three already eclipsing the 20-kill mark. Junior outside hitter Megan Boken leads the way with 3.00 kps and four service aces. Sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Deno and senior outside hitter Sammi McCloud have 25 and 28 kills respectively with McCloud leading the service game with six for the Billikens. Saint Louis also boasts an evenly balanced defensive game with five players over the 20-dig mark led by McCloud's 3.30 dps average. Sophomore middle blocked Lydia Blaha shares the top rung of the leader board with Deno as each have posted seven total blocks this season. The Bears and Billikens will be taking the court opposite each other for the first time.
NO. 4 HAWAI'I NOTES: The Rainbow Wahine (3-0) dropped just one set in three matches as they took out No. 25 Santa Clara and No. 9 UCLA to claim the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational crown. Hawai'i will host its second-consecutive tournament of the season and will be facing its fifth-consecutive ranked opponent when the Bears and Wahine meet. Hawai'i is attacking at a .323 rate with 158 kills (51e, 331att) this season. WAC Player of the Week sophomore outside hitter Kanani Danielson leads the Wahine, attacking at a 5.40 kills per set clip. She is also second on the team with 11 total blocks in three matches. Junior setter Dani Mafua leads the way with 13.00 aps while senior outside hitter Aneli Cubi-Otineru leads the team in digs with 3.50 dps. Junior libero Elizabeth Ka`aihue puts up 2.90 digs per set as well. At the net, freshman middle blocker Brittany Hewitt has been an immediate force with a 2.00 bps turn-away rate. The Wahine own an 8-0 record against the Bears and have never lost a set in the series. Hawai'i defeated Cal, 3-0, in the last meeting on Sept. 17, 2004.
BEARS IN TV LAND: The Bears will be featured in two Fox Sports Net television broadcasts this season. FSN will be on hand at Haas Pavilion to cover Cal's Pac-10 opener against Stanford on Friday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. PT. The Bears' first Pac-10 road match will also be televised when Cal visits the Galen Center in Los Angeles to take on USC on Friday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. Both matches will be televised via tape delay on the Sunday immediately following the match. The Bears will also appear on television (K5 Honolulu) on the Hawaiian Islands as they take on Hawai'i on Sept. 6. Please check your local listings for times and availability.
THE PACIFIC-10 CONFERENCE: Cal competes in what is undeniably the toughest conference in women's collegiate volleyball--the Pacific-10. The conference has captured five of the last eight NCAA titles and holds 13 volleyball national championships overall. The Pac-10 has had 10 or more AVCA All-American selections in each of the last four years and boasts a group of coaches with over 200 years of combined head-coaching experience. Six Pac-10 teams hold rankings in the current AVCA Top 25 poll. Washington leads all teams with the No. 3 ranking. No. 9 UCLA follows next with No. 10 Cal giving the conference three in the top-10 alone. No. 11 Stanford is next on the list, followed by No. 14 Oregon and No. 16 USC. Arizona also received votes and would be No. 31 if the rankings extended with Oregon State virtually at No. 37.
STRICT SCHEDULE: As a part of the Pac-10 conference, the Bears face top-ranked teams on a regular basis. This season Cal is scheduled to face at least 13 teams ranked in the top 25 before season's end. In addition to taking on No. 3 Washington, No. 9 UCLA, No. 11 Stanford, No. 14 Oregon and No. 16 USC twice this season, the Bears will also take on No. 2 Texas, No. 19 Saint Louis and No. 4 Hawai'i in three consecutive matches as part of the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic in Honolulu from Sept. 3-6. Among teams receiving votes in the preseason poll, Cal also has Arizona, Saint Mary's (CA) twice, San Francisco and No. 22 UC Irvine on its schedule.
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 as a part of the national Dig for the Cure campaign. Cal volleyball will run a special donation drive to benefit the Alta Bates Carol Ann Reed Breast Health Center when it takes on Arizona on Friday, Oct. 23. Check CalBears.com for more details on promotions as the match nears.
FOLLOW CAL VOLLEYBALL ON TWITTER: This season, fans can follow Cal volleyball on Twitter. Stay up to date and get the inside scoop on everything Cal volleyball at www.twitter.com/calvolleyball.
SEASON TICKET HOLDER CHALLENGE: The Cal volleyball team has issued a challenge to its season ticket holders this season. In an effort to raise the number of season ticket holders and E-newsletter subscribers, the team is offering prize incentives for different levels of goal achievement. Check the volleyball page at CalBears.com for more information and learn how you can help.
WELCOME FRESHMEN: The Bears bring in seven newcomers in 2009. Among the top-10 ranked recruiting class, Cal's roster will feature four PrepVolleyball.com Top Senior Aces and three players who each earned Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 and UnderArmour High School All-America recognition. Joining the Bears this season are outside hitter Jessica Adams; setter Elly Barrett; middle hitter Kat Brown; outside hitter Mary Buckingham; middle hitter Tia Gaffen; middle hitter Correy Johnson; and defensive specialist Robin Rostratter.
TEXAS TWO-STEP: For the third consecutive season, the Cal roster will feature at least two players from the great state of Texas. Sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari (Plano, Texas) and freshman setter Elly Barrett (Austin, Texas) each hail from the Lone Star State. Barrett grew up close to Texas volleyball as a resident of Austin, one of the teams on the Bears' schedule this season.
ISLAND CONNECTION: First-year director of volleyball operations Jennifer Carey is a former All-Western Athletic Conference setter for Hawai'i. Carey set records as a member of the Rainbow Wahine and was a four-time selection to the WAC All-Academic team. She arrived at Cal via Georgia Tech where she was an assistant coach under Bond Shymansky (currently the head coach at Marquette). Prior to coaching, Carey served as the director of operations for Texas A&M volleyball. Cal's visit to the islands will be a homecoming for Carey as the Bears take on her alma mater on Sept. 6 in Honolulu.
#1 | SETTING HER PLACE: In just two seasons, setter Carli Lloyd has established herself as a force to be reckoned with. As a freshman, she completed her season just six assists shy of setting a new Cal single-season record as she posted 1,550 in 2007. In 2008, Lloyd continued to push boundaries by putting up 1,392 assists, as she earned the sixth best all-time single-season mark at Cal and placed third in the nation with her 12.00 aps average. With 3,078 career assists, Lloyd is third among active Pac-10 assist leaders and sits comfortably in fifth all-time for the Bears; on pace to continue to break records in the years to come. Over the summer, she was named to the all-tournament team at the USA Adult Open Volleyball Championship as she helped guide her team to a bronze medal finish.
#1 | CALIFORNIA GLADIATOR: Junior All-American 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.'
#2 | SHE CAN DIG IT: Senior libero Kristen Kathan led the Bears in digs a year ago with 4.23 dps; fourth in the Pac-10. Her 491 digs ranked third all-time for single-season digs at Cal. As a sophomore, she posted the 10th best single-season mark with 414 digs. With 1,048 career digs, she is poised to break into the top 10 among Bears in that statistical category and is currently fourth among active Pac-10 players.
#4 | TARAH-RIZING THE COURT: In just her first year with the Bears, outside hitter Tarah Murrey proved why she was such a sought after recruit coming out of high school. Murrey posted 277 kills and ranked third on the team with 2.43 kps. She also contributed 177 digs in 2008 on her way to a selection on the Pac-10 All-Freshman team. Last summer, she helped her USA A2 team to a bronze medal at the 80th Annual USA Adult Open Volleyball Championship.
#7 | ROE SHAM BO: As a freshman, setter/defensive specialist Ashley Roe appeared in five matches for the Bears. Her first collegiate play was a service ace. Heading into her sophomore season, Roe hopes to bring a new set of tools to the court as she competes for time as a defensive specialist.
#8 | FANTASMICORREY: Hailing from Orlando, Fla., home of Disney World and Mickey Mouse, freshman opposite Correy Johnson has wasted no time making her way to the court and contributing both offensively and defensively. In her first three matches, Johnson has posted 15 kills (7e, 32att) and a .250 attack percentage while adding seven blocks.
#9 | OBI WAN KENOBERMEYER: Sophomore 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 2008 valedictorians at Westmont High School in Campbell, Calif. As a freshman, she 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.
#14 | HAWARIAN VACATION: Sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari didn't take any time off when she set a new Cal record for single season hitting percentage in 2008 as she posted a .387 mark with 113 kills on 230 attacks. She ranked fourth among Pac-10 players and also contributed to the Bears defensively with 64 blocks on her way to a selection to the 2008 Pac-10 All-Freshman team.
#21 | MINDI IN THE MIDDLE: Senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley led the Bears in blocks in 2008 with 123; 1.09 bps. Those numbers were good enough to rank fifth among Pac-10 players. She also ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage with a .337 mark (258k, 86e, 511att). Wiley received AVCA All-Pacific Region honorable mention and All-Pac-10 honorable mention as a junior and set the ninth best single-season mark for blocks as well as the sixth best single-season mark for hitting percentage at Cal.
#26 | THE CROATION SENSATION: Two-time All-American outside hitter Hana Cutura led the Bears in kills (4.34 kps, 499 kills) and points (572.5) in 2008. As a senior, she returns to the Cal lineup with 1,432 career kills (second among active Pac-10 players). Her performance as a junior nabbed her second All-Pac-10 selection as she set the fifth highest mark for single-season kills at Cal. She is tops among active Pac-10 players in service aces with 95 and is poised to break into the career service ace top 10 at Cal this season.
#26: PASSING ON PIROUETTES: Hailing from Zagreb, Croatia, senior 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 youth but her natural gift for volleyball eventually shoved Nutcracker dreams aside. As just a sophomore, Cutura's play in the postseason earned her honors as the NCAA Wisconsin Regional MVP. As a junior, Cutura received her second selection to the AVCA All-America team; each achievements 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.
#44 | FAMILY TRACK RECORD: Junior defensive specialist Meagan Schmitt seems destined to be a Cal athlete. Both of 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.
PRESEASON POLL POSITIONS: Cal received the No. 6 ranking in two preseason polls; the AVCA Division I Coaches' Top 25 Poll and the Volleyball Magazine Top 20 Poll. The selection in the AVCA poll marks the ninth time in school history that the Bears have been ranked to open a season; the seventh since Rich Feller became head coach in 1999. Cal was ranked No. 5 at the start of 2008 and finished No. 6. The Bears held the No. 12 spot in 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 in 2008 as the Bears reached No. 4 for several weeks. Since 1982, the Bears have been ranked in the weekly AVCA poll a total of 132 times.
2008 IN REVIEW: The Bears recorded the best record in school history as they advanced to the NCAA Regional Final for the second consecutive season and received the No. 6 ranking in the final AVCA poll. Cal finished 26-7 overall and claimed third place in the Pac-10 with a 13-5 mark. The Bears defeated every team in the Pac-10 at least once for the first time and beat Stanford on the road for the first time in 29 years. Cal reeled off a school-record 29 consecutive set victories from Sept. 14 through Oct. 19 and set a new mark for consecutive home wins with 16 from Oct. 11, 2007 through Nov. 2, 2008. The Bears' 18-1 start to the season and 8-0 mark to open conference play were also new program bests. Cal received a school-record seventh-consecutive bid to the NCAA tournament and hosted first and second round matches at Haas Pavilion. The Bears defeated Siena College, New Mexico State and Illinois in postseason play before falling to eventual national champion No. 1-ranked Penn State in the State College Regional Championship match. Outside hitter Hana Cutura and setter Carli Lloyd received AVCA All-America and Pac-10 All-Conference honors. The duo was joined by outside hitter Amr'a Solomon, and middle hitter Mindi Wiley for postseason awards as Solomon and Wiley received AVCA regional recognition and All-Pac-10 honorable mention. Cal also placed two players on the conference all-freshman team as outside hitter Tarah Murrey and middle hitter Shannon Hawari each made appearances on the short roster. Murrey ranked third on the team in kills per set (2.43 kps) and Hawari set a new Cal single-season hitting percentage record as she registered 113 kills on 230 attacks (.387).