Bears Host Wildcats, Devils At Haas
BERKELEY -- California volleyball continues Pac-12 play by welcoming the desert schools to Haas Pavilion for a pair of matches this weekend.
The Bears open with a 7 p.m. first serve on Friday against Arizona on the Pac-12 Networks and face Arizona State for a 12 noon match on Sunday, which will be available via Cal live stream. All fans 12 and older attending this week's matches will be required to show proof of a full COVID-19 vaccination and a photo ID prior to entry into Haas Pavilion.
Cal trails in both of the all-time series, 43-27 (Arizona) and 36-34 (Arizona State).
MAKING HER BERG-MARK
The Bears return experience in the middle in redshirt-junior Bella Bergmark. A native of Larkspur, California, Bergmark started all 22 matches at middle blocker during the spring season and led the team with a .296 attack percentage, coming in fourth on the squad with 106 kills. Bergmark tallied 24 kills on a .556 hitting percentage over the opening weekend to earn All-Tournament honors at Tulane. Since the first week, Bergmark continued her All-Tournament streak by making all three teams and is currently third in the Pac-12 (19th in the nation) with a .414 attack percentage.
1K CLUB x2
2019 AVCA Pacific North All-Region and All-Pac-12 outside hitter Mima Mirkovic collected a career milestone during her first weekend back on the court with the Bears. Mirkovic hit 1,000 career digs in Cal's season-opening victory over Alabama A&M and followed by recording her 1,000th career kill in the Bears' win against Northwestern State. The Irvine, California, native became the eighth player in Cal history to hit the double 1K mark, following Lisa Arce, Jenna Brown, Jessica Dinaberg, Tarah Murrey, Alicia Perry, Angie Pressey and Tiffany Rochelle. Mirkovic was named MVP of the Pacific Tournament after totaling 30 kills and 41 digs in three matches over the second weekend of action.
SMOOT LEADS ATTACK
Katie Smoot has quickly made her presence known in the Bears' offensive attack. Through the first five weeks of action, Smoot has recorded a team-high 164 kills which ranks seventh in the Pac-12 Conference. Smoot ranks second in the Pac-12 in total attacks (521) and 64th among all Division I players.
SETTING IT UP
The Bears had three setters record double-digit assists over the opening weekend at Tulane. Annalea Maeder led with 69 helpers in nine sets for a 7.67 assist per set average and Kendall Jensen added 27 while Jade Blevins had 10. Jensen turned in a strong debut season for the Bears during the 2020-21 spring campaign, especially after she was forced into the starting role after an injury to four-year starter Isabel Potter. Jensen started the final 10 matches of the season and tallied 296 assists to tie Potter for the team lead in the category, setting a season-high with 41 assists on Mar. 5 against Oregon State. Maeder, a freshman from Basel, Switzerland, has continued her strong start through the first week of Pac-12 play, She leads the team in both assists and service aces while ranking in the top 10 of the conference in both categories.
10 of the 18 players on the roster for the Bears are underclassmen as the 2021 season begins. Cal returns five sophomores from the 2020-21 spring season in libero Tara DeSa, middle blocker Lydia Grote, setter Kendall Jensen, outside hitter Katarina Pantovic and opposite Sam Taumoepeau. They are joined by four freshmen with middle blocker Ellie Hamm (Merced, Calif.), setter Annalea Maeder (Basel, Switzerland), opposite Ava Mehrten (Alamo, Calif.) and libero Sarah Schrag (San Diego, Calif.) all set to begin their collegiate careers.