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Cal Travels To No. 10 Washington, No. 22 Washington State

Oct 21, 2021

BERKELEY -- California volleyball heads back to the Pacific Northwest for the second time in three weeks, facing a pair of ranked opponents in matches against the Washington schools. 

The Bears open with a 7 p.m. first serve on Friday against No. 10 Washington on the Pac-12 Networks and face No. 22 Washington State in a 12 noon match Sunday. All fans 12 and older attending this week's matches in Washington will be required to show proof of a full COVID-19 vaccination and a photo ID prior to entry.      

Cal currently trails in the all-time series vs Washington (29-43) and leads Washington State, 46-28.

Lydia Grote returned to the court for the first time this season last week and set a new career-high with 21 kills vs. No. 17 Utah on Oct. 17. Grote was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team at the end of the 2020-21 spring season after she led the Bears with 204 kills on the year. She got off to a strong start in her Cal career by collecting 18 kills on .654 hitting to go along with three blocks in her debut at then-No. 22 UCLA on Jan. 22. The 18 kills set a new mark for most in a freshman debut in Cal volleyball history and Grote's .654 attack percentage in the opener was the fourth-best in the conference last season with a minimum of 12 kills. The native of Burbank, California recorded 10 double digit kill matches, including eight of the last 12. Grote ranked fourth in the conference among freshmen in kills.
The Bears return experience in the middle in redshirt-junior Bella Bergmark, who started all 22 matches at middle blocker during the spring season and led the team with a .296 attack percentage while coming in fourth on the squad with 106 kills. The Larkspur, California, native tallied 24 kills on a .556 hitting percentage over the opening weekend to earn All-Tournament honors at Tulane and continued her All-Tournament streak by making all three tournament teams. Bergmark is currently fifth in the Pac-12 (38th in the nation) with a .392 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.

Cal got a boost against Arizona and Arizona State with the season debut of libero Gabby Bellizzi. The Ladera Ranch, California native made an instant impact for the Bears, tallying a team-high 15 digs against the Wildcats on Oct. 1, including a diving, full-extension effort that led to a kill. Bellizzi added five assists against Arizona and followed with seven digs and three assists vs the Sun Devils on Oct. 3. 

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 four weeks of Pac-12 play, leading the team in both assists and service aces while ranking in the top 10 of the conference in both categories.     

Katie Smoot is in her first season wearing the Blue and Gold and has quickly made her presence known in the Bears' offensive attack. Through the first six weeks of action, Smoot has recorded a team-high 194 kills which ranks 14th in the Pac-12 Conference.

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