Heading For The Mountains
BERKELEY -- California volleyball heads for the road to take on its fourth-straight ranked opponent in No. 17 Utah before facing Colorado to wrap up the weekend. The Utes are currently tied for third-place in the Pac-12 Conference standings, while the Buffaloes sit in 10th-place.
The Bears open the weekend with a 4 p.m. PT first serve on Thursday against No. 17 Utah on the Pac-12 Networks and face Colorado in an 11 a.m. PT match Sunday on CU Live Stream.
Cal currently trails in both of the all-time series, 15-10 (Utah) and 14-6 (Colorado).
Lydia Grote returned to the court for the first time this season 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.
THAT'S THAT SCHMIDT
Junior outside hitter Leah Schmidt has hit her stride over the last few weeks of the season, recording double digit kills in three matches and recording a team-high in six. The Westlake, Ohio native and Utah transfer set a new season high with 14 kills at then-No. 10 Washington on Oct. 22 after recording 10 kills vs her former team on Oct. 17. Schmidt is currently third on the team with 190 kills.
MAKING HER BERG-MARK
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 (36th in the nation) with a .376 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.