Bears Open 2022 Season On Friday
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BERKELEY - California volleyball will kick off three straight weekends of tournament play on Friday, traveling to San Diego for their season opener at the San Diego State Tournament.
First serve for the Bears' first game, a matchup against Army, is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. PT on Aug. 26, followed by a contest later that day against San Diego State (6:00 p.m. PT). Aug. 27 will feature a meeting between Cal and UC San Diego at 1:30 p.m. to close out the tournament.
Combined, the Bears hold an all-time record of 4-5 against these three teams, with undefeated records againt Army (1-0) and UC San Diego (2-0). They will be looking for their first win against San Diego State since 1989, which was also the last meeting between the two schools.
USA VOLLEYBALL TAKES NOTICE
Juniors Lydia Grote and Leah Schmidt participated in the 2022 USA Volleyball National Team Open Program on Feb. 25-27, scoring invitations after stellar sophomore seasons. Grote's 2021 campaign included a 21-kill game (vs. Utah, Oct. 17) and a 15-kill, .344-hitting percentage outing against Washington State (Nov. 11). Schmidt, meanwhile, was named to the 2021 All-Tulane Tournament team and subsequently posted the third-most kills on the team (200) during the season as one of Cal's most prolific players.
Sophomore Annalea Maeder looks to build upon a fantastic freshman campaign in which she took over the role of the Bears' starting setter. The 2021 team leader in assists (701) and double-doubles (8) also posted 205 digs and 30 kills on the year, as well as 29 total blocks. Cal volleyball's lone interntional student-athlete is also a star in the classroom, majoring in molecular environmental biology, and participates in a student-run business consulting club whose clients include various Fortune 500 companies nationwide.
This year, Cal brings in four highly-touted prospects from around the country to help bolster its squad. Middle blocker Mikayla Hayden (Buford, Ga.) was one of the best high school players in the state of Georgia, posting over 1,000 kills in her career in addition to 2 state championships and several AllRegion and All-County nods. Fellow middle blocker Sophie Scott (Portland, Ore.) earned her way onto multiple State and All-League teams, while outside hitter Peyton DeJardin (Pasadena, Calif.) reached Third Team All-American status in 2021. Setter Natalie Lau (San Francisco) rounds out the group, coming off a season where she earned a spot on the All-America Watch List and the All-WCAL First Team.
The Bears have five juniors on their 2022 roster, which makes up over one-third of the roster. The dangerous duo of Grote and Schmidt only show part of the picture - other returners include team digs leader Tara DeSa (278 in 2021), Kendall Jensen (200 assists) and Sam Taumoepeau (81 kills), all of whom improved greatly upon their freshman campaigns and look to continue their upward trajectory this fall.
Sydney Lilomaiava is the lone graduating senior on the 2022 Cal volleyball roster following the departure of seven Bears from the 2021 squad. The Orange, Calif., native has played in 167 sets throughout her first three years on the team, adding 212 total kills and 49 blocks to her resume while taking a huge step forward in her junior campaign (113 kills, 43 blocks).