Volleyball Concludes Non-Conference Play This Week
(vs. UC Davis)
(vs. UC Davis)
BERKELEY – California volleyball (5-3) closes out non-conference play this week with two familiar foes: the Saint Mary's Gaels (3-4) and the UC Davis Aggies (5-4), both of whom faced the Golden Bears just last season.
Cal and Saint Mary's will face off on Thursday, Sept. 15, at University Credit Union Pavilion in Moraga at 6:00 p.m. PT. The Bears hold an all-time record of 21-3 against the Gaels, with their last meeting in 2021 resulting in a 3-0 Cal victory.
The Aggies, meanwhile, will play at Haas Pavilion on Saturday, Sept. 17. Cal has not beaten UC Davis since 2010, but holds a 6-4 advantage in the all-time record against the Aggies. In the two teams' 2021 meeting, UC Davis triumphed with a final score of 3-1.
Currently, the Bears rank third in the Pac-12 in both total digs (447) and digs per set (14.9). They are fourth in total blocks (77), total attacks (1044) and opponent hitting percentage (.145).
START 'EM YOUNG
After Week Three, Cal boasts the Pac-12's top two blocking freshmen in Sophie Scott and Mikayla Hayden. Both have started every match for the Golden Bears so far this season and currently rank No. 5 (37.0 total blocks) and No. 6 (36.0 total blocks), respectively, among all Pac-12 players. From a blocking standpoint, the duo is higher-ranked than any other freshman pair in the nation.
Junior Lydia Grote has posted a fantastic start to the season, accumulating 130 kills across 8 games for the Pac-12's second-highest total thus far. Grote also leads the Pac-12 in points per set (5.0) and kills per set (4.33); she is currently second in the conference in total points with 151.0. Grote/'s play in Week Two of the season earned her All-Utah Valley Tournament honors.
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. In her young sophomore season, she recently recorded a career-high 52 assists and 14 digs in the Bears' Sept. 2 win over Northern Arizona. Cal volleyball's lone international 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 All-Region 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 squad. 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.
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