Volleyball Hosts Pride Night Friday Against USC
|Tickets (vs. USC - Pride Night)||Tickets (vs. UCLA)||Team Notes||TV: Pac-12 Bay Area (vs. USC)||Live Stats (vs. USC)||TV: Pac-12 Network (vs. UCLA)||Live Stats (vs. UCLA)|
BERKELEY – California volleyball (7-11, 0-8 Pac-12) returns to Haas Pavilion this weekend, hosting Pride Night on Friday against USC (15-4, 7-1) at 7:00 p.m. PT followed by a matchup against UCLA (9-8, 3-5) on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.
The contest against USC will feature a t-shirt giveaway to 75 lucky fans. For every ticket sold, the program will donate $3 to the LGBTQ Center in Oakland.
USC is one of the conference's top offensive teams and lands within the NCAA's Top 25 in hitting percentage, aces per set, assists per set and kills per set. They currently lead the Pac-12 in total kills and service aces, due in no small part to the contributions of three-time (and reigning) Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week Skylar Fields, who ranks fifth in the nation with 358 kills and sixth with 5.04 kills per set. The Trojans are no slouches on defense, either, as breakthrough freshman Gala Trubint has won two straight Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week awards (including last week's). She leads the conference with 298 digs and is second with 4.20 digs per set.
The Bears are 12-66 all-time against USC, having last defeated them in 2014.
As a team, UCLA currently ranks 37th nationally in blocks per set and 50th in assists per set, allowing an opponent hitting percentage of just .184. Senior Matti McKissock leads the Bruins and is fourth in the Pac-12 with 10.68 assists per set, also ranking fifth with 609 total assists. Cal is 8-70 all-time against UCLA.
NEVER SAY DIE
Although the Bears have only won 2 Pac-12 sets out of 26 total played, it would be disengenous to say that Cal lacks competitiveness - 14 of those 24 losing sets were decided by a margin of 5 points or fewer, including 6 of 8 final sets.
START 'EM YOUNG
After Week Seven, Cal boasts some of the country's top two blocking freshmen in Sophie Scott and Mikayla Hayden. No other program boasts two members ranked in the NCAA's Top 15 freshmen in blocks per set (Scott 1.14, Hayden 1.10), while Scott also ranks 19th among all freshmen blockers nationwide with 73.0 total blocks. For her part, Hayden also proves a threat on offense, leading the Golden Bears with a hitting percentage of .311.
Junior Lydia Grote has posted a fantastic first half of her season, leading the Bears in kills (240), service aces (20) and points (287.5). Currently, she is ranked 53rd in the country with 4.49 points per set, and 50th with 10.78 attacks per set. Her 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 is on pace to far surpass her stellar freshman campaign, in which she led the Bears with 701 assists and 8 double-doubles. Early inn the 2022 season, she recorded a career-high 52 assists and 14 digs in the Bears' Sept. 2 win over Northern Arizona, as well as a 51-assist, 14-dig outing against UC Davis on Sept. 17 that put her over 300 assists on the season and 1,000 in her collegiate career. More recently, Maeder posted 50 assists and 14 digs against Oregon State (Sept. 23), thus bringing her 2022 assists total to 400. 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.
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