Bears Head To PNW For Latest Challenge
|Team Notes||TV: Pac-12 Washington (vs. Washington)||Live Stats (vs. Washington)||Live Stream (vs. WSU)||Live Stats (vs. WSU)|
BERKELEY – California volleyball (7-13, 0-10 Pac-12) faces its first rematches of the season this weekend, flying to Seattle for a showdown against No. 19 Washington on Friday, Oct. 28 at 7:00 p.m. PT followed by a trip to Pullman, Wash., to meet Washington State on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 12:00 p.m. The former match will be broadcast on Pac-12 Washington.
The Bears are still looking for their first Pac-12 win of the season, despite taking a set from offensive powerhouse USC last weekend; however, they will find a difficult test against the Huskies and Cougars, who each swept Cal in their matchups earlier this year.
Cal is 29-46 all-time against Washington and 46-31 all-time versus Washington State.
This weekend marks the last time in their collegiate careers that junior Lydia Grote and her sister, Washington senior Marin Grote, will take to the court together, having faced each other five times already during the former's career as a Golden Bear. The elder Grote is currently 17th in the nation with a hitting percentage of .405 on the season, while the younger leads the Bears in both kills (261) and points (310.0).
NEVER SAY DIE
Although the Bears have only won 3 Pac-12 sets out of 33 total played, it would be disingenuous to say that Cal lacks competitiveness - 16 of those 30 losing sets were decided by a margin of 5 points or fewer, including 6 of 10 final sets. An additional 4 sets were decided by 6 points.
START 'EM YOUNG
After Week Eight, Cal boasts two of the country's top-blocking freshmen in Sophie Scott and Mikayla Hayden. No other program boasts two members ranked in the NCAA's Top 20 freshmen in blocks per set (Scott 1.11, Hayden 1.07), while Scott also ranks 7th overall in the Pac-12 with 78.0 total blocks. For her part, Hayden also proves a threat on offense, leading the Golden Bears with a hitting percentage of .282.
Junior Lydia Grote has posted a solid first half of her season, leading the Bears in both kills (261) and points (310.0). Currently, she is ranked 71st in the country with 4.37 points per set and 67th with 10.58 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 in 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.
For complete coverage of Cal volleyball, please follow the Bears on Twitter (@CalVolleyball), Instagram (@calvolleyball) and Facebook (Cal Volleyball).