Bears Prepare For Final Two Matches Of 2022
|Team Notes||TV: Pac-12 Networks (vs. Oregon)||Live Stats (vs. Oregon)||TV: Pac-12 Bay Area (vs. Stanford)||Live Stats (vs. Stanford)|
BERKELEY – After posting its fifth straight five-set match against Arizona State on Sunday, California volleyball (7-21, 0-18 Pac-12) hopes to close out the season strong this week against two of the nation's top teams. The Bears will host No. 10 Oregon at Haas Pavilion on Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 12:00 p.m. PT before traveling to No. 6 Stanford in Palo Alto on Friday, Nov. 25 at 6:00 p.m.
Cal will be honoring lone senior Sydney Lilomaiava at Wednesday's match, her last as a Golden Bear.
Cal is 53-32 all-time against Oregon. This year's Ducks squad is one of the most efficient offensive teams in the nation, ranking 6th nationally with 13.49 assists per set, 7th with a .291 hitting percentage and 9th with 14.29 kills per set. They have stars all over the roster: senior Brooke Nuneviller ranks 4th in the conference with 418 kills on the season, while junior Hannah Pukis leads the Pac-12 with 11.22 assists per set. Leading Oregon's underclassmen are sophomore Kiari Robey, whose .408 hitting percentage ranks 3rd in the Pac-12, and freshman Mimi Colyer, one of the conference's top performers in both kills (439 – 3rd) and kills per set (4.22 – 5th).
The Bears forced then-No. 5 Stanford to four sets in the last meeting between the two teams (Sept. 21 at Haas Pavilion), but are just 13-82 historically against the Cardinal. As a team, Stanford ranks 7th in the nation in both kills per set (14.41) and assists per set (13.45). Like Oregon, they boast top players at every level and position, with four women ranking in the conference's Top Five in two separate categories. Senior Kendall Kipp's 0.42 service aces per set and 4.29 kills per set stand at 2nd and 3rd, respectively, while junior Elena Oglivie leads the Pac-12 with 4.19 digs per set (and ranks 5th with 398 total digs). Sophomores Kami Miner (11.22 assists per set – 1st Pac-12; 1066 assists – 3rd Pac-12) and Sami Francis (1.45 blocks per set – 2nd Pac-12; .394 hitting percentage – 4th Pac-12) round out the Cardinal's standout core.
Lydia Grote made Cal history in November, posting 28 kills against UCLA (Nov. 10) - the most by any Golden Bear in a single game since 2010 - and matched that total two days later against USC. In the latter match, she recorded 94 attacks for the most in one game all-time by any Cal player. She currently leads the Bears with 394 kills (82nd NCAA), 454.5 points (77th NCAA) and 1169 attacks (46th NCAA).
Grote is not the only Golden Bear posting an impressive 2002 season for Cal. Junior Tara DeSa posted 32 digs - one off the school record - against Arizona on Nov. 17, joining just 10 other Bears in program history to surpass the 30-dig mark. She currently ranks 2nd in the Pac-12 with 426 total digs and 3rd with 4.02 digs per set. Freshman Mikayla Hayden has also made an impressive impact in her Golden Bear debut, leading the team with 109.0 total blocks (6th-most in the Pac-12, and the conference's top freshman) and 1.06 blocks per set (17th-best freshman in the NCAA).
With 804 total assists and 11 double-doubles on the 2022 season thus far, sophomore Annalea Maeder has surpassed her stellar freshman campaign with rooms to spare, in which she led the Bears with 701 assists and 8 double-doubles. Maeder is also one of the Bears' best servers, having posted 41 aces (3rd Pac-12) to just 20 errors. 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) and posted 51 assists against UCLA (Nov. 10). Cal volleyball's lone international student-athlete is also a star in the classroom, intending to major 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.
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.
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