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Third-Seeded Bears Set For Pac-12 Championship

Apr 24, 2023

BERKELEY – The field is set for the 2023 Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Championship with third-seeded California (25-8) facing sixth-seeded Arizona State (11-11) in the first round Wednesday at 12 p.m. PT. The three-day, double-elimination tournament will take place at Stanford Beach Volleyball Stadium.
 
The Golden Bears' seeding ties the highest in program history; Cal was also the No. 3 seed in both 2018 and 2019. Last season, the Bears placed third in the tournament as the No. 4 seed despite suffering a first-round loss to Arizona. A first-round victory in this year's tournament would propel the Bears into the winner's bracket for the first time since 2018 where they would face the winner of the Wednesday morning match between No. 2 USC and No. 7 Arizona.
 
The Sun Devils come into the weekend having won three of their last four matches, including an impressive 3-2 win over No. 19 Arizona on the Wildcats' Senior Day. Cal swept ASU in the teams' only meeting of the season in early March.
 
Follow The Bears
Every match of the Pac-12 Championship will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks and live scoring will be available via CalBears.com.
 
Milestone Watch
Several Bears are nearing career milestones and program records as the 2023 season comes to a close. Sophomore Ella Dreibholz (49), junior Maya Gessner (48), senior Lexi McKeown (49), senior Ashley Delgado (44), and junior Ava Mann (45) are all approaching 50 career wins as individuals. Senior Ainsley Radell boasts 79 wins, which is just one away from ranking second all-time at Cal and five from breaking the all-time record. The pairs of Dreibholz and McKeown, and Radell and Delgado each have 27 victories, which is two short of ranking second all-time in program history.
 
As a team the Bears have tallied 25 wins on the season, one shy of tying the program record set last year. They currently hold the highest win percentage in program history as well at .757.
 
Cal Bookends Stanford Invite With Pair Of Wins
The Bears closed out the regular season last weekend by going 2-2 at the Stanford Invitational. They opened with a 4-1 win over Saint Mary's but then ran into trouble, dropping back-to-back 4-1 losses to No. 10 Stanford and No. 7 Grand Canyon, respectively. It was the first loss of the season to the rival Cardinal and ended a four-match Big Spike win streak that dated back to last season. The weekend ended on a high note with a 5-0 sweep over Pacific.
 
Radell and Delgado Named AVCA/CBVB National Pair of the Week
After an incredible outing at the Mustang Invitational earlier this month, Ainsley Radell and Ashley Delgado were named the AVCA/CBVB Pair of the Week
 
The captain duo became the first Golden Bear pair to earn the national honor after leading the team to a 4-0 record and posting a 4-0 record of its own..
 
Radell and Delgado started the weekend with three straight sweeps, including a court-one win over UC Davis and court-two wins over No. 13 Washington and No. 20 Tulane. They finished with a tight three-set win over the host Mustangs on court one.
 
Caffo and Waters-Leiga Named Pac-12 Pair of the Week
Junior Liz Waters-Leiga and sophomore Sierra Caffo were named the Pac-12 Pair of the Week last month after a solid showing at the Fight In The Fort at TCU.
Beginning the weekend on court two, Caffo and Waters-Leiga picked up a gritty 21-17, 30-28 win over No. 1 TCU. The pair then made its debut in the top spot, playing on court one for the rest of the weekend. Their first court-one win came against No. 15 Florida International 22-20, 22-24, 15-8 and they promptly picked up another, topping Missouri State 21-10, 21-15.
 
Big Spike Comeback
The Bears had a dramatic comeback win over No. 8 Stanford in their home opener in March. After falling behind 2-0 on the lower courts, Cal's top three pairings were forced to win out to capture the victory. The transfer pair of Liz Waters-Leiga and Sierra Caffo kept its team's hopes alive with its first court-two win of the season, and the team of Maya Gessner and Ella Dreibholz pulled out a three-set win on court three to tie the match. It would all come down to the senior duo of Ainsley Radell and Ashley Delgado. Playing in the top spot for the second time this season, the veterans didn't flinch, winning in straight sets to complete the reverse sweep. It was Cal's first win over a top-10 team this season and led to its highest AVCA ranking of the year at No. 9.
 
Nine In A Row
After dropping two of their first three matches to begin the season, including a heartbreaker to No. 4 USC, the Bears went on an incredible win streak of nine matches. The streak stretched from March 4-12 and featured six sweeps and four wins over ranked opponents. It finally came to an end on the final day of the Queen's Cup with a 3-2 loss to No. 9 Hawai'i.