Big Spike Highlights First Week Of Pac-12 Play

Bears Host Cardinal, Wildcats To Start Conference Season
By Cal Athletics on Mon, September 23, 2013
Wednesday, Sept. 25
7;30 p.m. PT - No. 7 Stanford (7-2) at Cal (7-2)
Haas Pavilion - Berkeley, Calif.
Coverage: Pac-12 Networks, Live Stats, Twitter
Cal All-Time Series vs. the Cardinal: 12-64
Last meeting: L, 3-0 (11-23-2012)

Friday, Sept. 27
8 p.m. PT - Arizona (10-2) at Cal
Haas Pavilion - Berkeley, Calif.
Coverage: Pac-12 Networks, Live Stats, Twitter
Cal All-Time Series vs. the Wildcats: 22-34
Last meeting: W, 3-0 (10-26-2012)

BERKELEY - The Cal women’s volleyball team gets into the meat part of its schedule this week with the opening of Pac-12 Conference play. It’s a tough assignment right from the start as the Bears host No. 7 Stanford in the annual “Big Spike” at Haas Pavilion on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Then on Friday, Cal welcomes Arizona to town for a 8 p.m. match. Both contests will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks.

Cal And The Pac-12
The Bears have finished in the upper half of the conference in nine of the past 10 years and have won at least 10 Pac-12 matches in eight of those seasons. In 2010, Cal won its first-ever Pac-12 championship and advanced to the NCAA title match. The Pac-12 has six teams ranked in this week’s AVCA Top 25, while the Bears are also receiving votes. Seven conference teams advanced to last year’s NCAA Tournament.

Big Spike History
The Cardinal leads the all-time series 64-12, but the rivalry has been much more competitive in recent years. Before last season, the Bears had won four in a row over Stanford and still have won six of the past 10 between the teams.

Probable Starters
No.    Name            Pos.    Ht.    Yr.    Hometown
12    Joan Caloiaro        S    5-11    Sr.    Saratoga, Calif.
5    Adrienne Gehan        OH    6-3    Sr.    Dallas, Texas
18    Michelle Neumayr    OH    6-1    So.    San Mateo, Calif.
23    Christina Higgins    OPP    6-2    Jr.    Inglewood, Calif.
1    Lillian Schonewise    MB    6-3    So.    Papillion, Neb.
4    Lara Vukasovic        MB    6-5    So.    Zagreb, Croatia
9    Maddy Kerr        L    5-7    Fr.    San Diego, Calif.

Following The Bears
Both of Cal’s matches this week will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks, with Anne Marie Anderson and Kelli Tennant providing the call on Wednesday and Anderson and Tammy Blackburn behind the microphones on Friday. Real-time live stats are also available by accessing the volleyball schedule page at

Social Studies
Follow the Bears through social media all season in a variety of ways. Real-time match updates, links and other content is available by following Cal Volleyball on Twitter. The Cal Volleyball Facebook Page also has extensive content about the team on and off the court. And join the Bears ride this season through a camera lens at the Cal Volleyball page on Instagram.

Catching Up With The Bears
Cal played just one match last week and was upset on the road by UC Davis in four sets.

Feller Nears 600-Win Mark
Cal head coach Rich Feller needs just 11 wins to become the 17th active coach and 28th ever to reach the 600-win mark in his career. Feller, who is in his 15th season leading the Bears, has amassed a career record of 589-322 in 29 years of coaching overall. Feller spent the first 14 years of his career as the head coach at Colorado State. Feller entered the season ranked 17th among active coaches in career wins. American University’s Barry Goldberg reached the 600-win mark last week with a win over Fresno State.

Pinpoint Passing Fuels Efficient Attack
Cal’s coaching staff placed an extra emphasis on passing during training camp, and it appears to be paying off. Pinpoint passing has been one of the primary reasons the Bears are ranked seventh in the country with a .317 hitting percentage. Senior setter Joan Caloiaro is running a precise offense and Cal’s hitters are benefitting. Middle blocker Lara Vukasovic is second in the conference and 19th in the nation with a .441 hitting percentage.

Gehan Greatness
If the Pac-12 Player of the Year was selected after the first four weeks of the season, outside hitter Adrienne Gehan would be right there in the mix. The senior from Dallas, Texas ranks third in the conference and 21st nationally with 4.30 kills per set and is hitting an impressive .327, one of the top marks in the nation among outside hitters. Gehan also averages 3.20 digs per set and has been one of the Bears’ primary passers in an offense hitting .317. Gehan was named tournament MVP in the Cal Molten Classic and the Bluejay Invitational. She was a Preseason All-Pac-12 Team selection this season.

Latest on Lara
Sophomore Lara Vukasovic is embracing her new role as a middle blocker. Entering the week, Vukasovic ranks second in the Pac-12 and 19th nationally with a .441 hitting percentage. Vukasovic was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Bluejay Invitational and Hilton Garden Inn Invitational.  Vukasovic was a part-time starter at both outside hitter and opposite hitter last season as a freshman.

Michelle Neumayr’s Long Road Back
Outside hitter Michelle Neumayr made her long-awaited college debut in the Bears’ season-opener against Nevada on Aug. 30 at the Cal Molten Classic. Neumayr, who was the No. 27 Senior Ace by at Burlingame High School, tore the ACL in her left knee the summer before her freshman year at Cal. Then after fully recovering, she tore the same ligament last summer. Two surgeries and hours of rehab later, Neumayr is finally on the floor for the first time at Cal. Neumayr was also selected as a team captain for the 2013 season, along with senior outside hitter Adrienne Gehan.

Cool Caloiaro
Senior setter Joan Caloiaro has been extremely efficient leading the Bears’ offense through the first two weeks of the season. She has quarterbacked an offense that ranks seventh in the nation with a .317 hitting percentage and averages 11.31 assists per set, good for third in the Pac-12 and 19th nationally. Caloiaro made a seamless transition leading Cal’s offense last season after transferring from San Francisco. She finished 2012 ranked fourth in the Pac-12 with 10.4 assists per set. Caloiaro has a notable volleyball family. Her cousin, Kerri Walsh, is a three-time Olympic gold medalist in beach volleyball.

Freshmen Class Ranked No. 21 Nationally
Cal’s six-member recruiting class features three “Fab 50” selections by Volleyball Magazine and was ranked as the No. 21 class  in the country by Not only were middle blocker Jenelle Jordan, setter Alyssa Jensen and libero Maddy Kerr named to the Fab 50 list, each also was tabbed as a “Senior Ace” by Defensive specialists Sarah Cole, Sabrina Blackwell and Katie Curci round out the 2013 recruiting class.

Bears Picked To Finish 7th In Preseason Poll
Cal was selected to finish in seventh place in the Pac-12 standings in a preseason vote among the conference’s coaches. The Bears received 59 points in the ballotting, six points behind sixth-place Arizona State and seven ahead of eighth-place Arizona. Stanford was chosen to win the conference championship.

About Stanford
• The Cardinal enters the week ranked No. 7 in the AVCA Top 25, with losses only to then-No. 6 Texas and then-No. 8 Florida this season.
• Stanford is the defending Pac-12 champion and has won six conference titles in the past seven years.
• The Cardinal was picked to repeat as Pac-12 champions in the preseason coaches poll.
• Two-time All-American Carly Wopat leads the Pac-12 and ranks third nationally with a .513 hitting percentage. She also is third in the conference with 1.36 blocks per set.

About Arizona
• The Wildcats have won 10 of their first 12 matches of the season, including capturing the Wildcat Classic last weekend at home.
• Junior Madi Kingdon ranks second in the Pac-12 and 15th nationally with 4.44 kills per set.
• Arizona was picked to finish 8th in the preseason coaches poll.

The Cal Leader Board
Hitting Percentage: Lara Vukasovic - .441
Kills: Adrienne Gehan - 129 (4.30/set)
Assists: Joan Caloiaro - 328 (11.3/set)
Blocks: Lillian Schonewise - 34 (1.17/set)
Digs: Maddy Kerr - 103 (3.43/set)
Service Aces: Joan Caloiaro - 10 (0.34/set)

Bears On Pac-12 Leader Board
Hitting Percentage: Lara Vukasovic - .441 (Second)
Kills per set: Adrienne Gehan - 4.30 (Third)
Assists per set: Joan Caloiaro - 11.31 (Third)
Digs per set: Maddy Kerr - 3.43 (Ninth)

Next Week
The Bears take their first Pac-12 road trip off the season to face two teams ranked in the top-11 this week. The Bears play at No. 11 UCLA on Friday night (6 p.m.) and then at No. 4 USC on Sunday at (1 p.m.) Both matches will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

Follow/Like Cal Volleyball? Get A Schedule Magnet
Fans who demonstrate they follow Cal Volleyball on Twitter or like Cal Volleyball on Facebook can receive a free schedule magnet at the Big Spike against Stanford on Wednesday. Fans simply have to show it on their mobile phones to qualify. Don’t have your phone with you? Simply sign up as a subscriber on Cal Volleyball’s E-news list and receive a magnet that way.

This Week’s Promotions
For Wednesday, the first 300 fans to enter Haas Pavilion will receive free popcorn. All Cal players also will be signing autographs after the match. Friday is Group Challenge Night, where the group that purchases the most tickets wins an exclusive experience. It also Youth Team Spotlight Night, where all youth teams in attendance will be recognized if they buy tickets in advance.

Diggin’ It With Adrienne Gehan
Go inside Cal’s volleyball program every week with Adrienne Gehan’s blog, “Diggin’ It With Adrienne Gehan,” on Every week, Gehan will provide an inside look at everything going on with the program, both on and off the court. From their on-court battles to the locker room to the classroom to road trips, Gehan, a senior outside hitter, will pull back the curtain to give fans a closer look at Cal’s volleyball program.

Bears To Get Plenty Of TV Exposure
Sixteen of Cal’s 20 conference matches will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks, including all 10 taking place at Haas Pavilion. Each of Cal’s first seven conference matches will be televised, beginning with Wednesday’s match against Stanford.


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