Bears Face Another Week Of Pac-12 Challenges

Cal To Host Colorado, Utah
By Cal Athletics on Mon, October 07, 2013

Wednesday, Oct. 9
7:30 p.m. PT - Colorado (11-3, 3-1 Pac-12) at Cal (9-4, 2-2)
Haas Pavilion - Berkeley, Calif.
Coverage: Pac-12 Networks, Live Stats, Twitter
Cal All-Time Series vs. the Buffaloes: 3-2
Last meeting: W, 3-2 (9-22-2012)

Sunday, Oct. 13
7 p.m. PT - Utah (13-3, 2-2) at Cal
Haas Pavilion - Berkeley, Calif.
Coverage: Pac-12 Networks, Live Stats, Twitter
Cal All-Time Series vs. the Utes: 6-3
Last meeting: W, 3-2 (11-19-2012)

BERKELEY - Fresh off an encouraging weekend in Los Angeles, the Cal women’s volleyball team continues Pac-12 play this week at Haas Pavilion with challenging matches against Colorado and Utah. The Bears, who registered a road sweep of then-No. 16 UCLA last Friday followed by a narrow five-set loss at then-No. 2 USC on Sunday, will look to make some headway in the Pac-12 standings beginning Wednesday against the Buffaloes. Colorado, which knocked off then-No. 1 Washington last week, meets Cal at 7:30 p.m. The Bears then host Utah on Sunday at 7 p.m.

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 doing the honors on Sunday. Real-time live stats are also available on 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.

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.

This Week At Haas Pavilion
All children 17 and under will be admitted free to Wednesday’s match against Colorado. It will also be the Bears’ first Dig Pink match off the season. All fans wearing pink can purchase tickets for $3 at the Haas Pavilion Ticket Booth. Sunday will be another Dig Pink match with the same $3 ticket offer. Also, all fans will receive a pink ribbon courtesy of Colleges Against Cancer. Finally, Cal head coach Rich Feller will hold a “Chalk Talk” session Sunday beginning at 6:15 p.m. in the Haas Pavilion Club Room in which he will preview the match against Utah.

Catching Up With The Bears
The Bears came ever-so-close to pulling off what would have been an impressive road sweep of the Los Angeles schools last weekend. First, Cal recorded its first ever three-set sweep at Pauley Pavilion, beating then-No. 16 UCLA. Then, the Bears stretched then-No. 2 USC to the limit before falling in five sets. Junior opposite hitter Christina Higgins tallied 33 kills during the two matches with a .424 hitting percentage.

Higgins Does It The Right Way
Christina Higgins moved from outside hitter to the right side this season, and she is thriving in her new role. The junior from Inglewood, Calif. is averaging 3.21 kills per set and has a .321 hitting percentage. Higgins is coming off arguably the best weekend of her career. In the Bears’ win against UCLA, she had 18 kills and hit .500. She had 15 kills and hit .345 in the five-set loss at USC, including three kills in a row that helped tie the fifth set up at 13-13.

Feller Nears 600-Win Mark
Cal head coach Rich Feller needs just nine wins to become the 17th active coach and 28th ever in Division I history to reach the career 600-win mark. Feller, who is in his 15th season leading the Bears, has amassed a career record of 591-324 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’s Barry Goldberg and Sam Houston State’s Brenda Gray each reached the 600-win mark earlier this season.

Gehan Greatness
Senior outside hitter Adrienne Gehan is an early-season contender for Pac-12 Player of the Year honors. The senior from Dallas, Texas ranks third in the conference and 22nd nationally with 4.33 kills per set and is hitting a respectable .273. Gehan also averages 3.02 digs per set and has been one of the Bears’ primary passers in an offense hitting .290, which is 13th in the country. Gehan was named tournament MVP of the Cal Molten Classic and the Bluejay Invitational.

Latest on Lara
Sophomore Lara Vukasovic is embracing her new role as a middle blocker. Entering the week, Vukasovic ranks seventh in the Pac-12 with a .387 hitting percentage and is averaging 2.43 kills and 1.07 blocks per set. 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 half of the season. She has quarterbacked an offense that ranks 13th in the nation with a .290 hitting percentage and averages 11.73 assists per set, good for third in the Pac-12 and ninth 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.

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 13th in the country and fourth in the Pac-12 with a .290 hitting percentage. Senior setter Joan Caloiaro is running a precise offense and Cal’s hitters are benefitting. Middle blocker Lara Vukasovic is seventh in the conference with a .387 hitting percentage.

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 Colorado
• The Buffaloes received 53 votes in this week’s AVCA Top 25, putting them at No. 30 nationally.
• Colorado defeated then-No. 1 Washington last week in four sets.
• Senior middle blocker Nikki Lindow ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with 1.30 blocks per set.
• Junior outside hitter Taylor Simpson ranks eighth in the Pac-12 with 3.68 kills per set.
• Colorado was picked to finish in 10th place in the preseason Pac-12 Coaches Poll.

About Utah
• The Utes have split their first four Pac-12 matches, defeating Colorado and Washington State while falling to USC and Washington.
• Utah ranks third in the conference and 12th in the nation with 2.83 blocks per set.
• Middle blockers Erin Redd-Brandon and Bailey Bateman both are among the Pac-12 leaders in blocks. Redd-Brandon ranks second at 1.38 blocks per set while Bateman is seventh at 1.23.
• The Utes were picked to finish ninth in the preseason Pac-12 Coaches Poll.

Next Week
The Bears go back on the road to visit the Pacific Northwest. First, Cal has a showdown at No. 6 Washington on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The Bears then visit Washington State on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Washington match will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.

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 during the season, the senior from Dallas, Texas will provide an inside look at everything going on with the program. 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 On Pac-12 Leader Board
Hitting Percentage: Lara Vukasovic - .387 (Seventh)
Kills per set: Adrienne Gehan - 4.33 (Third)
Assists per set: Joan Caloiaro - 11.73 (Third)
Digs per set: Maddy Kerr - 3.29 (Tenth)

The Cal Leader Board
Hitting Percentage: Lara Vukasovic - .387
Kills: Adrienne Gehan - 195 (4.33/set)
Assists: Joan Caloiaro - 516 (11.73/set)
Blocks: Lara Vukasovic - 47 (1.07/set)
Digs: Maddy Kerr - 148 (3.29/set)
Service Aces: Joan Caloiaro - 13 (0.30/set)

Inside The Locker Room
Tune in every Wednesday to “Inside the Locker Room,” the new weekly radio show on AM KGO 810 from 7-8 p.m. The program features a weekly appearance by football coach Sonny Dykes and includes interviews from other athletes and coaches from around Cal Athletics. The show is hosted by Todd McKim.



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