BERKELEY – The 2014 Cal volleyball schedule is highlighted by 18 matches against teams that qualified for the 2013 NCAA Tournament as well as the annual Cal Molten Classic at Haas Pavilion.
Thirteen of the Bears’ matches will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.
The season begins Aug. 29-31 at the Air Force Tournament in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Bears open play against Southern Illinois on Friday, Aug. 29 before taking on Winthrop on Saturday, Aug. 30. Cal closes out the tournament on Sunday, Aug. 31 against host Air Force.
The Bears will be back on the road the following weekend for the New Mexico State Tournament, which will feature two opponents that played in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Cal will play North Dakota State on Friday, Sept. 5 before playing two matches on Saturday, Sept. 6 – against 2013 NCAA Tournament participant Radford as well as Grambling State. The Bears will finish the tournament on Sunday, Sept. 7 with a match against host New Mexico State, which also qualified for last year’s postseason.
Cal will make its first appearance at Haas Pavilion for the Cal Molten Classic on Sept. 12-13. The Bears will play Pacific on Friday, .Sept. 12 and then take on Nevada and UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, Sept. 13. UCSB was a 2013 NCAA Tournament participant.
Cal will close out the nonconference schedule with a East Bay showdown at Saint Mary’s on Thursday, Sept. 19.
The Bears will play their first four Pac-12 Conference games in the Bay Area, as they open play at Stanford on Tuesday, Sept. 23 on the Pac-12 Networks. Cal will then play three straight matches at Haas Pavilion, beginning with 2013 Final Four participant Washington on Friday, Sept. 26. That match also will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.
Cal will remain home the following weekend and welcome the Oregon schools to town. The Bears face Oregon State on Friday, Oct. 3 and Oregon on Sunday, Oct. 5.
Other highlights of the Bears’ schedule include annual showdowns with USC and UCLA on Wednesday, Oct. 22 and Sunday, Oct. 26, as well as the regular season-finale against Stanford on Friday, Nov. 28.
A conference record nine Pac-12 teams played in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
The Bears return three starters plus a libero from last year’s team that went 18-12 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It marked the 12th season in a row Cal has qualified for the postseason. Leading the way is senior opposite hitter Christina Higgins, who was an AVCA Second Team All-American in 2013. Libero Maddy Kerr was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team last season.
The 2014 Bears also welcome the nation’s No. 9 recruiting class, according to PrepVolleyball.com. That includes outside hitter Ashten Smith-Gooden, the country’s No. 5 recruit overall.