June 20, 2012
BERKELEY - In the inaugural season of the Pac-12 Networks, fans will get a full serving of California volleyball with at least 14 of the Golden Bears' 30 matches set to be shown on television. Over the course of the season, Cal will take on nine teams that participated in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and play 14 matches within the friendly confines of Haas Pavilion.
"We can hardly wait to share Cal volleyball and Pac-12 volleyball with fans around the country thanks to the coverage provided by Pac-12 Enterprises," head coach Rich Feller said. "I'm very excited about this year's schedule."
The Bears kick the season off with a two-match tournament in San Diego on Aug. 25 - taking on Delaware and San Diego State - before traveling to Hawaii, which led the nation in attendance last year for the 17th consecutive season. In Honolulu, Cal takes on Baylor (Aug. 31), USF (Sept. 1) and the host Rainbow Wahine (Sept. 2).
"We're going to be tested right out of the gate, and I'm extremely excited about our first two tournaments on the road," Feller said. "SDSU and Delaware are two teams with good records and high RPIs that have been successful over the past several years. Baylor is a very good program as is San Francisco. Hawaii is always a very competitive match for us."
After two weekends on the road, Cal will play four matches over three days at Haas Pavilion. The Bears host Jiangsu, a Chinese club on Sept. 6 in what is slated to be the first Cal action on the Pac-12 Networks. That weekend, Cal welcomes UC Riverside, Northern Arizona and Penn for a six-match tournament on Sept. 7 and 8.
"Hosting the Chinese club team is going to be very excited because we don't know what they're like," Feller said. "We have some really great teams coming to our tournament. Playing those four matches over the three-day period allows us to get set before heading to Pac-12s."
Before opening the ever-competitive conference slate, Cal takes on fellow Bay Area teams - hosting Saint Mary's on Sept. 14 and heading across the bridge to play at San Francisco on Sept. 15. Pac-12 play begins Sept. 19 at Stanford in Cal's second Pac-12 Networks broadcast.
Following the trip to the Farm, the Bears will make stops in Boulder, Colo., Tempe, Ariz., and Tucson, Ariz., before hosting four straight matches - against Oregon, OSU, USC, UCLA - in Berkeley. From there, the Bears head to the Pacific Northwest for bouts with Washington and Washington, rounding out the first wave of Pac-12 play.
The Pac-12, being one of the most competitive conferences in the nation, touted seven teams that earned NCAA Tournament bids last year - Arizona, California, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington. Three of those teams were seeded in the top 16 nationally - No. 11 Stanford, No. 9 UCLA, and No. 7 USC. The Women of Troy, the 2011 Pac-12 Conference Champions, joined UCLA in representing the conference in the national semifinals
"The Pac-12 will be very competitive again," Feller said. "I'm thrilled with the level of play we'll see and that people will get a chance to see whether it's on regional TV or national broadcasts."
The Bears return 10 letterwinners from last year's squad and add the talents of Michelle Neumayr, who redshirted her true freshman year. Four freshmen will don the Blue & Gold this year along with transfer Joan Caloiaro. Season tickets will be on sale in early July. Check CalBears.com and the Bears' social media outlets - Facebook and Twitter - in the coming weeks for all your ticketing needs.
"Cal fans proved their continued support last season, and we're so thankful for it," Feller said. "We had more people at our games last year than any other year I've been here. We're very excited about treating our fans to great volleyball again this year and can't wait to see everyone at Haas Pavilion."
2012 Schedule Quick Hits
14 matches broadcast on Pac-12 Networks
13 of 20 conference matches shown on Pac-12 Networks
One exhibition with a Chinese club team
Nine 2011 NCAA Tournament participants - Delaware, Baylor, Hawaii, Stanford, Arizona, Oregon, USC, UCLA, Washington
Five opponents that progressed past the first round - Delaware, Hawaii, Stanford, USC, UCLA
One defending national champion (UCLA)
One semifinal participant (USC)
2012 Opponents at a Glance
After winning the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, Delaware beat American 3-1 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before losing 3-0 to defending national champion Penn State
Going 18-10 last year, San Diego State posted its highest number of victories since 2003
Last season, Baylor earned the program's fourth-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament and the second in the last three years and brings in the No. 16 freshman class
Hawaii lost just two matches last year, doing 2-1 in the NCAA Tournament before finishing the season ranked fifth in the country
Penn looks to build upon last season's success with 13 returning letterwinners
Riverside brings back All-Big West Conference first-team members Amanda Vialpando and Shelby LeDuff along with All-Freshman selection Megan Reza
Four starters (plus libero) and eight letterwinners return for 2012 after Northern Arizona opened 2011 on a 12-0 winning streak and equaled the most wins since 2000 with 15
Saint Mary's concluded last season on a serious high note - winning 11 of the Gaels' final 13 matches - and brings back every student-athlete from that roster for 2012
Ten members of Stanford's squad that made its 31st consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance last year are set to return for 2012
Colorado boasts the No. 19 recruiting class - marking the first time since 2003 that the Buffs have a freshman class ranked in the top 20
Arizona State returns Nora Tuioti-Mariner, who was a Pac-12 All-Freshman pick along with Stephanie Preach, who finished 2011 ranked first in the Pac-12 and 32nd in the country in digs per set (5.26)
Arizona participated in the NCAA Tournament last year and returns Madi Kingdon, who played in the U.S. Women's National A2 Team Program
Oregon made its fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament in the past six years last season
Oregon State brings back its three All-Pac-12 honorees along with Becky Defoe, who participated in the U.S. Women's National A2 Team Program
After losing in the national semifinals, USC will look to equal that success despite graduating three All-Americans with the help of five Trojans who were selected to participate in this summer's USA Volleyball Women's National A2 team program
Defending national champion UCLA looks poised for success with the fifth-best recruiting class in the country
Last year with its 12-20 record, Washington State earned six more wins than in all of the 2010 season and four more Pac-12 wins than the year before
Washington returns the 2011 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in Krista Vansant from the team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament
2011 Season Highlights
The Bears went 26-7 overall and 16-6 in the prestigious Pac-12 to finish third in the conference
Cal earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, making a program-record 15th trip
Both national polls ranked the Bears in the top 10 all season with Cal holding the No. 1 spot for four straight weeks, which was the highest polling in program history
The Bears beat five ranked teams - including two then-No. 2 teams in Stanford and Washington
Cal swept both matches against Stanford for the second consecutive season and the second time since 1979
Senior Tarah Murrey was named a second-team All-American and the Pac-12 Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year
The Bears earned eight Pac-12 player of the week laurels, bringing Cal's all-time total to 36
Kat Brown, Shannon Hawari, Correy Johnson and Robin Rostratter were all lauded as Pac-12 honorable mentions, while Christina Higgins made the all-freshman team
Seven Bears earned placement on the Pac-12 All-Academic Teams with Rostratter nabbing first-team status