Aug. 6, 2009
BERKELEY - The California volleyball team received the No. 6 ranking in the 2009 Volleyball Magazine preseason poll released on Thursday (Aug. 6). The Golden Bears ended 2008 holding the seventh spot and rose to as high as the No. 4 ranking with a 17-1 record at the time. Cal debuted at No. 9 in 2008.
At the top of the rankings is defending NCAA Champion Penn State, followed by Texas and Nebraska. The Bears are just one of six Pacific-10 Conference teams featured in the first top-20 poll of the fall. Three of those teams join Cal in the top six with Washington at No. 4 and Stanford at No. 5. UCLA checks in at No. 10 with USC just two steps back at No. 12. Oregon rounds out the six Pac-10 squads as the 14th-ranked team.
The Bears will face teams ranked in the preseason poll in 13 matches this season including No. 2 Texas in their fourth match of the year. Cal takes on the second-ranked Longhorns on Thursday, Sept. 3, in Honolulu as a part of the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. Two nights later, the Bears draw a No. 17-ranked Saint Louis team before completing the tournament with a match against the host, No. 7-ranked Hawaii.
Cal returns two All-Americans from a year ago including two-time selection senior outside hitter Hana Cutura. Junior setter Carli Lloyd received second-team All-America honors and All-Pac-10 recognition a year ago. The Bears also bring back plenty of firepower via starting senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley and two 2008 Pac-10 All-Freshman selections in sophomores Tarah Murrey and Shannon Hawari. The Bears posted the best record in school history a year ago finishing with a 26-7 overall record and advancing to the NCAA Regional Final for the second year in a row.
Cal opens fall practices on Monday, Aug. 10 and kicks off the 2009 season with the Nevada Marriott Courtyard/Fairfield Invitational in Reno, Nev. Aug. 28-30. For information about tickets to home matches, please visit www.CalBears.com.
2009 Volleyball Magazine Preseason Poll
1. Penn State
Others Receiving Votes: Purdue, Pepperdine, Cal Poly, Kansas State, Kentucky, Long Beach State, Wisconsin, Colorado State, Louisville, Texas A&M, Duke