Sept. 11, 2012
Friday, Sept. 14
7 p.m. PT- Cal vs. Saint Mary's
Haas Pavilion - Berkeley
Coverage: GameTracker, Live Video and Audio, Twitter, Facebook
Promotions: Chalk Talk with Rich Feller, Post-match Autographs
All-Time Series vs. the Gaels: 13-2
Last Meeting: W, 3-0 (9-18-10)
Saturday, Sept. 15
6:30 p.m. PT- Cal at USF
War Memorial Gym - San Francisco
Coverage: GameTracker, Twitter, Facebook
All-Time Series vs. the Dons: 36-1
Last Meeting: L, 3-2 (9/1/12)
BERKELEY - After a challenging first two weeks of the season, the Bears made their home debut last week and won the Cal Molten Classic championship at Haas Pavilion. Cal defeated Penn, UC Riverside and Northern Arizona to capture the crown. The Bears have won four matches in a row after a 1-3 start. Senior middle hitter Shannon Hawari was named the Most Valuable Player of the Cal Molten Classic while junior setter Joan Caloiaro was named to the All-Tournament team. Cal plays its final two nonconference matchups of the season this weekend, hosting Saint Mary's on Friday and traveling to USF on Saturday. The Dons registered their first victory ever over the Bears earlier this month at the Wahine Volleyball Classic in Honolulu.
Beginning at 6:10 p.m. Friday, Cal Coach Rich Feller will hold a "Chalk Talk" session in the Haas Pavilion Club Room in which he will preview that night's match against Saint Mary's and field questions from fans. Admission is free and open to all fans. Following the match, Cal's players will be available for autographs on the Haas Pavilion floor.
Cal Molten Classic Recap
The Bears only dropped one set in going 3-0 during the Cal Molten Classic. Cal defeated Penn and UC Riverside in sweeps then were taken to four sets before beating Northern Arizona. Shannon Hawari dominated the action the entire weekend, averaging 3.50 kills per set and hitting for a .370 percentage. She was named the tourney's Most Valuable Player. Junior setter Joan Caloiaro was named to the All-Tournament Team after sparking the Bears both offensively and defensively, averaging 10.8 assists and 4.6 digs per set. Freshman opposite Lara Vukasovic also made her presence felt with 2.30 kills per set, 0.5 blocks per set a .310 hitting percentage.
Hawari Comes on
With three potential starters out with injuries, the Bears have needed their stalwarts to be at their best. Senior middle hitter Shannon Hawari came up huge at the Cal Molten Classic, earning tournament MVP honors after averaging 3.50 kills and 0.90 blocks with a .370 hitting percentage. She had a career-high 10 block assists in the championship match against Northern Arizona. For the season, Hawari leads the Bears with a .345 hitting percentage. Among players who have played in at least half of Cal's matches, Hawari is second in kills per set with an average of 2.32. She is also second in blocks at 1.19 bps.
Junior setter Joan Caloiaro is turning into a fiery leader for the Bears. The transfer from USF is running a smooth offense and pitching in on the defensive side as well. Caloiaro ranks ninth in the Pac-12 with 8.93 assists per set and is second on the Bears in digs (3.17 dps). She's also contributing 0.52 blocks per set. Saturday's match will be a homecoming for Caloiario, who spent the first two seasons of her college career at USF before transferring to Cal this season. Caloiaro is also cousins with Olympic Beach Volleyball Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh.
Mary Digs College Volleyball
Freshman libero Mary McKennon has done a fine job playing in place of injured starter Robin Rostratter. McKennon is one of the Bears' primary passers and enters the week ranked sixth in the Pac-12 at 3.77 digs per game. She has led Cal in digs in four of the eight matches so far this season.
Senior middle hitter Kat Brown entered the season established as one of the top blockers in the conference and she has lived up to that billing so far. Brown is eighth in the Pac-12 with 1.32 blocks per set. With 41 blocks already this season, she has moved into sixth place on Cal's all-time list with 396 in her career. Brown needs three more blocks to pass Carli Lloyd and move into fifth place on the school's all-time list.
Gehan Great Against Lumberjacks
Junior outside hitter Adrienne Gehan arguably had her best match of the season in Cal's win over Northern Arizona. She tied her career-high with 21 kills and added 12 digs and two blocks. Gehan was especially big in the fourth and final set, registering eight kills and a block to help the Bears pull it out.
Bears Unranked For First Time Since 2002
Cal fell out of the AVCA Coaches Poll last week, marking the first time the Bears haven't been ranked since the final poll of the 2002 season. Cal was ranked No. 24 in the 2003 preseason poll and stayed in the rankings every week until last week. The Bears received 39 votes this week, putting them at No. 32 nationally. There are five Pac-12 teams ranked in the top-10 this week. Nebraska remains at No. 1.
The Bears have been hit hard by the injury bug this season. Starting opposite Correy Johnson has played in just two matches and one set of another because of a stress reaction in her leg. She didn't play at all during the Cal Molten Classic. Potential starting outside hitter Michelle Neumayr injured her ACL for the second time during preseaosn practices and is out for the season. Starting libero Robin Rostratter (groin) and middle hitter Lillian Schonewise (shoulder) have yet to play this season.
Welcome to Cal. ...Now Get on the Court!
Cal's injuries have resulted in a lot of inexperience on the court, and three freshmen are getting a lot of playing time because of it. Libero Mary McKennon and outside hitter Nikki Gombar have played in every set this season, while opposite Lara Vukasovic has started six matches.
Following the Bears From Afar
Live statistics for all of Cal's matches this week will be provided via the live stats links on the CalBears.com website. Live video and audio are also available for Friday's match. Fans can receive regular in-match updates and a behind-the-scenes look at the Bears by following Cal Volleyball on Twitter and by "Liking" the Cal Volleyball Facebook page.
About Saint Mary's
The Gaels are 5-4, but all four of their losses are against ranked teams.
Friday's match will be Saint Mary's' 10th in a row on the road to start the season.
The last time the Gaels defeated the Bears was in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2004.
Saint Mary's has three players averaging at least three kills per set - Kristina Graven (3.29), Gabby Jolly (3.11) and Lauren Corp (3.07).
The Dons enter the week with a 7-3 record and play two matches before hosting the Bears. USF travels to UC Davis on Tuesday and hosts No. 7 Stanford on Friday.
After losing all 36 matches it had ever played against Cal, USF finally registered its first win ever over the Bears with a five-set victory at the Hawaii Tournament earlier this month.
The Dons won their own tournament last weekend, defeating LIU Brooklyn, La Salle and Cal State Northridge.
Next Week on the Court
The Bears being Pac-12 Conference play with a pair of road matches. Cal commences the beginning of conference play with an immediate showdown against rival Stanford, which is ranked seventh in this week's AVCA Coaches Poll. The match will be televised by the Pac-12 Network. The Bears then travel to the Rocky Mountains to pay a visit to Colorado.
Cal Picked 6th in the Pac-12
The Pac-12 Conference coaches picked the Bears to finish sixth in the annual preseason poll with 77 points. Cal was tabbed to place second in 2010 and ended up sharing the conference title and advancing to the NCAA title match. Defending national champion UCLA was picked to win this year's conference crown, collecting 10 first-place votes and 120 total points. Stanford earned the other two first-place votes and was selected to finish second.
Recapping the 2011 Season
Cal went 26-7, 16-6 in the Pac-12 Conference (third place)
Advanced to 10th straight NCAA Tournament, losing to North Carolina in the first round
Tarah Murrey was named AVCA Second Team All-American
Middle hitters Shannon Hawari and Kat Brown, opposite Correy Johnson and libero Robin Rostratter each were named Pac-12 honorable mention
Cal registered its eighth straight 20-win season
Bears Excel in Classroom
For the second consecutive year, Cal was recognized with the AVCA Team Academic Award. The honor is bestowed on teams that have a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 or better on a 4.0 scale or 4.10 on a 5.0 scale. Senior libero Robin Rostratter was named to the Pac-12 All-Academic first team.
Cal to Host NCAA Regionals
Cal has been selected as one of four sites to host the 2012 NCAA Regionals. The third and fourth rounds will be played at Haas Pavilion on Dec. 7-8. Fans can purchase tickets at the Haas Pavilion Athletic Ticket Office or by calling (800) GO-BEARS. Nebraska, Texas and Purdue are the other regional hosts. The NCAA championships will be held at the University of Louisville.
Fans can tune in to KNEW 910 on their AM radio dials each Monday at 6 p.m. PT, for the third year of the Cal Coaches Corner radio show hosted by Todd McKim. The one-hour show will feature guest coaches and athletes from all of Cal's 29 intercollegiate athletics teams. Head coach Rich Feller appeared on the show last week and selected players will be guest on the show later in the season.