Complete Weekly Release
Wednesday, Sept. 19
7 p.m. PT- Cal at No. 6 Stanford
Maples Pavilion - Palo Alto, Calif.
Coverage: Pac-12 Network, GameTracker, Twitter, Facebook
All-Time Series vs. the Cardinal: 12-62
Last Meeting: W, 3-1 (11-25-11)
Saturday, Sept. 22
6 p.m. PT- Cal at Colorado
Coors Event Center - Boulder, Colo.
Coverage: GameTracker, Twitter, Facebook
All-Time Series vs. the Buffaloes: 2-2
Last Meeting: W, 3-1 (11/5/11)
BERKELEY - With the nonconference season in the rear view mirror, Cal opens Pac-12 Conference play this week with road matches at No. 6 Stanford on Wednesday and Colorado on Saturday. Wednesday's match airs on the Pac-12 Network. This marks the third time in the past five years the Bears have commenced conference play against their archrival. Cal has won each of its past four Pac-12 openers with its last loss coming to Stanford in 2007. The Bears have won four in a row over Stanford overall and six of the past eight meetings between the teams. Cal beat Colorado last season in the first conference meeting ever between the schools.
Cal split its final two nonconference matches of the season, defeating Saint Mary's in four sets at Haas Pavilion before going on the road and falling to USF. It marked the second time the Bears have lost to the Dons this season. Before this year, Cal had won all 36 previous meetings between the teams. Opposite Correy Johnson continues to be a consistent offensive threat when she is on the floor. The senior has been in and out of the lineup this season because of a stress reaction in her leg. She played both matches over the weekend and finished with 16 kills against the Gaels, one short of matching her career-high she set earlier this season against Hawaii. Johnson also led the Bears with eight kills against USF.
The Bears have been hit hard by the injury bug this season. Starting opposite Correy Johnson has played in just four of Cal's 10 matches and one set of another because of a stress reaction in her leg. Potential starting outside hitter Michelle Neumayr injured her ACL for the second time during preseason 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 Cal's matches this week will be provided via the live stats links on the CalBears.com website. 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.
Mary Digs College Volleyball
With Robin Rostratter unable to play because of a groin injury, freshman Mary McKennon has taken over the starting libero duties and has sparkled so far. McKennon was in the starting lineup in her first collegiate match and has played every set this season. McKennon is one of the Bears' primary passers and enters the week ranked fifth in the Pac-12 at 3.95 digs per game. She has led Cal in digs in five of the 10 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 tied for ninth in the Pac-12 with 1.26 blocks per set. She registered seven blocks over the weekend to give her 48 on the season and pass Carli Lloyd for fifth place on Cal's all-time list with 403.
Hawari Comes On
Senior middle hitter Shannon Hawari continues to be Cal's most efficient offensive player, leading the team with a .335 hitting percentage. She had nine kills and hit .421 in Friday's win over Saint Mary's. Hawari is averaging 2.29 kills per set.
Bears Unranked For First Time Since 2002
Cal fell out of the AVCA Coaches Poll on Sept. 3, 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 the Sept. 3 rankings. The Bears received 12 votes this week, putting them at No. 34 nationally. There are five Pac-12 teams ranked in the top-10 this week, including Nos. 1 and 2 with UCLA and USC.
The Cardinal is 8-2 with losses to ranked teams in Hawaii and Penn State.
Stanford has produced a balanced offense so far this season. The Cardinal has five players averaging at least 2.00 kills per set but nobody in the top-10 in kills in the Pac-12.
Junior middle hitter Carly Wopat leads the Pac-12 with 1.59 blocks per set.
The Cardinal has three players in the Pac-12 leaders in hitting percentage - sophomore outside hitter Morgan Boukather (2nd, .436), junior middle hitter Carly Wopat (4th, .407) and freshman middle hitter Inky Ajanaku (10th, .374).
Stanford features the No. 1 freshman class in the nation, according to PrepVolleyball.com. Four of the Cardinal's five freshman - setter Madi Bugg, outside hitters Jordan Burgess and Brittany Howard, and middle hitter Inky Ajanaku - have started every match so far this season.
The Buffaloes have tied the third-best start in school history with a 10-2 record. Two more wins will match their second-best start ever.
Colorado was picked to finish 12th in the preseason Pac-12 coaches poll.
Junior middle hitter Nikki Lindow ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with an average of 1.49 blocks per set.
Freshman setter Nicole Edelman is fourth in the Pac-12 with 0.39 aces per set.
Sophomore opposite Kelsey English ranks ninth in the Pac-12 with a .381 hitting percentage.
Next Week on the Court
The Bears remain on the road for matches at Arizona State and Arizona. Cal visits the Sun Devils on Friday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. and then travels to face off against the Wildcats on Sunday, Sept. 30 at 11:30 a.m. Both matches will be televised by the Pac-12 Network. The Arizona match will mark the end of a five-match road trip for the Bears.
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 fifth 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
Cal Sports Report
Catch the Cal Sports Report every week on CalBears.com. Todd McKim and Chelsea Brown recap the week in Cal athletics with interviews, features and highlights.
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 will appear as a guest on the Monday, Sept. 24 show while selected players will join the program throughout the season. Senior opposite Correy Johnson and senior middle hitter Kat Brown have already been guests this 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.
A Golden Olympics
A total of 46 Golden Bear athletes, coaches and staff members represented Cal during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and together, they brought home a school-record-tying 17 medals (11 gold, 1 silver, 5 bronze). The Bears have won 50 medals over the past three Olympics (16 in 2004, 17 in 2008, 17 in 2012), and they have captured 178 medals all-time (99 gold).
Cal No. 1 Public University
The University of California is the No. 1-ranked public university in the United States, according to U.S. News and World Report. The faculty has won 22 Nobel Prizes, including nine current members, while 28 alumni have received a Nobel Prize. A National Research Council analysis of U.S. universities concluded that the campus has the largest number of highly ranked graduate programs in the country (48 of 52). Cal also has a long commitment to public service, with more than 4,000 students annually doing volunteer work and more than 3,000 Peace Corps participants all-time.