Nov. 15, 2010
BERKELEY - The fourth-ranked California volleyball team has a chance to pull ahead in the race for the Pac-10 title as the Golden Bears host No. 2 Stanford in the 72nd Big Spike. Cal matched its program record for single-season conference wins (13) last weekend and now has the opportunity to secure the best record in school history as well. The Bears have not swept the season series over the Cardinal in 31 years; since a pair of wins in 1979. Cal has already completed season sweeps against Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington, and Washington State, and has its sights set on knocking off the four-time defending league champions. The Bears get to finish the regular season with three matches at Haas Pavilion, where they have dropped just six sets all year en route to an 11-1 record. Cal continues to post high offensive marks as the third-best attacking team in the country (.312) thanks to senior setter Carli Lloyd who averages 11.60 assists per set to rank 13th in the nation. The Bears also benefit from having the top two blockers in the conference in sophomore middle hitters Kat Brown (1.38 bps) and Shannon Hawari (1.17 bps). Junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey is still putting up stellar numbers with 5.21 kills per set and 5.79 points per set.
THE FACTS: The No. 4-ranked California volleyball team (23-2, 13-2 Pac-10) hosts its rival, No. 2 Stanford (22-2, 13-2 Pac-10), in the 72nd Big Spike on Friday, Nov. 19, at Haas Pavilion. First serve is set for 7 p.m. PT. Fox Sports Net will be on hand to produce a tape-delayed broadcast of the match.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: Fox Sports Net will produce a broadcast of the Big Spike for tape-delayed broadcast. Paul Sunderland will provide the play call and Holly McPeak will be on hand to give color commentary. Cal Media Relations will provide a fan-interactive live chat during the match as well, hosted by student-assistant Jarrod Davis. All of Cal's home matches at Haas Pavilion will feature live stats on Gametracker and a free live web video stream featuring the live call of former libero Kristen Kathan. Fans can also receive set-score updates and a behind-the-scenes look at the Bears by following @CalVolleyball on Twitter - twitter.com/calvolleyball, or by "Liking" the Cal volleyball Facebook page - facebook.com/calvolleyball.
FOR THE RECORD: The 2010 California volleyball record book is available for viewing and download through the CalBears.com volleyball home page. Search the links box for the 2010 season to get the entire historical perspective on Cal volleyball.
MEAGAN'S MONDAY MINUTE: Senior defensive specialist Meagan Schmitt hosts a special 60-second video segment each Monday this fall as a Facebook exclusive feature of the Cal volleyball team. The Kentfield, Calif. native will have one minute to talk to fans about what she has been up to, what's coming up on the Cal schedule, and to answer questions posed by fans through Facebook and Twitter.
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Fans and media can purchase Cal volleyball photos at GoldenBearSports.com, the official photographer of Cal Athletics. Follow @GBSports on Twitter to get instant notifications when new albums and galleries are posted to the website. Visit www.twitter.com/gbsports to follow.
CAL SPORTS REPORT: Tune in to Comcast SportsNet California to get the latest on Cal athletics on the Cal Sports Report. The one-hour show hosted by Cal sportscasters, Todd McKim and Francesca Weems, now features an HD quality broadcast and premiered on Wednesday, Sept. 1. Additional airdates include Sept. 8, 15, 22 and 29; Oct. 6, 13, 20 and 27; Nov. 3, 10, 17 and 24; and Dec. 1. Please check your local listings for times and availability.
BEARS ON THE AIR: Fans can tune in to KNEW 910 on their AM radio dials each Monday at 6 p.m. PT, for the new Cal Coaches Corner radio show hosted by Todd McKim. The one-hour show will feature guest coaches and athletes from all of Cal's 27 intercollegiate athletics teams. Head coach Rich Feller had the honor of being on the inaugural broadcast of the show on Aug. 30, 2010. Junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey was the special guest on Sept. 27. Feller and senior setter Carli Lloyd appeared together on the Nov. 15 edition of the show.
THIS WEEK IN CAL ATHLETICS: Cal fans can now point their web browsers to CalBears.com every Tuesday for a new weekly video segment called This Week in Cal Athletics, hosted by women's water polo sophomore Chelsea Brown. The weekly news brief previews upcoming events at Cal and features special interviews with coaches and student-athletes.
LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS AWARD: Senior setter Carli Lloyd is one of ten finalists for the inaugural Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for volleyball. Her selection was based on notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Finalists were chosen by a media committee from a list of 30 candidates. Nationwide fan voting will be used to help determine the winner and fans are encouraged to vote via the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award website through November 23. Fan votes will be combined with media and coaches votes to determine the winner. Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the winner during the 2010 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship in Kansas City, Mo., in mid-December.
TWO-HAND TOUCH: Senior setter Carli Lloyd has 5,311 career assists and became just the second Cal player to break the 5,000-assist plateau with her second assist at Stanford on Oct. 22. She is 467 shy of eclipsing Cal's long-standing record of 5,777 by Samantha Carter (2003-06). She moved into the ninth in the Pac-10 for all-time career assists on Oct. 8, in a match against UCLA and is also just the ninth Pac-10 player to break the 5,000-assist threshold.
1,000-KILL CLUB: Junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey's sixth kill in Cal's Nov. 5 match against USC was her 1,000th career kill. She became the 14th player in Cal history to cross the 1K plateau and has moved into 11th all-time at Cal with 1,075 career kills. 2009 Pac-10 Player of the Year Hana Cutura reached 1,000 kills in 2008 and went on to finish as Cal's all-time leading kills leader with 2,004.
1,000-DIG CLUB: Senior setter Carli Lloyd needs just 10 digs to reach 1,000 in her career. Only 12 other Bears have recorded more than 1,000 career digs. Lloyd would become just the third setter to achieve the mark. Holly McPeak ranks sixth on Cal's all-time lists (1,184) and Sienna Curci is 12th (1,121) as the only two setters currently with more than 1,000 career digs. Libero Jillian Davis tops all Bears with 1,810 career digs from 2003-06.
LET'S GO STREAKING: The Bears recorded the second-longest winning streak in school history from Aug. 27-Oct. 8, 2010. Cal started the season with a 3-0 sweep of UC Santa Barbara and reeled off wins in its next 15 matches while dropping just three sets. The streak was also the second-best start to the season in program history; in fact, the Bears were victors in their first 24 consecutive sets. The 15-match run was completed by a four-set victory over a No. 12-ranked UCLA squad at Pauley Pavilion on Oct. 8. Eighth-ranked USC pushed the Bears to five sets before snapping the impressive streak with a 17-15 win in the fifth, on Oct. 9.
LUCKY SEVENS: As the No. 4-ranked team in the country, Cal is one of seven Pac-10 teams to rank in the latest AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 poll (Nov. 15, 2010). Four-time defending league champion Stanford tops all teams at No. 2. The Bears are next at No. 4. USC checks in at No. 6 with UCLA at No. 10 to give the conference four teams in the top 10 alone; each from the state of California. Washington comes in at No. 11 with Arizona at No. 22, and Oregon at No. 23.
LLOYD AND MURREY RECEIVE PAC-10 WEEKLY HONORS: Senior setter Carli Lloyd and junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey each received Pac-10 Player of the Week honors this season, to make three consecutive years in which Cal has won the award at least twice. Murrey received the nod for the week of Sept. 27-Oct. 3 after she led the Bears to two wins over Oregon and Oregon State to secure the second-longest winning streak in school history. Lloyd was selected for the week of Oct. 18-24 after she engineered a four-set victory over Stanford. The two Bears pushed Cal's total for Pac-10 Player of the Week certificates to 28 overall.
LAST WEEK'S COURT REPORT: The Bears showed their resiliency as they battled back from dropping the first set at Washington to earn a four-set victory before sweeping Washington State on the road. It was the first time since 2003 that Cal had swept the season series over the Huskies and the first time since the same year that the Bears swept the season series over both Washington schools in the same season. Senior setter Carli Lloyd willed the Bears to their come-from-behind win with her seventh double-double of the season as she logged 37 assists and 18 digs to go with four kills and five blocks. Junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey led all players with a 23-kill performance--including eight in the final set--and 10 digs of her own. After the Huskies posted a .619 hitting percentage in the opening set to win, 25-15, the Cal defense adjusted to make the necessary stops and help the Bears outpace the UW attack, .216 to .212. Cal put up a .483 hitting percentage against the Cougars to push its record to 23-0 when the Bears log a better attack rate than their opponent. Murrey led the way once more with 16 kills, but it was sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari who hurt WSU the most with her 12 kills on 16 attacks without an error (.750).
NO. 2 STANFORD NOTES: The Cardinal (22-2, 13-2 Pac-10) enters the Big Spike as winners of its last six matches. The last time Stanford lost was in four sets at the hands of the Bears on Oct. 22. During its six-match streak, the Cardinal has dropped just three sets and has beaten four teams ranked in the top 20. Stanford boasts one of the most offensively potent squads in the league and around the country. Its .321 hitting percentage is the best in the nation and its league-leading assists per set (14.26 aps) and kills per set (15.06 kps) are third and fifth in the country, respectively. The Cardinal also ranks second in the Pac-10 in digs (15.42 dps) and is fourth in blocks (2.45 bps) and opponent hitting percentage (.174). About the only thing Stanford doesn't do well is serve aces. The team ranks ninth in the conference with a 1.08 saps average. Three-time Pac-10 Player of the Week senior outside hitter Alix Klineman leads the league and ranks second in the nation in kills (5.55 kps) and points (6.18 pps). Klineman is also the highest-ranked outside hitter in the Pac-10 for hitting percentage (.375). In league matches, she has raised her efficiency to 5.93 kps and a .378 attack rate. Senior libero Gabi Ailes is second in the conference in digs (4.69 dps). Senior utility Cassidy Lichtman is 10th in the Pac-10 with 8.46 assists per set. Sophomore opposite hitter Hayley Spelman ranks eighth in hitting percentage (.336) and junior middle hitter Stephanie Browne is seventh in blocks (1.13 bps). The Cardinal leads the all-time series over the Bears, 62-9, but Cal has split the season series in each of the last two seasons. The Bears will have a chance to sweep the season series for the first time since 1979 when the teams meet in the 72nd Big Spike on Friday, Nov. 19.
SELECT COMPANY: The Bears are one of just four teams to have advanced as far as the NCAA regional championship match in each of the last three years. The other three squads that can claim such a feat are Nebraska, Texas and three-time defending NCAA champion Penn State. In addition, Cal is one of six teams that has advance to the NCAA regional semifinal in each of the last four years (2006-09). Among the other programs to accomplish the same are volleyball powerhouses Florida and Stanford as well as Nebraska, Texas and Penn State.
RECORD RECALL: Setter Carli Lloyd has 5,331 career assists and is 467 shy of eclipsing Cal's long-standing record of 5,777 by Samantha Carter (2003-06). She is just the second Bear to reach 5,000 career assists; the ninth player in Pac-10 history. She moved into the ninth in the conference for all-time career assists on Oct. 8, in a match against UCLA, and crossed the 5,000-assist mark in a four-set win over Stanford on Oct. 22. Several Cal records were broken in 2009. The most notable of newly minted records is the all-time leader for career kills. Outside hitter Hana Cutura surpassed 20-year record holder Tiffany Rochelle (1986-89) for most career kills during a five-set victory at Washington on Nov. 7, and finished with 2,004 in her career. Cutura became the first player in Cal history to surpass the 2,000-kill plateau and was the fifth player in Pac-10 history to do so. She also completed her career in third place at Cal for career attacks with 4,642 and in seventh place for career service aces with 113. Perhaps the most impressive record that Cutura achieved was to reach sixth place in career hitting percentage at Cal. She is the highest ranking outside hitter on the esteemed career ladder with a .269 career mark. Libero Kristen Kathan moved into third place in career digs with 1,486 and middle hitter Mindi Wiley entered the all-time career blocks leaders ladder with 332 for ninth on Cal's all-time record.
BEARS IN THE PAC-10 RANKS: The Bears lead the Pac-10 in blocking (3.02 bps) and rank second in hitting percentage (.312), opponent hitting percentage (.170), and kills (14.41 kps). Cal is third in assists (13.56 aps) and is eighth in both digs (13.49 dps) and service aces (1.08 saps). Junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey is second in the conference in kills (5.21 kps) and points (5.79 pps); and ranks 10th in hitting percentage (.331). She is one of just two outside hitters in the conference's top ten for hitting percentage and is one of three Cal players in the top ten. A duo of sophomore middle hitters also occupy spots in the top 10 for hitting percentage. Shannon Hawari is second in the league at .411 with Kat Brown in fifth (.385). Brown leads the conference in blocks (1.38 bps) with Hawari right behind her in second at 1.17 bps. Senior setter Carli Lloyd is also a top-ten blocker with 1.05 bps and ranks fourth in the conference with 11.60 assists per set. Sophomore defensive specialist Robin Rostratter ranks fourth in service aces (0.29 saps) and is seventh in digs (3.78 dps).
NATIONALLY SPEAKING: The Bears hold several distinguished statistical positions nationally. The Bears are third in the country in hitting percentage (.312) and in blocks (3.02 bps), ninth in assists (13.56 aps) and 12th in kills (14.41 kps). Among nationally notable individuals, junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey ranks third in kills (5.21 kps) and fourth in points (5.79 pps). Sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari is ninth in the nation in hitting percentage (.411). Sophomore middle hitter Kat Brown is 13th in blocks (1.38 bps) and 26th in hitting percentage (.385) and senior setter Carli Lloyd ranks 13th in assists (11.60 aps).
ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: Several Bears collected all-tournament team honors in preseason tournaments this season. Junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey was named the most valuable player at both of Cal's home tournaments: the 2010 Cal Molten Classic and the 2010 Hilton Garden Inn Classic. Senior setter Carli Lloyd and sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari joined Murrey on each of those all-tournament teams. Sophomore opposite hitter Correy Johnson earned a spot on the Molten Classic team while freshman outside hitter Adrienne Gehan was selected to the Hilton Garden Inn Classic team.
WELCOME TO THE BLOCK PARTY: The Bears lead the Pac-10 and rank second in the nation in blocks per set (3.02 bps). Three players rank in the league's top 10 for blocks; sophomore middle hitter Kat Brown (1.38 bps) is first in the conference and 13th in the country. Sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari (1.17 bps) is just a shade behind Brown, in second in the Pac-10. Senior setter Carli Lloyd is third on the team and 10th in the conference with 1.05 bps. Lloyd rose to seventh in all-time career blocks (362) at Cal this season and is the current active leader for career blocks in the Pac-10. With 112 blocks this season, Brown is poised to break into the top ten single-season record at Cal for blocks. Middle hitter Mindi Wiley's 123-block performance in 2008 currently ranks 10th. Wiley had 126 blocks in 2009 to rank ninth.
POCKET ACES: Sophomore defensive specialist Robin Rostratter leads the Bears in service aces (0.29 saps) and ranks fourth in the Pac-10 Conference. She has 25 aces through 87 sets and registered one match in which she had three. Junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey has logged 16 aces for second on the team and senior defensive specialist Meagan Schmitt has 14. Senior setter Carli Lloyd logged three aces against UCLA and now has 13 on the year. Her 77 career aces are good for eighth among active Pac-10 leaders.
EARLY EFFICIENCY: At the conclusion of non-league matches, the Bears led the nation in hitting percentage (.362). As a team, Cal registered 451 kills on 928 attacks (115e) in 31 sets of action. Sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari appeared in 24 of those sets to log 65 kills (6e) on 106 attempts to lead the nation in hitting percentage as an individual (.557).
LONELY OUTSIDER: Junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey is one of just two outside hitters in the Pac-10 to rank among the league's top 10 players for hitting percentage. Murrey currently ranks 10th with a .331 attack rate (453k, 116e, 1017att). She is joined on that top-10 list by two Cal sophomores. Middle hitter Shannon Hawari is second in the league (.411), and middle Kat Brown ranks fifth (.385).
BEARS IN TV LAND: Cal was featured on a tape-delayed television broadcast in its five-set win over UCLA on Nov. 6 this season. Fox Sports Net will also carry Cal's home match against Stanford (Nov. 19). Paul Sunderland will provide the play-by-play call with Holly McPeak alongside for color commentary. Please check your local listings for channel lineups and availability.
RUNNIN' WITH THE PAC: Cal competes in what is undeniably the toughest conference in women's collegiate volleyball--the Pacific-10. The conference has captured five of the last nine NCAA titles and holds 13 volleyball national championships overall. The Pac-10 has had 10 or more AVCA All-American selections in each of the last five years and boasts a group of coaches with over 200 years of combined head-coaching experience. A conference-record eight Pac-10 teams held rankings for the first time in 2009. This season, a record seven Pac-10 teams were ranked in the top 20 in the preseason AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll. Defending champion Stanford ranked the highest at No. 4, with Washington coming in at No. 8. USC earned the No. 10 ranking with Cal right behind it at No. 11. UCLA checked in at No. 16 with Arizona at No. 18 and Oregon rounding out the seven-team slate at No. 20.
TEXAS TWO-STEP TWO: For the eighth consecutive season, the Cal roster features at least two players from the great state of Texas. This time, the Bears have four players from the Lone Star State. Redshirt sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari (Plano, Texas) and sophomore setter Elly Barrett (Austin, Texas) were joined by a pair of highly-touted freshmen outside hitters; Adrienne Gehan (Dallas) and Lauren Loerch (Georgetown, Texas).
CROSSON' THE PASS: The Bears welcomed a new assistant coach to the staff in 2010. Sam Crosson came across the Diablo Pass from Saint Mary's College (Moraga, Calif.) to join head coach Rich Feller and assistant coach Chris Bigelow. Crosson helped lead the Gaels to their second consecutive 20-win season in 2009 as SMC posted the second-best record in program history at 23-5. Saint Mary's logged a perfect 13-0 mark at home and set new school records with an 11-match winning streak and a 13-1 record in West Coast Conference matches to net the program's first-ever WCC title. The Gaels made their fifth appearance in the NCAA tournament and nearly took out Pac-10 champion Stanford in the second round. Crosson has also been an assistant at Santa Clara and at the University of the Pacific. He played at Pacific from 1994-97.
QUICK REUNION: Assistant coach Sam Crosson and volunteer assistant coach Sydney Chute met their former team, Saint Mary's College, in a match on Saturday, Sept. 18, as a part of the Pac-10/WCC Challenge. Both Crosson and Chute had over five years of experience as coaches for the Gael program. The Bears prevailed in a 3-0 sweep of Saint Mary's to complete the non-conference schedule with a perfect 10-0 record.
DIG FOR THE CURE: During the month of October, Pac-10 volleyball teams joined forces to help raise awareness about breast cancer as a part of the national Dig for the Cure campaign. Cal volleyball held a special donation drive to benefit the Alta Bates Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center when it hosted Washington State on Friday, Oct. 15.
#1 | SETTING HER PLACE: In three seasons, senior setter Carli Lloyd has established herself as a force to be reckoned with. As a freshman, she completed her season just six assists shy of setting a new Cal single-season record as she posted 1,550 in 2007. In 2008, Lloyd continued to push boundaries by putting up 1,392 assists, as she earned the sixth best all-time single-season mark at Cal and placed third in the nation with her 12.00 aps average. With 5,311 career assists, Lloyd is second all-time at Cal and tops among active Pac-10 assist leaders. She also ranks ninth all-time in the conference for career assists.
#1 | HOME, HOME ON THE RANGE: Setter Carli Lloyd was quite literally raised in a barn. Her home in Bonsall, Calif. is named Three Bears Ranch just north of San Diego. Among the many animals on the ranch, Lloyd's pets include buffalo, horses, dogs, snakes, chinchillas, cows, and plenty of fish in a man-made pond that she helped dig out.
#1 | CALIFORNIA GLADIATOR: Two-time All-American setter Carli Lloyd credits her athleticism to the training she received from uncle and coach, Galen Tomlinson. Tomlinson--a former volleyball coach at Fallbrook Union High School--is better known in some circles as Turbo from the 1980's television series, "American Gladiators."
#1 | THREE-SET SWEEP: Senior setter Carli Lloyd cleaned up on the awards circuit after guiding the Bears to a four-set win over No. 2 Stanford on Oct. 22. Lloyd was selected as Cal's Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week to kick-start her week. At noon the same day, she was named the Pac-10's Player of the Week before she received the AVCA's Division I National Player of the Week award the next day. Lloyd put up 52 assists against the Cardinal and helped the Bears to a .347 hitting percentage in the victory. It was Lloyd's third conference weekly honor and the second time she received the national weekly award.
#2 | ROCKIN' ROBIN: Libero Robin Rostratter recorded seven service aces and put up 45 digs in 82 sets of play as a freshman in 2009. She has since assumed a starting role for the Bears as a sophomore. When she's not on the court, Rostratter rocks out to a variety of music; from Beyoncé to John Mayer and from Michael Bublé to T-Pain.
#2 | FULL COVERAGE: After suffering a concussion mid-way through her freshman season, sophomore libero Robin Rostratter donned a protective foam-padded helmet as a precautionary measure. Fully compliant with NCAA uniform regulations, the helmet has since become a part of her identity on the court and has made its way onto her regular game-day equipment checklist.
#2 | RADIO ROSTRATTER: Sophomore libero Robin Rostratter's older brother, Brett, is a senior at the University of Arizona. The elder Rostratter is the sports director for the Wildcat student radio station. Brett hosts his own shows where he interviews Arizona student-athletes and covers Wildcat sports. Robin intends to major in media studies with a minor in Spanish and hopes to enter the world of sports reporting as well.
#4 | LITTLE FIREBALL: As a youngster, junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and become a firefighter. Douglas Murrey played basketball for San Jose State and was selected in the ninth-round of the 1981 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. It was Murrey's mother Barbara whose athletic influence shows through Tarah however; she played volleyball for San Jose State in 1978-79.
#4 | FOOD FOR THOUGHT: While she's on the court, junior outside hitter Tarah Murrey is all business. When she's not, she spends a good portion of her time thinking about good food, looking for interesting food finds and making good food to eat. Food Network and Travel Channel are among her favorite television stops when she has time to sit back and watch. According to her father, Douglas Murrey, cuisine is his daughter's "second love" next to volleyball. According to Murrey, the best dish she can cook is apple-sausage pesto pasta.
#5 | MAKING THE A-LIST: Freshman outside hitter Adrienne Gehan's father, Glenn, was an Individual Medley All-American swimmer at USC in 1984, and while she hopes her own athleticism will net her All-America honors at Cal, another "A" ranks highly on her list of passions. Gehan is majoring in art history and hopes to one day become a museum director, a curator or a private collector of fine art.
#7 | HAWARIAN VACATION: Redshirt sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari didn't take any time off when she set a new Cal record for single season hitting percentage in 2008 as she posted a .387 mark with 113 kills on 230 attacks. She ranked fourth among Pac-10 players and also contributed to the Bears defensively with 64 blocks on her way to a selection to the 2008 Pac-10 All-Freshman team.
#7 | HAWP, SHKIP AND A JUMP: Just five matches into her second season, redshirt sophomore middle hitter Shannon Hawari suffered a full tear to her left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the first set of Cal's match against Hawai'i in Honolulu on Sept. 6. The 2008 Pac-10 All-freshman team selection has since returned to action and looks to do one better than her first year on court when she set a Cal record for single-season hitting percentage with a .387 attack rate (113k, 24e, 230att).
#8 | PART OF THEIR WORLD: Hailing from Orlando, Fla., the home of Disney World and Mickey Mouse, sophomore opposite Correy Johnson's favorite Disney character is Ariel from the Little Mermaid; partly because she has similarly red hair. Johnson wasted no time making her way to the court in her first season as she was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team. She posted 202 kills (78e, 474att) and a .262 attack percentage while adding 89 blocks. Johnson logged a career-high 15 kills (4e, 29att) and posted a .379 attack percentage in a match against USC on Oct. 2, 2009.
#9 | FEVER PITCH: Freshman defensive specialist Erin Freeman is one of many former multiple-sport athletes at Cal. She was a captain and helped lead the girl's varsity soccer team at Sir Francis Drake High School to the state semifinals as a senior. Off the competition field or court, she started a global initiative to fight malaria called Nothin' But Nets and served as the organization's co-president.
#10 | WAKEY, WAKEY; EGGS AND BAKEY: One of sophomore setter Elly Barrett's favorite pastimes is wakeboarding. She spent the summer prior to entering school at Berkeley serving as a counselor at a Christian wakeboard camp called Instead in Austin, Texas. The camp operates as a ministry of the Austin Ridge Bible Church.
#10 | CARE BEAR: Sophomore setter Elly Barrett serves as the social media director for the Berkeley Athletes in Action student-athlete Christian fellowship. The student-led ministry seeks to serve the Cal campus and the athletic department through actively seeking to know God better.
#11 | BROWNIE POINTS: Her second season on the squad has quickly made sophomore middle hitter Kat Brown one to watch. She leads the conference in blocks with 1.38 bps and ranks 13th in the nation. She logged the first 10-block performance by a Bear in a four-set victory at UCLA on Oct. 8, since middle hitter Ellen Orchard put up 11 on Oct. 27. 2007.
#11 | WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?: Sophomore middle hitter Kat Brown was a dual-sport athlete in high school as she excelled on both the volleyball and basketball courts. She was a four-year starter in both sports at St. Francis Central Coast Catholic High School. Her basketball coach was former Golden Bear point guard Kristin Iwanaga. Iwanaga helped Brown achieve school records in points, rebounds and blocked shots on her way to being named Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League MVP as a senior.
#13 | GOPHER GAFFEN: Sophomore middle hitter Tia Gaffen is the first Golden Bear to hail from the Gopher State. A native of Wayzata, Minn., Gaffen comes from a place better known as the "North Star State", "Bread and Butter State" and the "Land of 10,000 Lakes". In the end, Gaffen chose one bay over many lakes.
#24 | LAUREN'S LENS: Besides her talent on the volleyball court and the soccer field, freshman outside hitter Lauren Loerch spends much of her time behind the lens of a camera as an avid photographer. Her work in high school received awards and has been displayed in galleries.
#24 | LOERCH'S LEAP: Freshman outside hitter Lauren Loerch is the first player in Cal history to graduate high school early in order to matriculate in the spring. She arrived on the Berkeley campus in January 2010 but returned to her hometown of Georgetown, Texas, to walk in graduation ceremonies at Georgetown High School in June before returning to the Bay Area for summer workouts.
#44 | FAMILY TRACK RECORD: Senior defensive specialist Meagan Schmitt seems destined to be a Cal athlete. Both of her parents, Tom and Laura, attended Cal and were cross country and track and field athletes for the Bears. Her uncle, John Starrett also starred as a rower for the Bears. Schmitt's older brother, Jake, ran for the Cal track and field team but later transferred to and ran for Washington. Her younger sister, Caitlin, is attending UCLA this fall and will run for the Bruins.
GOING BACK TO CALI: Before each match, the Bears gather for a team huddle in which they chant "Going, going; back, back; to Cali, Cali!" Taken from the 1997 rap-hit Going Back To Cali by late Bad Boy Records rapper Notorious B.I.G., the chant is a reference to the great Golden State; the home of the Golden Bears.
BRAND NEW BEARS: The Bears signed four top-ranked recruits to the incoming 2011 freshman class. Among one of the top classes in the nation, Cal received commitments from outside hitter Christina Higgins (Harvard-Westlake HS/Inglewood, Calif.), outside hitter Michelle Neumayr (Burlingame HS/San Mateo, Calif.), setter/opposite hitter Lindsey Parrott (Bishop O'Dowd HS/Oakland, Calif.), and middle hitter Lillian Schonewise (Papillion-La Vista South HS/Papillion, Neb.).
PRESEASON POLL POSITIONS: Cal received the No. 11 ranking in the AVCA Division I Coaches' Top 25 Poll and was tabbed No. 9 in the Volleyball Magazine Top 20 Poll. The selection in the AVCA poll marks the 10th time in school history that the Bears have been ranked to open a season; the eighth since Rich Feller became head coach in 1999. Cal was ranked No. 6 at the start of 2009 and finished at No. 8. The Bears held the No. 5 ranking in 2008, No. 12 in 2007, No. 17 in 2006, No. 19 in 2005, No. 10 in 2004 and No. 24 in 2003. Cal's two other preseason rankings came in 1989 (No. 9) and 1983 (No. 12). Setting a program-best mark in 2007, the Bears finished the season in the No. 4 spot after reaching the NCAA national semifinal, where they fell 3-0 to eventual NCAA champion Penn State. Cal's highest regular season ranking was recorded several times in 2008 as the Bears reached No. 4 for several weeks. Since 1982, the Bears have been ranked in the weekly AVCA poll a total of 158 times.
2009 IN REVIEW: The Bears earned their school-record eighth consecutive berth into the NCAA tournament in 2009 and advanced to the NCAA regional semifinal for the fourth straight year. More notably, Cal made its third consecutive appearance in an NCAA regional final. Only three other teams have done the same in the last three years; Nebraska, Texas and three-time defending champion Penn State. Head coach Rich Feller logged his 200th win as Cal's leader with a 3-0 victory over Washington State on Oct. 10. A week later, while on the road at Oregon State, he recorded his 500th career win in a 3-0 sweep of the Beavers. Outside hitter Hana Cutura received Pac-10 Player of the Year honors and took home her third AVCA All-America certificate. Cutura left Cal as its all-time kills leader with 2,004. She is just the fifth player in Pac-10 history to break the 2,000-kill plateau. Setter Carli Lloyd, outside hitter Tarah Murrey and middle hitter Mindi Wiley each received all-conference honorable mention notice. Lloyd was later selected to the AVCA All-America second team for the second consecutive year. Opposite hitter Correy Johnson earned a spot on the Pac-10 All-Freshman team and was joined by middle hitter Kat Brown, who received All-Freshman honorable mention. Cutura, Lloyd, Murrey, Wiley and defensive specialists Kristen Kathan and Meagan Schmitt each earned conference all-academic honors.