Volleyball season is almost here! And practice has started for the defending Co-Pac-10 Champions. Fresh off their near title run, the Golden Bears seem poised to make another run at the title.
Although the Bears lost their best player in Carli Lloyd to graduation, they still retain six starters including Tarah Murrey and Correy Johnson, both of whom played in the USA Volleyball Open National Championships (for two separate teams). Murrey specifically will be the player to watch, finishing second in the conference both kills and points and earning All-American honors. She is the only senior on the roster. Johnson earned a spot on the Pac-10 All Freshmen team two years ago and is ready for her junior season.
More after the jump.
Of course they aren’t the only outstanding players on the team. We can expect to see Juniors Kat Brown, Shannon Hawari, and libero Robin Rostratter help lead the team to another great finish in the new but still very competitive Pac-12 conference. Rich Feller will be coaching his 13th season at Cal, and last year he won his first AVCA Coach of the Year title as well as his second Coach of the Year title from Volleyball Magazine. Why? Only coaching the Cal Bears to their first Pac-10 crown (although shared with Stanford), their first season sweep of Stanford since 1979, their ninth consecutive NCAA tournament berth where they fell one win short of a championship.
The Volleyball season kicks off Friday, August 26 at 7PM against UC Riverside. The conference schedule begins with an odd Tuesday game against Stanford in the Big Spike. Unlike basketball, the Pac-12 conference schedule has every team playing eachother twice, so there will be 18 conference games now hence the additional Tuesday game to squeeze in all 18 games. The Pac-12 has one of the biggest cases of parity in the NCAA, so expect every game to be a tight one. The rivalry games with UCLA and USC are on Halloween weekend (October 28 and 29) and Senior Day against Oregon State is scheduled on the same day as the Big Game on November 19th. The season finale is the Big Spike rematch at Stanford on November 25 and it will be an incredible game if the Pac-12 title is on the line. Full schedule here
Be sure to plan on going to the farm for the finale but if you can, buy season tickets for all the home games. It’s only $75 ($50 for Youth and Seniors) and you get a free T-shirt and access to a meet and greet. If you’re a student, your Cal ID grants you free admission to all the Volleyball games.
And stay on Golden Bear Lair for frequent coverage of Cal Volleyball!