Press Release courtesy of Cal Athletics
The Cal beach volleyball team takes a three-match winning streak into the Stanford Tournament, where the Golden Bears will have a busy weekend with four duals during a span of about 30 hours. Cal will play its first nationally ranked opponent of the season when it meets No. 18 Tulane on Saturday. The Bears have one undefeated pair so far this season, as freshmen, Mima Mirkovic and Alexia Inman have combined to go 4-0 with two matches at the No. 2 spot and two at No. 3.
The Bears have four freshmen in their regular playing rotation and they have all already made their impact on the program. Mima Mirkovic and Alexia Inman are 4-0 on the season, playing two matches at the No. 2 spot and two others at No. 3. Caroline Schafer is 3-1, going 2-0 last weekend with junior Mia Merino on the No. 4 pair and 1-1 at No. 4 with fellow freshman Maddie Micheletti. Micheletti, meanwhile, is also 3-1, having gone 2-0 last weekend at No. 5 playing with junior Grace Campbell.
MIRKOVIC BRINGS INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS TO CAL
Before freshman Mima Mirkovic even played a point for the Bears, she was already an accomplished beach volleyball player. Mirkovicwon back-to-back bronze medals as the FIVB World Championships in each of the past two years, taking third at the Under-19 championships in 2016 and repeating the feat last year at the Under-21 tournament.
The Bears won the Newmark Award for having the highest cumulative team GPA of any Cal athletic team for 2016-17 (3.396). Cal had four student-athletes earn Pac-12 All-Academic recognition last season, including a second consecutive first team nod for senior Teya Neff. Senior Bryce Bark earned honorable mention for the second straight season, and junior Grace Campbell earned the same honor as well. The Bears have had nine All-Academic selections during the first two years the Pac-12 has sponsored beach volleyball.
The Bears have two student-athletes who play for both Cal’s beach volleyball team and the indoor program – senior Jessica Gaffney and freshman Mima Mirkovic. Gaffney, who spent her first two collegiate seasons at USF, is part of Cal’s No. 1 pair along with sophomore Iya Lindahl after playing 16 matches on the top pair last year. She also made an impact on the indoor team, sharing time as the Bears’ starting libero last season while playing in every match as a defensive specialist as a junior. Mirkovic started every match as a freshman for the Bears’ indoor squad and tied for second on the team at 2.47 kills per set.
Sophomore Madison Dueck will be featured on CalBears.com throughout the season with a weekly blog called “Madi’s Moments.” Each week, the sophomore will take fans behind the scenes to report on all the happenings with Cal beach volleyball, on and off the sand. Dueck, a sophomore from Santa Cruz, is 3-1 so far this season while teaming with senior Bryce Bark on the No. 2 and No. 3 courts for the Golden Bears.
ABOUT BOISE STATE
• Stanford Tournament is the season-opener for the Broncos
• JR Sabryn Roberts went 7-1 on the No. 3 pair last season
• SR Maddi Osburn played on Broncos’ No. 1 pair last year
ABOUT ARIZONA STATE
• All four of Sun Devils’ losses have come to nationally ranked opponents
• ASU notched a road win over No. 14 TCU last weekend
• No. 3 pair Ellyson Lundberg/Katelyn Carballo is 5-1 on the season
ABOUT NO. 18 TULANE
• Has beaten No. 14 TCU and fell to No. 8 Cal Poly
• No. 1 pair Madeline Mertz/Kaylie McHugh was named to the Preseason All-CCSA Team
• McHugh was named to the All-CCSA Team and CCSA All-Freshman Team last year
ABOUT NO. SAN JOSE STATE
• Fell to Cal 3-1 last Friday at West Valley College
• No. 1 pair Nandyala Gama/Lyndi Scholl are 4-1 this season
• Spartans begin the week by playing at No. 14 Stanford on Wednesday