Press Release courtesy of Cal Athletics
The Cal beach volleyball team comes roaring into a pair of tri-meets this week at the Clark Kerr Sand Courts, carrying a seven-match win streak that has catapulted the Bears into the national rankings. Cal has dropped just three matches in its past seven duals, having recorded four shutouts along the way. The Bears’ all-freshmen pair of Mima Mirkovic and Alexia Inman have been especially hot, compiling an 8-0 record so far this season while dropping just a singular set along the way. Mirkovic and Inman began the season as Cal’s No. 3 pair but have moved up the team hierarchy and have played on the Bears’ No. 1 court in each of the past four matches.
BEARS BACK IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
After spending much of the past two seasons in the national polls, Cal re-entered the rankings this week in both the AVCA Collegiate Beach Coaches Poll and the DiG Magazine poll. Buoyed by a dominant 5-0 victory over No. 18 Tulane, the Bears are ranked No. 16 by DiG Magazine and No. 19 by the AVCA. Cal finished last season ranked No. 20 nationally.
CAL DOMINATES AT STANFORD
The Bears put on a show at the Stanford Tournament last weekend, winning all four of their duals and dropping just one match along the way. The highlight was a 5-0 blanking of No. 18 Tulane in which Cal lost just one set. The Bears also won every set against Boise State and San Jose State.
FRESHMEN MAKE IMPACT
The Bears have four freshmen in their regular playing rotation and they have all already made their impact on the program. The all-freshmem pair of Mima Mirkovic and Alexia Inman have been dominant so far, going 8-0 and dropping just one set along the way. They started the season as Cal’s No. 3 pair but have played the past four duals at No. 1. Freshman Caroline Schafer is 7-1, having gone 6-0 with partner Mia Merino on the No. 4 pair and 1-1 with fellow freshman Maddie Micheletti, also at No. 4. Micheletti, meanwhile, is also 7-1, having gone 6-0 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.
ABOUT SAC STATE
• SR Kennedy Kurtz and JR Brie Gathright form the Hornets’ top pair
• SR Brigitte Murdock and FR Cianna Andrews are 2-1 as the No. 5 pair
• Hornets are 2-6 all-time against Cal, including a four-match losing streak
ABOUT SAINT MARY’S
• Opened the season with a win over Cal – the Bears only loss of the year
• Only loss came 5-0 on the road against No. 15 Stanford
• 4-5 all-time against Cal, including a current three-match win streak
ABOUT SAN JOSE STATE
• No. 1 pair Nandyala Gama-Lyndi Scholl is 6-4, including a 1-1 record against Cal
• Spartans are coming off a 4-1 win over Portland on Monday
• SJSU is 3-6 all-time against Cal, and has lost the last three
• Top pair Katrin Gotterba-Alex Holt are 7-2 this season
• Fell to Cal 4-1 on Feb. 24, with Gotterba-Holt notching only win
• Tigers are 2-3 all-time vs. Cal, having lost the past three