Cal Hits Road For First Time This Season At Rice Invitational

  0 volleymob | September 06th, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12

The Cal volleyball team makes its first road trip of the 2017 season this weekend when it travels to Houston for the Rice Invitational. The Bears will be making their first trip to the Lone Star State since it played in a tournament at Texas State in 2005. Cal has never faced two teams in this weekend’s tournament – Incarnate Word and Lousiana. The Bears and Rice have met once in history, with the Owls winning at home in four sets in 1994.

Cal vs. Incarnate Word
Friday, Sept. 8 | 10:30 AM PT | Tudor Fieldhouse | Houston, Texas

Cal vs. Rice
Friday, Sept. 8 | 5 PM PT | Tudor Fieldhouse | Houston, Texas

Cal vs. Louisiana
Saturday, Sept. 9 | 9 AM PT | Tudor Fieldhouse | Houston, Texas

The Bears are visiting Houston during an extremely challenging time for the local community in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and the team’s thoughts are with all those who were affected by the devastating disaster. Conference USA created a relief fund that directly assists Rice student-athletes. Fans can contribute by clicking here.

The Bears went undefeated at last weekend’s Cal Classic at Haas Pavilion, sweeping Dartmouth and Eastern Washington while defeating Texas Tech in four sets. Senior Antzela Dempi continued her eye-opening play to start the season, earning Cal Classic MVP honors after averaging 3.60 kills per set at a whopping .477 hitting percentage, while also pitching in with 0.60 aces per set and 0.7 blocks per set. Junior Carmen Annevelink also impressed, averaging 3.20 kills per set while hitting .315. She was named to the Cal Classic All-Tournament Team.

The Bears are 5-1 for the first time since 2014, winning five in a row after dropping their season-opener to UC Irvine. Cal had a streak of 10 straight sets won before losing the third set to Texas Tech on Saturday night. A win over Incarnate Word on Friday morning would give the Bears their best start since going 7-0 to begin the 2013 season. Defense and serving have been keys to the Bears’ early-season success. Cal ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in opponent hitting percentage (.143) and aces per set (1.45).

Senior Antzela Dempi has been a revelation on the right side so far this season, ranking fifth in the Pac-12 in hitting percentage (.397) and second in aces (0.55/set). Dempi was named to the Molten Classic All-Tournament Team and then took MVP honors at the Cal Classic last weekend. Dempi had played sparingly throughout her career before this season, getting into just three matches last season.

Matt McShane made his debut as Cal’s head coach at the Molten Classic and notched his first victory with the Golden Bears when Cal defeated Loyola Chicago. McShane took over the program in May following the retirement of Rich Feller after 18 seasons. McShane served as Feller’s associate head coach in 2016 and previously was an assistant on the Cal staff from 2005-09. In between, McShane was the head coach at Air Force for six seasons.

• First six matches of the season were cancelled because of Hurricane Harvey
• Went 1-2 last weekend at the Cougar Challenge at Washington State
• JR Autumn Lockey leads the Cardinals attack at 2.82 kills per set
 LAST MEETING: Teams have never met

• Were forced to stay on the road for 10 days because of Hurricane Harvey
• Stayed in Waco, Texas last week in between road trips
• FR Nicole Lennon ranks fifth in Conference USA at 3.80 kills per set
 LAST MEETING: Rice d. Cal 3-1 (9-10-94)

• Setter Jessica Bartczyszyn is the reigning Sun Belt Conference Setter of the Week
• Ragin Cajuns rank second in the Sun Belt in blocking (2.82 blocks per set)
• SO Dree’Ana Abram and JR Nia Antoine rank in the top-5 in the Sun Belt in blocks per set
 LAST MEETING: Teams have never met

Press Release courtesy of Cal Athletics.

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