Matt McShane notched his first victories as the head coach of the Cal volleyball team on Saturday at the Molten Classic.
If the Bears continue their trend of improved serving during the first three matches of the season, he may get a few more.
Cal served up seven aces and held Loyola Chicago to a .108 hitting percentage, then followed up with seven more aces against Seattle in a pair of four-set victories at the Molten Classic at Haas Pavilion.
McShane got on the board with a 25-15, 25-23, 19-25, 25-17 over Loyola Chicago before the Bears put away Seattle 25-17, 23-25, 25-19, 25-22.
Freshman setter Isabel Potter recorded three aces against the Wranglers while junior Carmen Annevelink and senior Antzela Dempi added two apiece. Freshman Mima Mirkovic had three aces against the Redhawks and senior Christine Alftin added two. The Bears have 20 aces through the first three matches of the season.
“Antzela and Carmen have very tough serves, and that’s one-third of our serving,” McShane said. “Then there is some variety with the others. It’s difficult for the other team because they are constantly seeing different things.”
Dempi recorded a career-high four aces in Friday’s season-opening loss to UC Irvine and now has six for the season. She had just four aces in three yearscombined entering the season.
Annevelink, who saw limited playing time during her first two seasons at Cal, hadn’t attempted a serve before this season. She also had an ace against Seattle.
“(McShane) is letting Antzela and I try different serves,” Annevelink said. “He’s not getting on us if it goes out. He’s letting us get after our serve and hit it hard. It creates variety and mixes it up for the other team’s passers. It makes it a lot harder for them out there.”
Annevelink had 13 kills to lead the Bears against Loyola Chicago while freshman middle blocker Preslie Anderson added 10 kills and three blocks. Mirkovic had nine kills and 18 digs.
“When I get into the game, I’m trying to not think about it too much and just get after it,”Annevelink said. “I’m just trying to hit hard and play.”
Mirkovic had a dominating match against Seattle, registering 17 kills, nine digs, five assists and three aces. She was especially effective in the fourth set when the Bears erased a 15-8 lead to come back and win. Mirkovic had seven kills alone in the fourth set.
Annevelink added 12 kills against the Redhawks and senior Caihla Petiprin had five blocks.
McShane took over the program this season after Rich Feller retired following 18 seasons at Cal. McShane was Cal’s associate head coach last season and previously served as an assistant coach from 2005-09.
McShane was the head coach at Air Force from 2005-09.
“There’s going to be a lot more so it’s not like this one is that much more special than it is for (the freshmen),” McShane said. “It was the first win for a whole bunch of people. I think it’s good for the entire team.”
Dempi and Alftin were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Cal returns to Haas Pavilion next weekend when it hosts the Cal Classic against Dartmouth, Eastern Washington and Texas Tech.
Press Release courtesy of Cal Athletics.