Cal's Loftier Goals Clash With Losing History in L.A.

  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. What does it mean to the Cal volleyball team? Everything.

The Bears have turned heads all season and exceeded last year's win total weeks ago, but seem to be taking their six defeats this season, and particularly last week's 3-0 defeat to lowly Oregon State, more personally than all 18 of 2001.

"Our expectations are higher this year," Cal coach Rich Feller said. "We have set the bar at a certain point and we are yet to get over it."

Cal (15-6, 5-6 in the Pac-10) will get one of its most difficult attempts at clearing the bar this week when it takes on No. 18 UCLA and No. 1 USC in Los Angeles this weekend.

The Bears will have to do it without star outside hitter Mia Jerkov, who is still out with an ankle injury.

"The loss of Mia definitely changes the lineup," middle blocker Heather Diers said. "But this will give us an opportunity to show our depth."

Cal is tied with the Bruins (12-9, 5-6) in the Pac-10 and has a better overall record, yet hasn't cracked the top 25 while UCLA has been in the poll all year. The Bears also gave the Trojans (18-0, 11-0) their biggest scare of the year.

Cal could have a cause to gripe about the bias of the polls, if it weren't for its track record. The Bears are 0-43 against the Bruins all-time and have dropped 21 straight matches to the Trojans.

"The difference between Cal and UCLA is they have a history of success behind them and we are still learning how to be successful," Feller said.

When the Trojans and Bruins visited Haas Pavilion a month ago, they did not receive their typical welcome.

In the past, the Bears' in-state rivals would come to Berkeley with a victory already registered in their minds. But earlier this month Cal showed them they will not lie down anymore, playing both teams tough and coming within two points of defeating USC.

"After those matches, we proved to ourselves that we were good," Diers said.

Moral victories aside, the Bears still have a woeful track record to overcome. With the combined 0-64 streak against them, Cal may be asking itself what it needs to do to win.

"There is nothing we need to do strategically different than the last time we played these schools," outside hitter Leah Young said. "We got a chance to see what they can do, and we know we can beat them if we take care of things on our side."

The Bears displayed their depth over the past week. Jessica Zatica and Astrid Gonzalez have stepped in nicely, giving Cal a spark against St. Mary's and Oregon.

But now they play the top-ranked Trojans, who are, needless to say, much better than either the Gaels or the Ducks.

"They are very balanced and very big," Feller said. "They are the best team in the country, what more can I say."

Saturday, the Bears will move to Pauley Pavilion in hopes of ending the Bruins dominance in the battle of UCs.

"UCLA is a lot like us," Feller said. "They are still trying to find out what they can do."


Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Image McLachlan's win helps Cal advance
Riki McLachlan wasn't supposed to play singles in Saturday's second round...Read More»
Image Bears run by Utes, into the national final
For many Cal students, Saturday marked the end of their collegiate caree...Read More»
Image Bears fall short in first ever NCAA final
Battling furiously near the front of the cage, Stanford's Annika Dries re...Read More»
Image Cal dispatches Trojans, advances to round of 16
With the Cal women's tennis team needing one more win to clinch a v...Read More»
Image Tedford picks Maynard as the Bears' starting quart...
In recent years, Cal football coach Jeff Tedford has kept...Read More»
Image Bears drop weekend series in Corvallis
Sundays haven't been kind to Cal's starting pitchers lately. A week ago, O...Read More»
Right Arrow

Job Postings

White Space