Volleyball Readies For SoCal Attack





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Despite all the warm weather this week, there will be a storm tonight and tomorrow. It will come from the south, and it will hit hard.

The Cal volleyball team (5-3, 1-1 in the Pac-10) will face No. 7 UCLA (7-3, 2-0 in the Pac-10) tonight and No. 6 USC (7-0, 2-0 in the Pac-10) tomorrow. Both games will be in the Recreational Sports Facility Field House and will begin at 7 p.m.

The Bruins and the Trojans have been raining down kills on their opponents so far this season, and it will take quite an effort for Cal to beat them.

"We're gonna have to play flawless volleyball to beat them," Cal head coach Rich Feller said. "Every opportunity we have to score we'll have to take advantage of."

This has been a problem for Cal so far this season. In the last week, the Bears have played three five-game matches, totalling nearly nine hours of play. In contrast, USC's longest game this season has been 90 minutes.

"To beat these teams, we need consistent execution on our side of the net," Cal assistant coach Lee Maes said. "If we can do our job as a team, we can compete with these teams."

The numbers would say otherwise. UCLA has beaten the Bears everytime they have played in Pac-10 games. The Bruins' 36-0 record against Cal dates back to 1980 when the teams first met.

The Trojans currently have a 21-game win streak that includes several victories over nationally ranked teams.

"It's going to be tough," Cal sophomore Reena Pardiwala said. "But it's a challenge we aspire to."

The Bears have been challenged and succeeded enough times in the past week to make some people think that they have a chance at victory this weekend.

The Bears battled back from a 0-2 deficit against San Jose State Tuesday night to force a fifth game. Even when Cal lost the second game 0-15, they turned to the squad's leaders to carry the team.

Senior Alicia Perry led the charge with her usual impressive output. Perry tallied 26 kills and 19 digs, most of which were at critical times in the last three games.

That sort of effort is going to be key in this weekend's games. But it may be the addition of freshman Heather Diers to the rotation that could give the Bears the boost they will need.

Diers had 6 kills and 5 assisted blocks coming off the bench last Tuesday.

"Heather has been playing well," Maes said. "She's earned herself time on the floor by what she's done in matches."

To give Diers and the other middle blockers more scoring opportunities, the Bears have adjusted their defense. The middles will not be responsible for passing, giving them the freedom to roam the front line.

Unfortunately, Cal has only had two days to implement this new adjustment, which may not have been enough time to prepare for the oncoming national powerhouses.

"These midweek matches really break up the Pac-10 routine," Feller said. "It's tough to play Tuesday and then prepare for Friday. It just seemed like not enough time."

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