Volleyball: Bears Play Two In Beaver State

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The Cal volleyball team has every reason to have a glass-half-empty attitude about the Pac-10, after going 3-18 in conference play in 2001.

This year, the Bears (9-1, 0-1 in the Pac-10) have found a way to shake their pessimistic views and negative memories of the past and have begun to look at things in a different light.

After a gut-wrenching loss to rival Stanford ended their nine-match winning streak, the Bears will pack their things for the fourth weekend in a row and head north as they prepare to face Oregon (11-5, 0-2) tonight at 7 p.m. and Oregon State (5-5, 0-2) Sunday at 7 p.m.

Although Stanford was a rival game, the crowds at the two Oregon schools may be even more unfriendly than those at The Farm.

"It's always a tough trip going to the Oregon schools," coach Rich Feller said. "It is especially tough because they get so much support from the students, who make the arena really loud."

Feller hopes that the amount of road matches that the Bears have had this season will serve to help his players, allowing them to keep their composure if the Ducks or the Beavers go on long rallies.

The Bears will first face Oregon in Eugene, Ore. Friday and then will travel to Corvallis, Ore. to take on Oregon State on Saturday.

In recent history it has been a tale of two teams when the Bears take on the teams the Beaver State.

Cal has a six-match winning streak over Oregon and has dropped four in a row to Oregon State, but a split won't be good enough his year.

"We are going up there to sweep," said defensive specialist Jenna Grigsby.

One would think after an emotionally draining match against the Cardinal, in which the team suffered through a turbulent roller coaster ride of ups and downs, that there may be a possibility of a letdown this weekend in Oregon.

But despite that loss, the Bears claim that the setback they had against Stanford will make them stronger.

"That loss (to Stanford) may help us more than hurt us," said Caity Noonan. "Now we know what it takes as we go into Oregon to try and take both games."

The Bears will try to wipe out the mistakes that cost them a chance to upset the Cardinal a week ago. Time after time Cal rallies were stymied by minor errors that proved to weigh heavily on the outcome of the match.

"We really need to cut down on unforced errors," says Camille Leffall. "That will be the key to our success this weekend and the rest of the season."

The Bears will try to clean up their lapses of concentration as they travel into hostile Pac-10 territory for the second week in a row, in hopes of playing more fundamentally sound volleyball.

This optimistic attitude by the Bears, which carried them to a 27-game, nine-match win streak to start out the season, may be exactly what they need to get back on track.

"We cannot worry about the old streak," said Noonan. "We need to just focus on the good things we were doing to gain that streak, and try to emulate those things."

The Bears will get their chance to start a new streak this weekend in Eugene and Corvallis.


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