Heading into the weekend, the Bears crawl to Arizona for matches against the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Arizona Wildcats, aiming to re-enter the win column. The blue and gold, facing a six-game losing streak, hope to snap out of hibernation and snatch a much sought-after win.
Standing at 0-6 in Pac-12 play and 7-9 overall, Cal is looking for a way to reverse the trend. It’ll have a great chance to do so as both Arizona schools are dealing with losing streaks of their own.
After a 7-3 start to the year, Cal finds itself in a hole — one that is six consecutive losses deep. Its only task now seems to be climbing itself out and notching a first conference win.
First in line from the tandem of matchups is Arizona State. At a rough 8-10 themselves, the Sun Devils will be no easy test as they’re looking to snap their two-game losing streak.
Sophomore libero Jaden Ravnsborg leads ASU with 165 digs, while senior outside hitter, Iman Isanovic, carries the weight offensively with a team-leading 221 kills. The duo will provide for an interesting matchup for Cal’s juniors, the 6’2 opposite, Lydia Grote, and 5’5 libero, Tara DeSa, who have 216 kills and 241 digs, respectively.
The Bears have to pounce on the opportunity to win, as the Sun Devils are vulnerable, losing their two latest contests by a combined set score of one to six. As an opportunity to capitalize on a struggling team may arise, Cal will surely take every chance to seize it.
On the following Sunday, the Bears then trot to Tucson, AZ to meet the Wildcats.
The tougher opponent of the two, Arizona sits at 11-6 in overall action — but only a mere 1-5 in conference play.
Cal needs to muster up a game plan to contend with the Wildcats’ fifth-year middle blocker, Zyonna Fellows, who’s posted 77 blocks on the year, using her 6’4 height to her advantage. Fortunately for the Bears, middle blockers and freshman standouts Sophie Scott and Mikayla Hayden seem to take on challenges with ease, using their respective 6’3 and 6’1 frames to defend the net and earning 67 and 59 blocks for the season. The battle between the confident youth and the dominant veteran shall be something to look forward to.
Needless to say, Cal can earn a huge “feel-good” win with a solid performance against the Wildcats.
The blue and gold are in a completely different spot from where they started, as wins have been hard to come by. It’s been almost a month since Cal has last tasted victory, and the strength of its schedule doesn’t appear to be on its side.
Cal’s trip to Arizona is pivotal in regards to the team’s hopes of getting to above .500 on the season, sitting now at an uncomfortable .339. Currently at 7-9, dropping another match or two would be a tough feat to recover from.