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Big Spike Part 2 Open Thread: Cal Volleyball vs. Stanford Cardinal in regular season finale

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Bears are on the wrong side of a 4 match streak right now. Can they defy the odds and snap this late slide, fueled largely by injuries/illness to key players, and get the most satisfying victory possible, a victory over Stanfurd in the away game of the Big Spike? GO BEARS!

How healthy will the Bears be for the Big Spike tonight?
How healthy will the Bears be for the Big Spike tonight?
Cal Volleyball Facebook

6 p.m. PT - Cal (17-11, 10-9 Pac-12) at No. 3 Stanford (23-5, 16-3 Pac-12)

Maples Pavilion - Stanford, Calif.
Coverage: Pac-12 Networks, Live Audio, Live Stats, Twitter: @CalVolleyball
Cal All-Time Series vs. the Cardinal: 12-65
Last meeting: L, 3-1 (9-25-2013)

It is very tough to win a match in the Pac-12 without a healthy roster. The Bears are learning this lesson the hard away with usual starters, Adrienne Gehan, Lara Vukasovic, and Michelle Neumayr all having miss at least a match in the last 3 matches of the recent slide. Senior and team's leading outside hitter Gehan is nursing an abdominal injury that had cause her to be ineffective in the Oregon loss that started this streak. Starting middle blocker who has been shifted to be an outside hitter missed the Washington State match and was rather ineffective in Cal's last match at Arizona State. Outside hitter Neumayr missed the ASU match with an illness causing defensive specialist Sarah Cole to be used as a starting outside hitter.

With the recent slide, the Bears have slipped from 4th place down to 5th in the conference. While a berth in the NCAA tournament starting next weekend is all but wrapped up regardless of the results, the Bears would obviously love to get a bit of momentum.

pac-12 Volleyball STANDINGS

Teams Conf Overall
WASHINGTON 17-2 25-2
STANFORD 16-3 23-5
USC 15-4 25-5
OREGON 11-8 18-11
CALIFORNIA 10-9 17-11
ARIZONA 9-10 19-12
COLORADO 9-10 17-12
ARIZONA STATE 8-11 19-12
UTAH 8-11 19-12
UCLA 6-13 15-14
WASHINGTON STATE 5-14 18-14
OREGON STATE 0-19 9-21

In the first meeting with 'Furd early in the year in Berkeley, the Bears were narrowly defeated by the Cardinal. Although the match only went 4, 'Furd actually felt really fortunate to escape Berkeley with a W, thanks in part to a controversial play late that went in 'Furd's favor. Although Stanfurd has shown to be a top 10 team in the country, the Bears have shown the ability to play against them when completely healthy.

Other than the most recent ASU match which was rather ugly (although the Bears did win 1 set), the Bears have remained competitive despite being undermanned. With basically zero pressure, it would be surprising if the Bears pushed No.3 'Furd tonight the same way that the Bears did against No.5 Washington last week.

By the way, Coach Rich Feller is still looking for this elusive 600th career victory. It would be particularly sweet if this milestone win comes against Cal's biggest rival. Stanfurd's coach Dunning just recently celebrated his 800th win last week.

Finally, Cal Volleyball has posted some videos from Senior Day (the Wazzu match last Sunday). Here is the one with everything:


GO BEARS! BEAT STANFURD!