After an underwhelming performance in Tucson this past weekend, the Bears look to regain their momentum as they travel to their very own backyard. Cal beach volleyball has a home game for the first time this season.
Alexa, play “Home” by Phillip Phillips.
You read it right, folks: The Bears are playing right at home this weekend at the Clark Kerr Sand Courts for a three-game set beginning Friday morning. This will be an excellent chance to get back on track after going 2-2 last weekend in front of some home crowds. This is Cal’s first and only home weekend this season, so it is important it makes the most of the home court advantage.
“It’s our only home game,” said grad transfer Ana Costa. “I’m feeling very excited and confident.”
The team begins Friday morning with a match against USF. The Dons come into the weekend with an abysmal 2-8 record, so the blue and gold should be able to make quick work of them. The other two matchups that are taking place this weekend in Bear territory are familiar foes for the Bears. They are playing No. 16 Long Beach State and UC Davis, both of whom the Bears have already seen.
The blue and gold have seen Davis twice already this season and Long Beach State just once, however, Cal was a perfect 3-0 in these games. As long as it performs the same way it did earlier in the season, it should have no problem achieving the same result against these two teams.
The level of competition will rise from the team’s first match against the Dons this weekend. As noted previously, Long Beach is the No. 16 team in the nation and the Aggies are on the cusp of the top 20, so these two will be no walk in the park. The No. 13 Bears will have to really focus in and bring their A-game in order to pick up the wins.
Another wrinkle to this weekend is the fact that the Bears could potentially be playing without fifth-year senior Mima Mirkovic — a singular part of the Bear’s fiery one pair. Mirkovic went down last weekend with an apparent injury and her status is in question for the upcoming matches. She brings a passion and intensity as well as leadership that will be sorely missed on the court if she’s unable to play this weekend.
If Mirkovic cannot suit up that will shift some pairings and lineups, most notably her usual partner. Costa. The Bears played all of Sunday’s matches last weekend without Mirkovic, so they will be a little familiar with some of the potential partnerships.
Worry is not an emotion representative of Cal beach volleyball, however, and the team is confident it can win with any of them in the lineup.
“(We) feel very confident, especially after the win against Oregon … If you’re coming in strong with the right mindset it doesn’t matter who you’re playing with or against, you’re gonna battle,” Costa said.
For the blue and gold to play at home is extremely exciting.
Cal will get to experience the home atmosphere, crowds and cheers for the only time this season. This weekend will already be special — as part of the festivities happening at home, there will be a sendoff for the graduating seniors.
What better way to make it even more special than by adding three more victories to the win column.