To be the best, you have to beat the best — it’s as simple as that. Cal will be playing against the best this weekend with the hopes of proving it can compete with and beat the nation’s top teams.
Cal beach volleyball heads to Southern California for the second straight weekend to compete in the Pac-12 South Tournament. The Bears will then stay for an extra day for bouts with Long Beach State and Pepperdine to conclude three days of games.
It has been a Southern California tour thus far this season for a Cal beach volleyball team bringing back a lot of experience from their nationals run last season. The Bears’ veteran experience will join forces with a promising freshman class that has already made its presence felt this season. After the first week of the season, the Bears are 1-1 with its sole loss coming in a back-and-forth battle with No. 7 LMU.
This weekend, they are set to play a total of six games over the course of three days against excellent competition. The Pac-12 South Tournament features some of the best teams in the country. The field includes No. 1 UCLA, No. 4 USC and four other teams, including Cal, in the top 20 nationally. It will be a great tournament to showcase battles between the star-studded Pac-12.
The blue and gold will kick off the tournament against No. 4 USC. Historically a great program, the Trojans began their season 2-0 and are looking to add to that win total. It will be a great test for the No. 12 ranked Bears who have the ability to compete and win against any opponent.
The Bears are then slated to play Utah in a Saturday afternoon matchup. Utah had a disappointing campaign last season, and it has started this year 2-2 with no remarkable wins to its name. It is vital for Cal’s aspirations this season that it takes care of business against inferior teams like the Utes.
Sunday, the blue and gold open with a match against Oregon, another team that Cal should put away with ease. The Ducks have begun the season 1-3 and, like Utah, have not beaten any notable teams. Cal can then set its sights on Arizona for the conclusion of the Pac-12 South tournament on Sunday. Coming in at No. 17, the Wildcats are unbeaten this year and will be hungry to take down the Bears in a competitive ranked matchup.
Monday, the Bears travel from Los Angeles to Malibu for two more matches with Long Beach State and Pepperdine. Long Beach State currently sits at No. 14, even though it is winless on the year after coming up short in two battles against top-10 opponents. For No. 18 Pepperdine, this weekend will inaugurate its season, so the Waves will be vying to prove their worth. These games on Monday are against two more opponents in the top echelon of college beach volleyball and will be two more tests for Cal to prove that it belongs among the top teams in the nation.
The Bears have an incredibly talented roster this year that can compete with any team in the country. This weekend could have a lot of implications for standings later in the season, not to mention bragging rights within the Pac-12. If the blue and gold can come out with their best this weekend, they could catalyze a season where they challenge for the highest honors.