10 games in and the Bears remain undefeated. Threatening this flawless record is a familiar nemesis — the stage is set, fans are ready and pressure is high.
Entering conference play, Cal will take on No. 5 Stanford. The two Bay Area rivals will clash in Haas Pavilion on Tuesday evening. This classic matchup dates back to 1979 — the last time the blue and gold were able to conquer the Cardinal was 2021.
The Bears are entering conference play looking healthy, holding the No. 2 position in the Pac-12 after a dominant preseason. And although Stanford ranks seventh in conference after preseason play, the team is ranked fifth in the nation by the NCAA.
Having already taken down top programs including reigning national champion Texas Longhorns, Rice, Ohio State and Minnesota, Stanford has been battle-tested.
Standout Cardinal players include Kendall Kipp and Elia Rubin, who lead the team with 91 kills each already in the 2023 season. Rubin, known for her powerful and strategically positioned hits, is sure to put a dent in a blue and gold block.
Kami Miner, another star player on the Stanford side, will surely test the Bears’ defense. Not only quick on her feet, but also a quick thinker, Miner is consistently able to slip in easy points with her quick dumps. Miner is a consistent setter having recorded 362 assists in the 2023 season alone.
This Cal team has faced numerous opponents this season that have threatened to disrupt the undefeated record, yet none have been successful. Stanford will surely be the toughest opponent by far, as the Cardinal will likely take advantage of any mistakes on the Bears’ end.
For the home team, Maggie Li is a player to watch. Despite the season being so young, Li has already proven to be an important asset to the team. Leading the team in kills, she is sure to test Stanford’s defense.
Sam Taumoepeau, another standout player for Cal, will likely dominate the scoreboard alongside Li. Taumoepeau is especially consistent with strategic ball placement while being a powerful force when it comes to execution.
Cal vs. Stanford is always a guaranteed spectacle, but this year is especially different for Cal, as it is trying to defend an undefeated record. Will the Bears hold onto this historic record, or will Stanford manage to break it for Cal?