California Volleyball Inks Four to 2009 Freshman Class

Nov. 12, 2008

BERKELEY - The California volleyball team has signed four recruits to letters of intent to compete with the Golden Bears as a part of the incoming 2009 freshman class. Among the signees, Cal received commitments from three middle hitters and the nation's top senior setter.

'This incoming class is really special and each of the players brings an intangible specialty of their own,' said head coach Rich Feller. 'We are beyond excited about what the future holds with the talent that these players bring with them.'

The most highly-regarded senior setter in the nation and one of 2009's most sought-after recruits, Elly Barrett (Westlake HS/Austin, Texas) is as accomplished as prep volleyball players come. She led her team to the Texas state finals in 2005 and 2007 and was named a 2007 High School All-American. Among her many all-tournament and MVP accolades, Barrett holds the distinction of having led her Junior Olympics team to the 2008 title, garnering MVP honors on the way.

'Elly is a highly talented and athletic setter and will only continue to grow and become better when she arrives at Cal,' said Feller. 'She has a marvelous leadership quality about her and has a lot of experience guiding her teams to great heights. Her calm on-court demeanor is unflappable and to top it all off, her volleyball skills are wrapped up in what we can only call a truly winning personality.'

Local product Katherine Brown (St. Francis HS/Mountain View, Calif.) helped lead her club team as the starting middle blocker, to the U18 American Division National Championship in 2008 at the Junior Olympics and was a Top Senior Ace this season. She has regularly appeared on top-players lists throughout her career at St. Francis and as just a sophomore, Brown was a finalist for the Santa Cruz Sentinel All-County Athlete of the Year award.

'Katherine brings a ton of athletic ability to the middle position for us. She has a huge jump and is another big strong body in the center,' said Feller. 'She is among the cream of the crop of the top prospects in Northern California and brings such great size and jumping ability. She is such an intelligent player and we feel that she has the skills to potentially develop into a multiple position player for the Bears.'

A middle blocker from the Gopher State, Tia Gaffen (Wayzata HS, Plymouth, Minn.) recently took her team to a fifth place finish as she received All-State First Team honors. She became the first player in Wayzata history to record 1,000 career kills and this fall, logged the highest hitting percentage and most kills in a single season. Gaffen parlayed a top-50 junior recruit listing into a Top 50 Senior Ace listing and received 2007 all-tournament honors at the junior Olympics.

'Tia is a truly dynamic middle blocker,' said Feller. 'She might be a physically bigger version of Shannon Hawari. She is very quick to the attack and brings some amazing athletic ability with her size.'

Correy Johnson (Lake Howell HS, Winter Park, Fla.) is a middle blocker from the Sunshine State. She received Florida All-Star Volleyball notice in 2008 and was named Best Blocker at the National Jr. Classic. She too is a Top 50 Senior Ace. As a junior in 2007, she was named to the all-state second team and was the Seminole County Volleyball Player of the year. She holds Lake Howell single game and single season records for both blocks in volleyball and blocked shots in basketball and was a Lake Howell Heisman Trophy Winner.

'Correy comes to us from the same club that loaned us Angie Pressey and Samantha Carter,' said Feller. 'At 6-4, she is certainly the tallest of the group. In addition to her size, she brings incredible range to her game and is a very astute middle hitter. Although she is relatively new to the sport as a basketball convert, she really understands the subtle nuances of the position.'

The Bears (20-4, 10-3 Pac-10) are currently ranked No. 7 in the Bison/AVCA top 25 poll and prepare to face rival No. 2 Stanford (21-3, 12-1 Pac-10) in a 7 p.m. match on Friday, Nov. 14. Cal has a chance to sweep the Cardinal for the first time in 29 years.

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