California Golden Bears 2003 Volleyball Outlook

Aug. 15, 2003

CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS

TEAM PREVIEW
Last season, the Golden Bears tasted postseason success for the first time since 1989. They'll look to do the same in 2003 behind a roster that includes four returning starters, five seniors and a total of 11 players from last year's squad, including junior All-America outside hitter Mia Jerkov.

STRENGTHS

  • Jerkov, Cal's first All-American player since 1983, paced the Pac-10 with a single-season school record 578 kills (5.90 kpg). She posted 30 or more kills in six matches last season.
  • Outside hitter Jenna Brown, a Pac-10 All-Freshman selection in 2002, combines with Jerkov to provide the Bears with one of the league's top outside hitter tandems. Brown started every match last season, posting 340 kills (2.86 kpg) and 365 digs (3.07 dpg).
  • The Bears will expect solid play from the middle behind junior Camille Leffall and sophomore Alicia Powers. Leffall led the Bears with a .347 hitting percentage, while tacking on 108 blocks (0.96 bpg). Powers, the only returning Bear to appear in all 120 games, tallied 113 kills (0.94 kpg) and 82 blocks (0.68 bpg).

    CONCERNS

  • Developing a setter to drive the Bears' offense. Vying for the starting spot will be junior Astrid Gonzales and freshmen Samantha Carter and Ashley Wagner. Carter, a six-team AAU All-American, may appear to have the inside track to the position. However, the veteran players will need to show patience as she adjust to the collegiate level of play.
  • While it could be one of Cal's best recruiting classes in years, trying to find enough playing time for the 11 returning letterwinners and the talented crop of freshmen could be a challenge for the coaching staff.
  • A stretch of 15 consecutive matches against teams appearing in last year's NCAA Tournament could become somewhat taxing.

    ACCORDING TO COACH FELLER
    'We will have four starters from last year on the court this season, and we also have five seniors who have three years of college experience behind them. So, we will have a lot of experience.

    'We met several of our goals and achieved some milestones last season. Now we are looking to continue to improve ourselves and surpass last year's accomplishments.

    'We return one of the most complete outside hitters in the nation in Mia Jerkov. She excels in all aspects of the game and is equally adept in the front court and back court.'

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