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Volleyball Adds Two To 2023 Class

Nov 9, 2022

BERKELEY – California volleyball has announced the addition of two top prospects to its 2023 incoming class in Ashley Li (Diamond Bar, Calif./Walnut High School) and Sawyer Thomsen (Lawrence, Kan./Lawrence Free State High School).

"We are very excited for the arrival of our 2023 recruiting class," said head coach Sam Crosson. "Each of them has played for high-level coaches and club teams prior to their arrival at Cal, and each possesses tremendous amounts of potential and the ability to compete for playing time right away."

Ashley Li
A 6-foot-3 outside hitter, Li competed for La Salle High School from her freshman to junior years and for Walnut High School as a senior. Most recently, she led her team to a 2022 Varsity Walnut Summer League championship, following a standout junior season in which she was named to the All-California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section Division 2 Team, the All-Del Rey League First Team and the All-Crescenta Valley Falcon Tournament Team.

Li also competes for the T-Street IE 17-Asics club team, where she was a team captain for the 2021-22 season and earned May's Player of the Month award. The team finished second at the Red Rock Rave Junior National Qualifiers.

"Ashley's height, athleticism, volleyball IQ and skillset have continued to improve year after year," said Crosson. "She is physical at the net, has a heavy arm when attacking and has a true passion for the game and desire for continual improvement. Her personality, motivation and character are great additions to our program."

Li comes from a strong volleyball background, with both her father Hua Li and mother Cynthia Yao having played for the Shanghai men's and women's volleyball team, respectively, as well as the Chinese national beach volleyball team (father) and FuDan University women's volleyball team (mother).

A four-year honor roll student, Li plans to major in media studies and business at Cal.
Sawyer Thomsen
A 6-foot-2 middle and right side blocker, Thomsen was named Prep Dig's Top Middle in Kansas for the 2021-22 season in addition to making the Prep Volleyball Top 150 Recruits list for three straight years (2020-22) and the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Phenom Watch List each year from 2019-21. In addition to competing for Lawrence Free State High School, Thomsen also played for the Mavs KC club team, earning her way to the Kansas Volleyball Association's Class 6A All-State First Team in 2022, First Team All-Sunflower League in three straight years (2020-22) and the AVCA Best and Brightest list.

As a senior, Johnson averaged 3.2 kills per set on a .360 hitting percentage. She also posted 1.2 blocks per set and 0.7 service aces per set.

"Sawyer plays with a competitive fire and can both score and defend from various positions along the net," Crosson said. "Her personality and spirit are infectious to her teammates. She is a competitor who demands a lot from herself on the court, and she continues to impress us with her growth and knowledge of the game."

Thomsen also comes from a strong athletic background – her father Alyn Thomsen played basketball at Tulsa and overseas. She intends to major in data science at Cal.
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