1995 Season Review

The Cal women's volleyball team accomplished a remarkable turnaround in 1995, with an eight-win improvement over the 1994 season (5-23), as the Bears posted a 13-15 record. Cal also improved in the highly competitive Pac-10 Conference, more than doubling their Pac-10 win total from the previous season (2-16 to 5-13).

First-year head coach Sue Woodstra guided her young team to a strong start, running out to a 5-2 record in the first three weeks of the season, with losses only to #10 Ohio State and #8 Pacific.

However the grueling Pac-10 schedule, featuring five NCAA tourney teams, began to take its toll at that point with nationally ranked opponents coming at the Bears every week. Yet the rapidly improving Bears rallied to pull off a pair of upsets over unsuspecting Pac-10 opponents, knocking off #18 Washington and #15 Arizona, both on their home courts. Those victories were the first Cal wins over ranked opponents in two years and the Bears went on to recieve votes in the Top 25 polls for the first time since 1991.

In non-conference play, the Bears fared extremely well, posting an 8-2 record, including wins over Michigan and Houston. That showing, plus a near .500 season (13-15), put the Bears in contention for an invitation to the 20-team National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC). Although the Bears fell just short of that bid, Woodstra's squad built a strong foundation with great potential for postseason play in the very near future.

Sophomore hitter Jessica Dinaberg led the Bears in kill average (3.03) and dig average (3.23), while sophomore hitter Michelle Wickman led the team with 28 service aces. Senior middle blocker Jenny Swart led the team in hitting percentage at .277, the second-best single-season mark in Cal history, and also tied the school record for most blocks in a match (11 vs. Oregon).

Three Golden Bear seniors wrapped up their careers in 1995 - middle blockers Jenny Swart and Heidi Emmrich and outside hitter Danielle Mashy. Swart, a four-year letterwinner, left her mark in the Cal record books, ranking seventh in career hitting percentage (.211), eighth in career blocks (230) and 10th in career kills (597). Mashy also wrapped up a fine four-year career and ranks seventh in career digs (970) and 12th in career kills (536). Emmrich played just two seasons at Cal, but ranks 10th in career blocks (161) at Cal.

Most Improved NCAA Division I - Women's Volleyball Teams, 1994-95

No. Team 1994 1995 MI 1. Middle Tennessee State 7-23 32-7 20.5 2. Michigan State 17-15 34-31 14.5 2. St. John's 10-25 24-10 14.5 4. Kent 6-25 18-12 12.5 5. North Carolina-Asheville12-23 24-11 12.0 6. Sacramento State 18-23 34-5 11.5 6. Coastal Carolina 7-27 17-14 11.5 6. Lousiana State 8-23 20-12 11.5 6. Marshall 12-21 25-11 11.5 10.Pepperdine 9-17 24-11 10.5 24.California 5-23 13-15 8.0

MI=Matches Improved (increase in wins + decrease in losses) divided by two