Christina Higgins was named an AVCA Second Team All-American.
Cal Athletics

Higgins Named AVCA Second-Team All-American

Caloiaro Earns Honorable Mention
By Cal Athletics on Wed, December 18, 2013

BERKELEY – Cal junior Christina Higgins was named an AVCA Second-Team All-American on Wednesday and senior Joan Caloiaro garnered honorable mention.

It marks the fifth time in school history the Bears have had two players earn All-American honors in the same season and the first time since 2010. Cal now has had 19 All-Americans all-time since the program began in 1975.

Higgins, an opposite hitter from Inglewood, Calif., ranked ninth in the Pac-12 with 3.52 kills per set this season, second among opposite hitters. She hit for an impressive .292 percentage while also recording 0.75 blocks per set.

“Christina really matured this year into a big-time power player,” Cal coach Rich Feller said. “She took over several matches this year and led the team in kills and points scored often. This is a well-deserved honor and shows the quality of Christina’s season and the value she has to our team.”

Higgins was earlier named to the All-Pacific North Region Team and earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention.

Higgins moved from outside hitter to her more natural opposite this season. But when senior Adrienne Gehan went down with an injury late in the year, Higgins moved back to the left side and flourished, setting career-highs in kills in back-to-back matches and averaging over 20 kills per match.

“A lot of the thanks goes to Adrienne for always helping me, especially when I went back to the left side when she got injured,” Higgins said. “She talked me through those matches I had to play on the outside and helped me out a lot. The coaches gave me good feedback about everything. Anytime you get an award like this, it’s a reflection of the team as well.”

Higgins was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week on Nov. 11 after averaging 5.0 kills per set and hitting .352 in road wins over Utah and Colorado. She put down a career-high 26 kills on Nov. 24 against Washington State.

Higgins will be presented with her award Friday at the AVCA All-America/Players of the Year banquet in Seattle, the site of this weekend’s Final Four.

Higgins was at Gehan’s apartment studying for finals with some of her teammates when she received the news from Feller.

“I was a little confused why he was calling me on a Monday night at 8 p.m.,” Higgins said. “He said, ‘What are you doing on Thursday? Do you want to go to Seattle?’ Everyone started screaming. That was really nice to share that with my teammates.”

Caloiaro, a setter from Saratoga, Calif., finished the season ranked second in the Pac-12 and 11th nationally with 11.70 assists per set. She also led the conference with 1,346 total assists. Caloiaro quarterbacked an offense that was fourth in the Pac-12 with a .248 hitting percentage and had two of the top-five assist performances in the conference this year. Her 62-assist performance in a win over Colorado on Nov. 9 was the second-highest mark in a Pac-12 match this season and the most in any four-set match. She also had 45 assists in a sweep over Utah on Nov. 7, the most in any three-set conference match during 2013.

Caloiaro finished her career ranked sixth on Cal’s all-time assist list with 2,552.

“We are so proud of Joan’s contribution to our team’s success,” Feller said. “Joan’s award is well-deserved. She has earned this honor.”

The Bears advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament this season and finished with a record of 18-13. Cal will have four starters and a libero returning for 2014.


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