BERKELEY – A high school All-American and a member of the Greece National Team Program highlight a group of five student-athletes that joined the Cal volleyball program Thursday.
Christine Alftin, a 6-1 outside hitter from Woodside, Calif., and Antzela Dempi, a 6-2 outside hitter from Thessaloniki, Greece each signed National Letters of Intent to come to Cal. Furthermore, the Bears had three student-athletes sign a Statement of Intent to Register – Sammy Furlan, a 5-8 setter from Manhattan Beach, Calif; Hannah Aguirre, a 5-7 defensive specialist from Mountain View, Calif. and Gabby deGuzman, a 5-5 libero from Los Angeles.
The quintet completes the 2014 recruiting class after prep All-American outside hitter Ashten Smith-Gooden and middle blocker Laura Leap signed in the fall.
“I’m really excited to be able to add five really quality players to what was already a good class,” Cal coach Rich Feller said.
Alftin was a 2013 Under Armour Second Team All-American and Prepvolleyball.com’s No. 53 Senior Ace. She is a two-time Peninsula Athletic League most valuable player and helped Woodside High School win the California Division II state championship as a freshman and the Central Coast Section title the following year.
“Christine is a six-rotation outside hitter whose game has improved by leaps and bounds over the last couple of years,” Feller said. “She has good size, is explosive and has great ball handling skills. We are really excited that she’s going to be joining us next year.”
Dempi is member of Greece’s Under-19 national team that qualified for the European Championships. She is a left-handed hitter that can play on either pin.
“Antzela is someone who brings a unique element to our program,” Feller said. “She is a big left-hander, and we haven’t had one of those in a while. We’re excited to have someone from the country of Greece to add more diversity to our team.”
Furlan is a combo player that is also expected to join Cal’s sand volleyball program. She was voted the Bay League’s most outstanding player after her senior season at Mira Costa High School, where she twice led the Mustangs to the league championship.
“I’m really thrilled to have Sammy coming into our program,” Feller said. “She’s a quality setter that will fight for some time on the court, and is also a sand player of some note. We’re really very fortunate to have someone join our program with her level of experience both indoors and outdoors. I look forward to her coming in and helping us out in a lot of different ways.”
Aguirre was an All-West Coast Athletic League second team pick as a senior as well as an All-San Jose Mercury News honorable mention. deGuzman played libero for Notre Dame Academy in Los Angeles.
“Hannah and Gabby are two defensive specialists that are gym rats and love the game,” Feller said. “They have great defense and passing skills and we’re really excited to have them join our team. They will add to our ball control and make everybody on the team with those skills step up a little bit and work even harder.”