BERKELEY – Cal Volleyball’s 2014 recruiting class has been ranked No. 9 in the country by PrepVolleyball.com.
The class features eight freshmen, three of which are ranked among PrepVolleyball.com’s Top 100 Senior Aces. Leading the pack is Ashten Smith-Gooden, who at No. 5 is the second-highest ranked recruit ever to commit to Cal. Gooden, a 6-foot-2 outside hitter from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is also an Under Armour First Team All-American.
Christine Alftin, a 6-1 outside hitter from Woodside, Calif., is No. 53 on PrepVolleyball.com’s list of Senior Aces and was a Under Armour Second Team All-American. Laura Leap, a 6-5 middle blocker from Thousand Oaks, Calif., enrolled at Cal for the recent spring semester and is No. 93 on the Senior Ace list.
Also joining the Cal program for 2014 are setter Sammy Furlan, outside hitter Kristen Shekelle and defensive specialists Hannah Aguirre and Gaby deGuzman. PrepVolleyball.com does not consider foreign players or transfers in its rankings, so incoming freshman Antzela Dempi of Thessaloniki, Greece was not factored in to the rating.
Furlan, who also is expected to play on Cal’s sand volleyball team, was the Bay Valley League’s most outstanding player as a senior at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, Calif. Shekelle was the Western League’s Co-Player of the Year at Venice High School in Los Angeles while Aguirre was an All-West Coast Athletic League second team pick as a senior at St. Francis-Mountain View High School. deGuzman played libero for Notre Dame Academy in Los Angeles.
This marks the sixth time in the past 10 years the Bears’ recruiting class has been ranked in the top-10 by PrepVolleyball.com.
The Bears, who recently returned from a two-week tour of Europe, return three starters and a libero for the upcoming 2014 season. Cal qualified for its 12th straight NCAA Tournament in 2013, when it advanced to the second round before falling to eventual national runner-up Wisconsin.