Fanger earns academic honor

By Sam Spiller
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 19, 1996

Gregory Harris
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Michelle Fanger (2) goes airborne to spike a ball against Washington State Saturday. She was named to the District VIII Academic All-American team.


Arizona junior outside hitter Michelle Fanger was one of six female student-athletes from 10 different Division I schools selected to the Women's Volleyball Academic All-American first team for District VIII.

Fanger, a speech and hearing sciences major, has a 3.53 grade-point average. She is third on the team in kills with 193 and second in digs with 243.

The other players named to the first team were Casey Crisler from Oregon, Kristen Folkl from Stanford, Tracy Holman from Loyola Marymount, Angelica Ljungquist from Hawaii and Amy Steele from Brigham Young.

After Arizona had scored more points than any other university against the U.S. National Team, three-time Olympian and former UA volleyball player Caren Kemner said this season's Wildcat team was ready to turn the corner.

After this weekend's victories over No. 8 Washington State and No. 14 Washington, the Wildcats are 5-1 against the last six ranked opponents they have faced.

It's probably a safe assumption that Arizona has finally turned that corner.

"We're emotionally in a good place, which is the most important thing," UA head coach Dave Rubio said.

After a season full of nominations, senior outside hitter Barb Bell has finally received the Pac-10 player of the week award.

Statistically, Bell has had better weekends. She had 31 kills, 23 digs and 10 blocks combined against the Huskies and the Cougars. What didn't show up on the statistic sheet was that she led her team to victory over the second- and third-place teams in th e conference.

"In the second half of the season, Barb is playing better than she ever has," Rubio said.

In the match against WSU, Bell became the only player in Arizona history to earn 1,000 kills, 1,000 digs and 300 blocks in a career.

For the first time all season, Arizona (18-8 overall, 9-7 in the Pac-10) has earned a spot on the Volleyball Magazine top 20 poll. The Wildcats are ranked No. 20. The sweep of the Washington schools has assured Arizona a spot in the first round of the NC AA Tournament.

"It's something you expect all the time, and it's nice to have it pretty much a given," Rubio said. "But we still have two matches. Let's go get Stanford."

The Wildcats play No. 2 Stanford and California on the road this weekend.

Erin Aldrich announced her presence with authority this weekend. Consistently able to exploit the holes in the defense left when players rotated to cover Bell, Aldrich had 20 kills, two digs and five blocks against Washington State.

"It was exciting to go up into the air and see that it wasn't closed," Aldrich said. "They were committing on Barb, and Michaela (Ebben) was finding me an open spot."