By Kristen Davis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 10, 1998

V'ball coach secures largest recruiting class ever

Although volleyball signing day was Wednesday, UA head coach Dave Rubio was unable to receive the letters due to fax machine problems.

Over the week he slowly got all seven letters of intent to make up the largest class he has recruited in his six seasons at UA.

Highlighting the group is setter Dana Burkholder, a third team All-American selection by Volleyball magazine. She was the player of the year in Bakersfield, Calif., in 1996 and 97 as well as the city's 1997 MVP.

Burkholder, who was a three year starter at Bakersfield High School, is expected to start immediately, replacing departing senior setter Michaela Ebben.

"Dana is dynamic, tough and is mentally very mature. She behaves in a much older fashion than a normal freshman would," Rubio said. "Although she's young, I don't think it will take that long for her to make a significant impact."

"She has a positive presence on the court...and is talented enough, I think, to contribute a lot to University of Arizona volleyball," added Kelly Harden, Burkholder's high school coach.

The Wildcats are losing more than seventy percent of their offense with the departure of five seniors and Erin Aldrich, a sophomore who transferred to Texas in January.

Aside from Burkholder, Rubio said recruits Lesley Dubois, Jill Talbot, Tucson Salpointe High School's Nadia Sefferovich and transfer Jodi Bethke, who will walk-on next season as a senior, have a chance to compete for starting spots at the left or right side hitting positions. Bethke played her senior season at Scottsdale's Saguaro High School.

"This is really an exceptional class - one that the freshman can make an immediate impact on the season. They're exceptional athletes along with having very good volleyball skills. The high end is unlimited at this point," Rubio said.

Rounding out the group are Lauren Benward, an outside hitter and Erin Sebbas, a middle blocker.

Stephanie Martin, UA's final recruit, is a middle blocker from Mesa's Westwood High School. Rubio said she is considered a top five prospect in the nation. Schools backed off her, however, because of her grades. He said the team will not know if she qualifies until the end of the spring semester, although he doesn't "think she'll be a part of the equation."

UA Volleyball team's recruits


Dana Burkholder 5-8 Bakersfield, Calif.

Middle blockers:

Stephanie Martin 6-2 Mesa

Erin Sebbas 6-3 Alta Loma, Calif.

Outside hitters:

Lauren Benward 5-11 Glen Ellen, Calif.

Lesley Dubois 6-1 Santa Rosa, Calif.

Nadia Sefferovich 6-1 Tucson

Jill Talbot 5-11 San Diego

* Jodi Bethke 5-11 New Mexico State

* transfer

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