The 'Next level'
After finishing last season at No. 20 in the nation with a 22-7 overall record, the UA women's volleyball team has signed three top prep players from California to add to their young, but experienced lineup.
Middle blocker Stephanie Saragosa of Chula Vista and outside hitters Lisa Rutledge of Vista and Shannon Torresgrosa of San Diego, are all supposed to provide immediate impact for UA.
"Lisa Rutledge and Shannon Torresgrosa are both on the junior national team in Colorado Springs, and Stephanie Saragosa is one of the top middles in southern California," said UA head coach Dave Rubio. "The addition of these three give us an opportunity to take it to the next level, either next year or the year after."
While they lost one senior, All-Pac-10 middle blocker Keisha Johnson Demps, the Wildcats return three players who earned conference honors last season.
Junior Marisa DaLee, an All-Pac-10 middle blocker, along with sophomore setter Dana Burkholder, an All-Pac-10 Freshman and honorable mention All-Conference player and sophomore outside hitter Jill Talbot, who earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 as a freshman, will be counted on as leaders for the Wildcats this season.
Burkholder set UA freshmen records for matches played (29), matches started (29), assists (1,346) and digs (309). She played every point of every game.
"They are very excited, but still very young. The majority of our players will be freshmen and sophomores," Rubio said. "This is also going to be a season where our schedule is significantly tougher than the others. Our non-conference schedule is as tough as ever, and I think we will be tested early and often."