Wednesday afternoon, Cal volleyball announced its newest editions to the 2023 class: Ashley Li and Sawyer Thomsen. They join outside hitter Emma Donley and libero Sophia Johnson as the latest Bears-to-be and are expected to have an immediate impact on the team upon arrival.
The tandem adds to the youth movement in the East Bay, where Cal (7-17) boasts only one senior — opposite Sydney Lilomaiava.
Li, 6’3” outside hitter, is from Diamond Bar, California. She played at La Salle High School before transferring for her senior season at Walnut High School. According to Cal’s website, she’s a four-year honor roll student, making her a seemingly seamless fit for academics at Cal.
Li is coming off a Varsity Walnut Summer League championship, and is looking to replicate her junior season, which saw her on the All-Del Rey League First Team.
Complementing current freshmen Sophie Scott and Mikayla Hayden, Thomsen is another middle blocker that can hold down the net.
Thomsen is listed at 6’2” and played at Lawrence Free State High School; she was named Prep Dig’s best middle in the state of Kansas last year. Impressively, she was also included in Prep Volleyball’s top 150 recruits for over three seasons.
With the addition of these two players, Cal seems to be in good shape for years to come. The cubs could bring a spark to the Bears that are looking back to get into the win column, set to face UCLA on Thursday.