Feb. 6, 1998
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA women's volleyball program has received national letters of intent from four outstanding student-athletes, who are considered among the best overall groups in the nation and are all excellent students as well. Head coach Andy Banachowski, a 1997 inductee into the Volleyball Hall of Fame, welcomes the addition of Erika Selsor (Linden, Calif.), Ashley Bowles (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Kristee Porter (Tyler, Texas), and Angela Eckmier (North Hills, Calif.) to the Bruins. "We are really excited about this class, it gives us a lot of depth and flexibility in the years to come," said Banachowski.
Selsor is a 5-6 setter from Linden High School. She earned All-American honors and is listed among Student Sports top players in the nation. Selsor, who is a true scholar-athlete with a 4.0 gpa, led Linden high to two State championships and two runner-up finishes for her team's division. "We are expecting her to come and lead the team and step into the starting role," says Banachowski. "She has great experience and is a great competitor."
Bowles is a 6-0 outside hitter from Mira Costa High School. She played every position as a prep, while also caring a 4.0 gpa, and will be an outside hitter for the Bruins. Bowles earned All-American honors and is listed among Student Sports top players in the nation. Banachowski sees her as the "most complete player in the class, with outstanding skills." Bowles comes out of the "championship mold" that Mira Costa is known for.
A 5-11 outside hitter from John Tyler High School, Porter is "The most exciting athlete in the class," according to Banachowski. "She is a tremendous leaper." Considered one of the top athletes in the nation, Porter will also compete for the UCLA track and field team in both the long jump and triple jump (where she was a HS All-American, jumping over 41 feet). An honor roll student with a 3.5 gpa, Porter also starts for her high school basketball team. "She is shorter on volleyball experience than others in the class, but her athletic talent will make up for it," says Banachowski.
Eckmier is a 6-1 middle blocker from Van Nuys High School. She was the player of the year for the Mid-Valley League, and a two-time Los Angeles Times All-Region selection. A dominant player in LA City volleyball, she carried a 3.9 gpa in the classroom. "Eckmier is a physical player, who loves to hit and especially block. She brings an intensity to the net that I'm really pleased with," says Banachowski. "She comes in to bolster an already strong middle blocker position and will be ready to play very quickly."
The Bruins lose three starters from a team that made its 16th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Graduating are, All-American Kara Milling, All- District recipient Kim Coleman, and Pac -10 honorable mention selection Tanisha Larkin. "Due to the fact that we graduated three players, we needed numbers and we are really pleased with the quality of this group," says Banachowski. Also rejoining the Bruins from red-shirt seasons are Elisabeth Bachman and Jennifer Wittenburg.