(Information and Lindsey Berg quote was compiled by Bill Kauffman of USA Volleyball)
Former Golden Gopher standout Lindsey Berg was named the 2008 USA Women’s Indoor Player of the Year according to an announcement on Thursday, Jan. 22.
Berg was part of the 2008 USA Olympic Women’s Volleyball team that earned a silver medal in Beijing this past summer. She played a key role as one of two setters and the co-captain on its way to claiming the silver medal.
“Obviously, I am thrilled and thankful to have received such a huge, individual honor as selected by our coaching staff,” Berg said. “Throughout the year, I simply concentrated on working hard to make our team better as a unit, whether on the court or off. One of the main roles of a setter is to bring court leadership and be an all-around influence on the game in intangible areas such as serving. As a setter, I still need to depend on the pass to get as good a set as possible to as many available hitting options as possible, and that definitely takes teamwork. I am thankful to my coaching staff and teammates, who all played a role in this honor and our team’s success in 2008.”
In the Olympics, Berg played in 25 of the 33 and helped the squad turn in a .250 hitting percentage and a 41 percent kill ratio. The setting combination of Berg and Robyn Ah Mow-Santos played a key role in Logan Tom earning the Best Scorer title during the Olympic Games. Berg was also competing in the Olympic games at less than 100 percent full strength in her left knee that required surgery last September.
She played a pivotal role during the Olympic quarterfinal round against Italy on Aug. 19. With the U.S. training 2-1 in sets, she took the service line to start the fourth set and served the Americans to an 8-0 lead on the way to a 25-18 four-set victory. Berg started the fifth set behind the service line as well, and gave the U.S. a 5-0 lead. The U.S. team went on to win the set 15-6 to advance to the medal round. Berg tallied three service aces, one block and 21 assists in the match.
Berg started three of the four sets in the Gold Medal match against Brazil, after the U.S. defeated Cuba in the semifinals. Team USA won the second set 25-18, marking the only set that Brazil lost in the Olympics.
She competed in 82 of the possible 132 sets against international competition in 2008 as the U.S. coaching staff balanced playing time to assists the Olympic Games roster selection. She started 43 of the 51 sets possible during the FIVB World Grand Prix leading to a fourth place finish for Team USA using a mixed roster of youth and veterans. Berg ranked seventh in setting in the World Grand Prix Preliminary Rounds.
Berg started four of six sets during a three-match exhibition series with Brazil in June, including three set starts on June 11. Prior to returning to the U.S. Women’s National Team, she competed in the Italian Series A professional league with Aystel Volley Novara and led the squad to a fourth-place finish in the regular season and a semifinal appearance in the postseason. She played in the second-most sets among all setters in the league.
In 2004, Berg became the first player from the Minnesota volleyball program to make the U.S. Olympic team. This past summer, she joined former Golden Gopher Nicole Branagh (beach volleyball) in Beijing. Berg was one of eight players on the 2008 Olympic team to play in the 2004 Olympics as well.
As a four-year starting setter for Minnesota from 1998-2001, Berg amassed 5,913 assists, which was good for third on the Minnesota and Big Ten career list. Berg is also second on the Minnesota career list in service aces at 283 and ninth in digs at 1,047.
Berg helped lead Minnesota to a pair of Big Ten second place finishes and NCAA Regional appearances in 1999 and 2000. In 2000, she helped lead the Golden Gophers to their highest winning percentage in school history at .882 (30-4).
“This is an amazing award for Lindsey to receive,” said Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. “It is a testament to the valuable leadership and skill that she has provided the U.S. National team over the last two Olympics. It is also reflective of the hard work that both she and her teammates put in throughout the training on the way to claiming the silver medal in Beijing.
Lindsey was an extremely valuable member of our program when she was here, and played a huge role in helping the growth of our program into what it is today. It is extremely enjoyable to watch what she has been able to accomplish during her international career.”