National team setter speaks to squad

Leily Arzy

Three-time Olympic volleyball player Lindsey Napela Berg visited the varsity volleyball team to stress the importance of teamwork and discuss the difficulties of being a woman in the spotlight.

“It was absolutely incredibly meeting Lindsey. I think we are all very motivated now going into playoffs after our Q&A with her,” setter Nicole Elattrache ’14 said. “She clearly knows the game so well and her competitiveness and work ethic has inspired us.”

“It was so surreal being able to talk to someone who has been through all the things we are going through and is playing at the highest level,” middle blocker Kayla Dillard ’15 said. “She was so humble and open, you could really tell she still has a love for volleyball.”

Berg initially decided to speak to the girls as a favor to alum Rico Cabrera Jr. ’97, who she worked with through a mentorship. Berg said that it turned out to be an incredible experience.

“There are different circumstances that I had to deal with and overcome that I know other people have had to deal with as well. Hopefully, I can be a mentor or inspiration to somebody,” Berg said. “Women in general are always being criticized about their bodies, and it was something I had to deal with because I don’t have your typical volleyball body, and I know a lot of girls in general go through that whether they are on the volleyball team or not.”

Born and raised in Honolulu, Berg graduated from Punahou High School and later attended the University of Minnesota where she played as the starting setter for four years. After her college career was over, she played in a brief stint for the Minnesota Chill in the short-lived United States Professional Volleyball League in 2002. From there, she was asked to join the national team, and she participated in the Athens, Beijing and London Olympics.

She won silver medals in both Beijing and London, losing to Brazil in the finals both times. She plans to go to the 2016 Rio Olympics. However, Berg is currently taking a break from her Turkish volleyball club team Fenerbahçe Istanbul.

“Come January or February, I will be back in the gym training with my coach,” Berg said. “For me, it is about keeping healthy so I can help the team as much as I can.”

“At any point in time somebody can get cut. I could get cut this summer, who knows. If I make it to 2016, that will be the last one,” Berg said.