Fabulous Freshman: Kari Pestolesi
Glancing at the many accolades that have been awarded to freshman phenom Kari Pestolesi begs the question, how did UC Irvine land a recruit of her caliber?
That isn’t to discredit the prestige of the UCI volleyball program; Pestolesi’s resume looks too good for any college.
The Huntington Beach native took home virtually every conceivable award during her days at Edison High School. She is the school’s all-time leader in aces, service aces, kills and digs.
In 2004, she was deemed the best defensive player, and a year later, the best offensive player. As a senior, she was the obvious choice for the MVP award. Finally, to solidify her status as the greatest volleyball player in the school’s history, she was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2007 Orange County All-Star Game.
Luckily for UCI, Pestolesi opted to stay close to home, and her abilities have only improved since becoming an Anteater.
‘I worked as hard as I could every day. My goal was to be a starter [as a freshman]; when I saw I was starting in the first match of the year, I was stoked,’ Pestolesi said.
She was stoked along with Head Coach Charlie Brande and every UCI volleyball fan. From game one, Kari has not ceased to amaze.
Entering Saturday’s game against UC Riverside, the star freshman is leading the team in kills and service aces and is second on the squad in digs.
On Oct. 8, she earned the Big West Player of the Week Award after leading UCI to consecutive 3-0 victories over Pacific and UC Davis (both conference matches), but it was at the near-upset of No. 4-ranked University of California where Pestolesi turned in her greatest performance as an Anteater.
It didn’t come as a surprise to Pestolesi that her career day came against the Trojans