Recruit’s ties to U coach go way back

by Ryan Schuster

More than 30 years ago, Gophers volleyball coach Mike Hebert and Dennis Berg were teammates on the UC-Santa Barbara men’s volleyball team.
Back then, Hebert had no idea that he would one day coach Dennis’ daughter, Lindsey.
“I don’t think I could have predicted Lindsey Berg and Minnesota would have wound up together,” Hebert said Wednesday at a press conference announcing the signings of Berg and Yvonne Wichert to national letters of intent. “I never dreamed one day we’d be recruiting her.”
After Hebert received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from UC-Santa Barbara in 1966, he got his Ph.D. in philosophy of education from Indiana and went into coaching. But he managed to keep in touch with Dennis over the years.
Lindsey developed into a talented volleyball player in her own right, being named Hawaii co-player of the year three times at Punahou High School in Honolulu. She played setter and outside hitter in high school, and quickly became a blue-chip Division I prospect like her older sister, Erin, whom Hebert tried to recruit when he was at Illinois. Despite Hebert’s ties to the Berg family, Erin decided to go to North Carolina.
The 5-foot-8 Lindsey led her high school team to a 37-0 record and was also labeled as one of the top volleyball recruits in the nation by USA Today last year, attracting the attention of several top programs, including Stanford, UCLA, Washington State, Texas A&M, UC-Santa Barbara and Minnesota.
“Setter was our top priority,” Hebert said. “We recruited about eight to 10 high-level setters across the country and two or three internationally.”
After several of the other players the Gophers recruited chose other schools, Lindsey accepted.
“She picked Minnesota because she wanted to go to the strongest program with the best school and coach, and that was Minnesota,” Dennis Berg said Wednesday from his Honolulu home. “I’m pleased with her decision. Mike and I do go back a while and I liked the idea that he is about as well-rounded an individual as most coaches that she’s going to find in college.”
Lindsey will play exclusively at setter for Minnesota. While she has been bothered by tendinitis in her knee in the past, Hebert is optimistic about her future with the program.
“She’s kind of the basketball equivalent of a point guard who has spent their whole life in the gym,” Hebert said. “She’s not extremely quick, she’s not a great jumper, she’s not especially big, but she can play.”
Wichert, the other volleyball player to sign a letter of intent with the Gophers on Wednesday, is also considered a top recruit. The 5-foot-11 outside hitter comes to Minnesota after several years of playing club volleyball with the V.C. Wiesbaden club in Russelsheiu, Germany.
Like many of her European counterparts, Wichert will join the Gophers next year as a talented 20-year-old freshman.
“She is a solid outside hitter who hits the ball extremely hard, has a fast arm swing and can also pass the ball,” Hebert said. “We’re expecting a lot from her.”
Minnesota still has one scholarship left for next season but its unlikely the team will add another player before the signing period ends Aug. 1.
With the promise of Berg and Wichert, however, the Gophers — who finished 23-10 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament last year — should be fine next season, Hebert said.
“I’ve never guaranteed a starting position to anyone,” Hebert said. “But I feel both have the ability to start.”