Olympic Spotlight: Volleyball's Salima Davidson and Lindsey Berg
July 18, 2008
by Jeff Smith
With the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games quickly approaching, BigTen.org takes a look at both former and current Olympians who have made their mark in their respective sports. In today's "Olympic Spotlight" feature, we take a look at the Olympic volleyball careers of Salima Davidson of Penn State and Minnesota's Lindsey Berg.
SALIMA DAVIDSON, VOLLEYBALL, PENN STATE, 1991-94
Former Penn State standout and current assistant coach Salima (Davidson) Rockwell was a member of the U.S. Olympic volleyball team at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Having spent five years as a Nittany Lion setter, Davidson earned the honor of being the first PSU volleyball player ever named to an Olympic team.
At the 1996 Games, the U.S. team placed seventh overall with a 5-3 record. Two of the three losses came to Cuba and China, who went on to earn the gold and silver medals, respectively.
Davidson captained the U.S. National Team in 1997 and 1998, serving as the starting setter for the Americans and earned the Coaches' Award, MVP and the Team Award in each of those seasons.
During her career in State College, Davidson was a three-time All-American and a four-time All-Conference honoree. She left Penn State ranked fourth all-time in assists with 5,455 and currently sits third on the career assists per game list at 12.34. The 1993 and 1994 NCAA Championships All-Tournament team member also ranks fifth on the career digging charts with 1,278. After returning to the Penn State squad as director of volleyball operations in 2006, Davidson was promoted to assistant coach last year and helped the Nittany Lions to the national championship.
LINDSEY BERG, VOLLEYBALL, MINNESOTA, 1998-2001
Former Minnesota standout Lindsey Berg recently garnered her second U.S. Olympic Women's Volleyball team nomination. This past Wednesday (July 16) in fact, Berg learned that she will be making the trip to Beijing as one of seven repeat Olympic selections for the Americans.
With Berg's selection to the team, Minnesota is one of only eight schools to have a player on this year's Olympic roster and is one of only five programs to boast a 2004 and 2008 Olympian.
In Berg's first Olympic competition in 2004, she helped the U.S. team finish fifth overall. She earned "Best Setter" honors at the 2004 Pan American Cup in Mexico as Team USA earned a silver medal and a berth in the 2005 World Grand Prix. She was again recognized with that title in the following year's tournament as well as in FIVB World Championship Qualifying Tournament, where she helped lead the team to a gold medal. Most recently she helped Team USA to a bronze medal at the FIVB World Cup last November, a result that qualified the U.S. squad for the 2008 Olympics. It was there she started the first six matches for the team and helped them six wins with an average of 5.74 assists and 0.70 digs per set.During her time in Minneapolis, Berg was a four-year setter who amassed 5,913 career assists, good for third all-time in Big Ten history. Her assists mark currently ranks seventh all-time in conference play. She also finished her Golden Gopher career second on the career service aces list at 283 and ninth in digs at 1,047. Berg's leadership helped guide Minnesota to back-to-back runner-up finishes in the conference and a pair of NCAA Regional appearances. In 2000, she helped lead the team to its highest winning percentage in school history at .882 (30-4).