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December 8, 1998

By Adam Jones
UVa Athletic Media Relations

November 29, 1998 will be a memorable day for the University of Virginia volleyball team and outside hitter Andrea Fischer (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara). On that evening, UVa realized it was heading to a place that no other Cavalier volleyball team in the history of the Virginia program had ever gone, to the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Tournament. Virginia received an at-large bid to participate in the 1998 NCAA Tournament. It marked the schools first ever appearance in the NCAA’s in the 19-year history of the program. Fischer would not only be playing her first NCAA Tournament match of her collegiate career, she’d also be heading back home to Santa Barbara, California.

Fischer helped guide UVa to one of the finest volleyball seasons in school history this year. Virginia’s 26 wins were the second most victories in a single season at UVa and positioned the Cavaliers as the winningest volleyball team at Virginia in the 1990’s. The Cavaliers finished the season with a record of 26-8 overall. UVa won two regular season tournaments (including the Pepperdine Tournament), finished 12-4 in the ACC and advanced to the semi-finals of the ACC Championships. All of these accomplishments came from a team picked to finish seventh in the preseason coaches poll in the ACC. UVa’s 12 conference wins shattered the previous mark of seven victories set by the 1996 squad.

In only her second-year of play as a Cavalier, Fischer’s statistics are eye-opening. She appeared in 34 games and played in 124 matches in ’98. Fischer finished first on the team in service aces (46), second on the team in kills (381), second in kills per game (3.073) and third in hitting percentage (.246). She also recorded 186 digs, 63 blocks and 34 assists. Her balance attack gelled with her teammates performances, and made the Cavaliers one of the top team in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

In her two seasons at UVa, Fischer has displayed her knack for powerful attacks. “God put thunder in her arm, and she manages to transfer it to the ball,” says Virginia head volleyball coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton on Fischer’s hitting ability. “Even as a first-year player, she was the hardest hitter on the team.

In Virginia’s first round match with UCLA in the Thunderdome on the campus of UC Santa Barbara, the Cavaliers fell to the Bruins 3-1. Although Virginia lost the match, the successful season and NCAA Tournament appearance have already added confidence to the team peaking forward to next season.

“I was really excited to come home and to have the opportunity to play in a NCAA Tournament match, said Fischer. “It felt great to be out there. We came out strong, put up a fight, and competed. Now were looking forward to next season.”

With all but three players returning next season from this years squad, the Cavaliers will look to build upon their successful 1998 campaign. And Fischer will be right there helping to lead the way as she has done all her career. In 1997, she was named to the ACC All-Rookie team and was selected the ACC Rookie of the Week twice last season. Fischer placed herself in the UVa record books by posting seven service aces in a single match in a 3-0 victory over Wake Forest on 10/25/97. At Santa Barbara High School, her list of honors include being named All-California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) in 1996, MVP of Santa Barbara County in 1996, MVP of All-Channel League and Santa Barbara H.S. team MVP as a senior. She also gathered All-Tournament status at the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions in 1996 and was named the Santa Barbara News Press “Athlete of the Week on 9/30/96. Fischer established a school record 35 kills in a match at Santa Barbara.

Halfway through her career at Virginia, Fischer has recorded 544 kills, 262 digs, 90 service aces, 88 blocks and 41 assists in 63 matches. Those sort of numbers would be sure to put a smile on any coaches face. Just ask Melissa Aldrich Shelton.

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