Former Olympian, Punahou grad Berg added to Wahine Volleyball staff

Lindsey Berg // AP

University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball head coach Dave Shoji finalized his coaching staff with the hiring of assistant coach Lindsey Napela Berg and volunteer coach Tom Pestolesi.

It will be a homecoming for Berg who was born and raised in Honolulu. She is a three-time U.S. Olympic team setter who helped lead the U.S. squad as the team captain to silver medals in 2008 and 2012. Berg was named the USA Volleyball Female Indoor Athlete of the Year in both 2008 and 2011 and was named the Best Setter at the North Central and Caribbean Volleyball (NORCECA) Championships (2005, ’11); the Pan American Cup (2003, ’04, ’05) and earned the All-USPV Outstanding Server and Outstanding Setter award in 2002.

After graduating from Punahou School in 1998, Berg matriculated to Minnesota where she was a three-time All-Big Ten selection. She set a new Golden Gopher record for career assists and is ranked third in the Big Ten in all-time assists with 5,913. Berg earned her bachelor’s degree in business marketing in 2001 from Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

Berg played professionally both in the U.S. (Minnesota Chill of the USPV in 2002) and abroad. She played eight years in Italy for three teams: Scavolini Pesaro (2004-07); Asystel Novara (2007-08); and MC-Carnaghi Villa Cortese (2009-12) and also played for Fenerbache in Istanbul in 2013.

Most recently, Berg served as a volunteer assistant at Dartmouth last season where she trained the setters; helped with the team offense and game strategy as well as leadership development.

“Coaching at UH is a special and unique opportunity that I couldn’t turn down,” says Berg. “Growing up in Hawai’i and leaving for college in Minnesota, this is a chance for me to return home, give back to the state of Hawai’i and the volleyball program. After growing up with Dave, I look forward to working with him, and improving my coaching skills. I know I can make a difference and help players not only technically, but also with communication and leadership. I am really excited to return home.”

“Lindsey will be a huge addition to the Rainbow Wahine coaching staff,” Shoji said. “She has been a stellar player at all levels of volleyball and is now ready to take the next step as a coach of young women. She brings extensive knowledge from all her experiences from around the world and she has played for some of the best volleyball coaches in her career. I’ve known Lindsey since she was a small child and I know she will bring her competitiveness and toughness to our team. I look forward to working with her this year.”

Berg will take the place of another three-time U.S. Olympic team setter from Hawai’i, Robyn Ah Mow-Santos, who resigned after the 2015 season following her husband’s military reassignment to Nevada.

Pestolesi also returns to Hawai’i with a wealth of experience. He will be taking a five-month sabbatical as the head coach of the women’s indoor volleyball team at Irvine Valley College this season for the opportunity to serve as a volunteer coach under his former coach and mentor, Shoji.

After playing two seasons at Long Beach State from 1979-80, Pestolesi transferred to Hawai’i where he earned All-America honors in his junior and senior years under Shoji, who was the UH men’s volleyball head coach from 1979-85. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from UH in 1983 and also earned his master’s degree from Long Beach State in 1989. Pestolesi played for the U.S. team at the World University Games in Bucharest, Romania in 1981 before beginning his coaching career.

Pestolesi coached at a trio of high schools and then for the Professional Beach 4’s Tour before starting the IVC men’s volleyball program in 1991. Since that time, Pestolesi has served many roles at Irvine Valley College. He won three state championships as the head men’s volleyball coach from 1991-94 and 1999-2009 with a career record of 163-95. Pestolesi has been the head women’s volleyball coach since 1998 with a career record of 302-102. He has led the Lasers to 17 consecutive state playoffs and to a state championship title in 2014-led in part by current Rainbow Wahine middle hitter Annie Mitchem who was a two-time AVCA national two-year college Player of the Year at IVC.

Pestolesi then started the IVC women’s beach volleyball program as the head coach in 2010 and at the same time introducing it as an intercollegiate sport to the California Community Colleges. His beach teams have earned a 20-1 record against community colleges and the Lasers were the ICCCAA state champions in 2015 and the state runners-up in 2016.

During his time at IVC, Pestolesi also spent time as a coach with several of the U.S. National teams. He was the USA Men’s and Women’s Training Coach from 2008-13 and was an assistant on the women’s indoor team, winning a gold medal at the 2012 Pan Am Cup (Juarez, Mexico); silver medal at the Final Four in 2009 in Lima, Peru; and a fourth place finish in the NORCECA Tournament in 2009 in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

Pestolesi is married to Diane Sebastian Pestolesi, who is considered to be the first blue-chip mainland recruit for Shoji and his young program in 1978. Sebastian Pestolesi was the starting middle blocker for the 1979 AIAW national championship team and named to the all-tournament team. She was a three-time AIAW All-American (1978-80) and the 1980 Broderick Award winner as the nation’s top collegiate volleyball player. A U.S. national team member, she was named the 1981 Hawai’i state female athlete of the year and in 2013 she was inducted into UH’s Circle of Honor. The two have three children who reside in Huntington Beach, Calif.

“I am extremely excited and honored to come back to Hawai’i to work with Coach Shoji and his staff and the players. It is great to be back at UH.” said Pestolesi.

“Tom will bring experience and expertise to the program.” says Shoji. “He has coached at every level of volleyball, including stints with the U.S. National teams. He and I have kept in touch over the years and I know he understands the ins and outs of our program.”

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