On the rise: athletes to watch this year

Football

Trevor Davis

Trevor-Pland

The 6-foot-2 junior wide receiver transferred from Hawaii last year, but had to sit out for one season per NCAA rules. He’s already listed as one of seven starters at wide receiver on Cal’s depth chart, and will certainly see a lot of playing time on a team that threw the ball almost 200 more times than it ran it last season. Davis never saw a full season at University of Hawaii, but caught passes for five touchdown passes and 601 yards between 2011 and 2012 with the Rainbow Warriors.

Volleyball

Christina Higgins

Christina-Higgins

With outside hitter Adrienne Gehan graduating, Christina Higgins will now have the opportunity to carry the Bears’ offense. Her 3.52 kills per set ranked second on the team in 2013, and her .292 hitting percentage is impressive for someone who swings at the ball as much as she does. She’s also involved in the blocking game, with .75 blocks per set that ranked third on the team last year. Higgins was also named to the preseason All-Pac-12 team earlier this month, the only Cal player to receive that honor.

Men’s Soccer

Stefano Bonomo

stefano-Bonomo

Bonomo was only the third-highest scorer for the Bears last year, but with the two players ahead of him graduating, he moves in as the top offensive option for Cal. His impact on Cal’s offense can’t be overstated — he also took the most shots of anyone in 2013 but only made 17 percent of them, despite putting 59 percent of those shots on goal. Converting at a higher rate will be critical for the senior forward and the Bears as a whole moving forward as they try to replicate the Elite Eight run Cal had last season.

Women’s Soccer

Ifeoma Onumonu

Ifeoma-Onumonu

The conference freshman of the year in 2012 was named to the Pac-12 second team last year. Onumonu knocked in 8 goals last year and 11 the year before, and she’s already put one into the net in the first two games of this season. Statistically, she declined almost across the board between her freshman and sophomore years, but still did enough to lead the team in goals last season. Even if she can’t get recreate the gaudy numbers from that freshman season, Onumonu is still a critical component to Cal’s attack.

Women’s Swim

Elizabeth Pelton

Elizabeth-Pellon

Don’t get caught up in the Missy-fever and forget about the other talented players on this team that finished 3rd in the NCAAs last season. Pelton, a junior, already has gold medals from the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, and was the 2013 NCAA Swimmer of the Year as a freshman. She’s primarily a backstroker, which actually puts her in competition with Missy Franklin. It might not seem like it when the swimmers jump in the water, but swimming at the college level is a team sport, and Pelton is a key piece to the Bears’ recent success.

Riley McAtee is a senior staff writer. Contact him at [email protected].