Volleyball Announces Recruiting Class

By Sara Brooks, Assistant Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6219

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University volleyball team has announced its incoming freshmen for the upcoming 2010 season. Seven new players will join the Bearcat roster.

Willamette finished the 2009 season 11-13 overall and 8-8 in the Northwest Conference. In the second half of conference play, the Bearcats went 6-2, losing their only two matches to nationally ranked University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University.

The Bearcats lost two players to graduation but return a group of key players. Molly Blankenship (OH, Spokane, WA/Spokane Falls CC), who will be the only senior on the squad, was an Honorable Mention All-NWC selection last season and is expected to lead the way for WU.

The seven incoming freshmen will come to Willamette from as close as West Salem High School and as far as Honolulu, Hawaii.

Meet the Class:

Carly Hargrave (6’1”, MH, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS)
Coach Shoji on Carly: She is an accomplished MH that brings a lot of athleticism and experience. She played for the Portland Volleyball Club’s best team and will use that knowledge to make an immediate impact on our team. We are counting on her to solidify our middle attack and really add to our defense with her blocking skills.

Emily Compton (5’8”, Setter, Portola, CA/Boise State)
Coach Shoji on Emily: Emily brings to us some great leadership skills and experience in the setting position. Although she did not play for Boise State, practicing with the team kept her focused. We look for her to challenge for the starting spot and she will provide that much needed depth in that position.

Shannon Waltz (6’1”, MH, Honolulu, HI/La Pietra School for Girls)
Coach Shoji on Shannon: Shannon has a ton of potential. She is very athletic and will bring a lot of experience through club volleyball in Hawaii. She will be another good one in this position.

Elizabeth Balding (5’3”, LIB, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School)
Coach Shoji on Elizabeth: ‘Lizzy’ is the typical Hawaiian volleyball player … lots of ball control skills, quick and competitive. She’ll also be a good team player and will be fun to be around. Lizzy comes from a volleyball family. Her father played men’s volleyball at Pepperdine University and coaches the boy’s volleyball team at Punahou School. Punahou has produced unbelievable talent in men’s volleyball.

Kirsten Brehmer (6’0”, MH/OPP, Evergreen, CO/Evergreen HS)
Coach Shoji on Kristen: Kirsten can play in multiple positions. She’s very athletic and has extensive club experience in Colorado. Her long arms and athletic ability will make her a good hitter and blocker. Look for her to really be a surprise.

Sydney Smith (6’0”, MH/OPP, Salem, OR/West Salem HS)
Coach Shoji on Sydney: Sydney played at the Salem Volleyball Club. She can play 2 different positions and will give us a lot of different options. She is a very hard worker and will give her best at all times.

Taylor Ottomano (5’10”, OH/OPP, Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS)
Coach Shoji on Taylor: Taylor is another player that can play multiple positions for us. We are mainly looking at her to solidify the OH position. She will also be participating in track and field at WU and is a solid athlete.

Outside hitter Molly Blankenship will lead the charge in 2010.

Outside hitter Molly Blankenship will lead the charge in 2010.