February 21, 1998
PULLMAN, Wash. - Four prep players and one junior college transfer have signed national letters of intent to play volleyball at Washington State University, Cougar coach Cindy Fredrick announced Saturday.
The 1998 incoming freshmen are: Marisa "Missy" Blackshire, a 5-11 middle hitter from Ferris High in Spokane, Wash.; Alicia Erickson, a 6-4 outside middle hitter from Douglas High in Minden, Nev.; Kristen Johnson, a 5-11 outside blocker from Olympia High in Olympia, Wash.; and Kali Surplus, a 6-1 setter from Gresham High, in Gresham, Ore. Joy Sperry, a 6-1 outside hitter from Wallace, Idaho, will join the Cougars in the Fall as a junior transfer from College of Southern Idaho.
"We said we needed five players to replace our four graduating seniors," Fredrick jested. "We're very excited about the Washington kids coming to us - one from the east side and one from the west side."
Missy Blackshire led the Ferris High volleyball to the state 4A championship last fall. She was the Greater Spokane League Most Valuable Player. Blackshire also was the 1997 state AAA 800m champion, running in a meet record time of 2:10.15.
Alicia (ah-LEE-sha) Erickson's honors included being selected 1997 Green Valley (Nev.) Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Desert Volleyball Invitational MVP, and most outstanding defensive player on her team. She carries and 3.6 GPA and travels to Los Angeles frequently to play on the ASICS West Club Volleyball Team.
Kristen Johnson's Olympia High volleyball team placed sixth in the state AAA championships last fall. She is a three-year letterwinner and was team captain as a senior. Johnson was named the Rivers League MVP and was named to the 1997 Tacoma News Tribune All-Area first team. She tied for fifth in the state AA high jump with a height of 4-10 and set school records in the high jump as well as career and single season blocking records in volleyball. Johnson carries a 3.6 GPA.
Kali (kay-lee) Surplus transferred from Burns High in Burns, Ore., to Gresham High prior to her senior year. While at Burns High, Surplus was named to first team all-league, all-tournament, all-state and team MVP during her freshman, sophomore and junior years. As a senior at Gresham High she earned first team all-league, all-tournament and all-state honors. Surplus plays on the Nike Northwest Club Volleyball team.
Joy Sperry's College of Southern Idaho team has won five consecutive National Junior College Championships. A native of Wallace, Idaho, Sperry was a starter on the 61-1 CSI team last fall.
"With the four freshmen coming in I like their versatility, Fredrick said. "I like the fact that we have two players in Alicia and Missy who can play middle and outside. I definitely like Alicia's height at 6-4 and watching her progress this spring in club volleyball has really been exciting for us; she's coming along beautifully and we're looking forward to what she can bring to the team.
"Missy Blackshire is just a tremendous athlete all the way around with her speed and her jumping ability. She's played middle and outside and most likely she'll play outside for us. We just think she brings a tremendous amount of athleticism to the team.
"Kristen Johnson is a lot like Missy in that both are track athletes and have great speed and great jumping ability. Kristen is probably going to redshirt her freshman season. She's on the club team that is coached by Stephanie Papke (WSU's 1996 All-American setter).
"Kali Surplus has the capabilities of playing setter for us and either a middle or outside hitter she is very skilled at all three positions. She's a good addition as a setter in that she has very good hands she has very good court-sense and she is 6-1 and has a real talent for hitting. She and Samantha Spink will compliment each other very well in the setting position.
"Joy will give us something on the outside we haven't had in a long time and that is good height. She is an extremely competitive player a very hard worker with a great work ethic."