June 2, 2010
PULLMAN, Wash. -- The Washington State University volleyball program welcomes four high school players and three college transfers who will join the team for the 2010 season, Head Coach Andrew Palileo announced Wednesday.
Transferring to Washington State are Madeline Dolny, a 5-8 junior setter from Moscow, Idaho and North Idaho College, Kaleinani Kabalis, a 5-7 junior outside hitter from Hilo, Hawaii, coming from West Nebraska Community College, and Vanessa Murray, a 6-0 senior outside hitter from Chatsworth, Calif., coming from Kansas State. They join incoming high school players Sarah Biondi, a 5-10 setter from Sacramento, Calif., Jordan Levenseller, a 5-9 outside hitter from Pullman, Wash., Annie Leendertsen, a 6-1 middle hitter from Palouse, Wash., and Scharae Steel, a 5-10 outside hitter from Reno, Nev.
"I am pleased with the mixture of youth and experience with the 2010 recruiting class," Palileo, the 2009 Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year said. "I give a lot of credit to our staff for their hard work and we are looking forward to building the chemistry and teamwork needed to compete in this conference. The three transfers will have the ability to contribute right away and I know their expectations are to help us get back to the NCAA tournament in 2010."
Dolny graduated from Moscow High and played two seasons at North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. She was selected to the NJCAA All-Region 18 honorable mention team in 2009. Dolny was a member of the Moscow High 29-0 state championship team in 2005. Dolny was selected the volleyball MVP of the Inland Empire League as a senior and was named Female Athlete of the Year by the North Idaho Hall of Fame.
Kabalis graduated from Moanalua High in Honolulu, and Western Nebraska Community College in Omaha. While in high school, Kabalis was a three-time first team all-state tournament selection and a three-time Honolulu Advertiser all-state first team selection. She was named the Oahu Interscholastic Association MVP as a senior and named to her high school's Athletic Hall of Fame. At Western Nebraska CC, Kabalis was an NJCAA and AVCA All-American, being named to each organization's second team as a freshman and first team as a sophomore. She tallied over 1,000 kills in her two seasons at Western Nebraska and was named to the All-Nebraska team. Kabalis has also trained with the USAV High Performance team and the US Girls Youth National Training team. Her mother, Carla Carpenter-Kabalis, was an all-star volleyball player at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and is a member of the school's Hall of Fame, the NAIA Volleyball Hall of Fame.
Murray graduated from Grant High in Chatsworth, Calif., and from Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif. At Grant High, Murray lettered in volleyball, basketball and track and field. She was a three-time Sunset Six League first team selection in volleyball and was the league MVP as a senior. Murray was selected Grant High Athlete of the Year twice. She was named first team all-conference while at Pierce College where the Brahmas' volleyball team won its seventh and eighth Western State Conference titles during her playing years. During the 2008 season, Pierce College had a 32-2 record, best in school history, and Murray was named to the All-Region team. At Kansas State in 2009, Murray was named to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll.
"I am excited to have Vanessa come in for her senior year and provide us with senior leadership, she is an aggressive and fearless hitter who will come in and use her experience to provide our program with consistency and energy from the outside position," Palileo said. "Kaleinani has had a great career at Western Nebraska Community College and we are looking forward to seeing her passion, intensity, energy and winning attitude to Washington State University. Her ball handling skills and ability to attack both front and back row will make it fun and exciting for our Cougar fans. We are fortunate to have found Madeline at North Idaho College so late in the recruiting process. I look forward to her competing for the setting position. She plays with a lot of energy and her leadership style on the court will be fun to watch."
Biondi was a three-year letterwinner on the volleyball team at Christian Brothers High in Sacramento. The Falcons won the Sierra Valley League titles in 2007 and in 2009. Last fall Biondi's squad compiled a 30-11 record, won the Section and Northern California Championships, and was runner-up at the California State Championship. Biondi was named to the Sacramento All-Metro honorable mention team. She has played club volleyball for the past five years and is currently on the Cal-Synergy Club 18-team, playing for Coach Matt McEvoy. Biondi has received recognition from her school for academics and has been an active volunteer in community service projects.
Levenseller has earned 10 varsity letters at Pullman High, competing on state championship caliber volleyball, basketball and softball teams. The Greyhounds volleyball team won the 2009 Washington state 2A championship. She was a first team All-Great Northern League selection in volleyball and basketball in both her junior and senior years. Levenseller won the WIAA State Championships Sportsmanship Award two times in both volleyball and basketball. She was awarded the 2009 Karen Johnson Doke Memorial Award. Her father, Mike, is a former Cougar and professional football player who coaches the wide receivers for the Washington State football team. He is member of the school's athletic Hall of Fame.
Leendertsen earned varsity letters in volleyball and track and field competing for Garfield-Palouse. She was twice named to the all-county first team volleyball team. In addition to sports, Leendertsen is the senior class president, the vice president of the National Honor Society and a High Honors Scholar. She and Levenseller play for Palileo on the PAC-V Kaepa Volleyball Club.
Steel was a four-year letterwinner playing volleyball for her coach and mother, Velvet Steel at Damonte Ranch High in Reno. She was a four-time first team All-Sierra League selection. As a freshman, the Mustangs won the Nevada 4A volleyball championship and Steel was a finalist for prepvolley.com for national Freshman of the Year. She became the first player from Damonte Ranch to be named first team all-league, all-region and all-state. Senior year she named Sierra League Player of the Year and nominated for Gatorade Player of the Year for Nevada. Steel has played on the TAVA-Hawaii 17s and 18s for coaches Edna Walker, Tita Ahuna, Colleen Tafai and Velvet Steel, and played for coach Jason Sterrett's Northern Nevada Juniors 18s.
"The freshman group of players will add depth to our team," Palileo said. "Sarah Biondi will compete and train for the setting position, Annie Leendertsen will give us another middle to train and develop, Jordan Levenseller will bolster our defensive specialist position with the ability to attack from the back row and Scharae Steel gives us another outside hitter to develop."
These signees join previous announced recruits Stephanie Hagins, a 6-4 middle blocker from Elverta, California, and Marcelina Glab, a 6-2 middle hitter from Watertown, South Dakota. Glab was the Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year for South Dakota.
The Cougar volleyball team, participants in the 2009 NCAA Championship Tournament, opens the 2010 season by hosting the Washington State Tournament, August 27-28, in Bohler Gym featuring Idaho, Weber State and UC Irvine.