June 3, 2013
PULLMAN - The Washington State volleyball program, under the direction of Head Coach Jen Greeny, has added one of the best recruiting classes in the nation according to PrepVolleyball.com's annual rankings released last week. The incoming Cougar class of six freshmen earned accolades as the 14th-best nationally and was one of seven Pac-12 programs ranked in the top 15 nationally, the highest rankings of any conference for 2013.
The Cougar volleyball incoming class for 2013 includes Emmy Allen, a 6-2 outside hitter from Mill Creek, Wash., Hailey Bethune, a 6-0 right side hitter from Stockton, Calif., Taylor Ellingsen, a 5-8 defensive specialist from Spokane, Wash., Kyra Holt, a 6-1 outside hitter from Hercules, Calif., Haley MacDonald, a 6-0 setter from Bothell, Wash., and Tani Stephens, a 5-8 defensive specialist from Albany, Ore.
"This ranking from an outside entity validates for us what we have believed all along: this group of recruits is quite the collection of talent and character who we are very eager to work with on a daily basis." Cougar Head Coach Jen Greeny said. "It is the fruit of our labor for the first two years on the job. Assistant Coach Burdette Greeny is turning into one of the best college volleyball recruiters around. He is able to show and articulate to recruits what our entire staff has always known about Washington State - how special of a place it is to be a volleyball player and how unique it is from any other program in the Pac-12. This class signals a beginning in many ways and will fit into the direction the returning group of players is heading. This 2013 class also is a taste of what's to come for the verbal commitments already given for multiple players in the 2014 and 2015 classes, two of which have been invited to participate on the USA Volleyball A1 National Teams respective to their age. We are very excited about the future of Washington State Volleyball."
PrepVolleyball.com is a site that features information about high school and club girls' volleyball. The PrepVolleyball.com CEO, John Tawa, uses a panel of college coaches from around the county to evaluate not only the size and strength of each recruiting class but also to gauge the impact that class will have on the collegiate program in the years to come.
Below is the PrepVolleyball.com description of the 2013 Cougar recruiting class with additional information included in parentheses: "This 2013 class signals the bright future in store for Washington State. It stands as quite possibly one of the best recruiting classes ever in any sport at Washington State and is the first real recruiting class for head coach Jen Greeny after her hire in late March of 2011. Of the six players, four were named some form of High School All-American, two were PrepVolleyball.com Senior Aces, one is a Gatorade State Player of the Year, and one, Allen, was named MVP for the Under-Armour High School All-America match at the Final Four this year.
"Allen (a 2012 PrepVolleyball.com High School All-American) is a player who will make an immediate impact on the program. She was one of only a handful of high school players invited to February's USA National Volleyball Team Open tryouts, where she made the top courts amongst mostly college players of the record 240 participants. (She was also invited to participate this summer on one of the USA Volleyball Junior National Teams respective to her age.) Allen possesses a very high volleyball IQ, is highly skilled, and driven to be the best.
"Holt, Senior Ace No. 44, has a chance to be an elite college volleyball player. She is a powerful attacker who just keeps getting better in every facet of her game. Holt was a member of the 17 Open All-Tournament Team at Nationals in Columbus last year. (She helped her Encore Volleyball Club earn an 18-Open bid for the Junior Olympics being held in Dallas, June 28-July 5.)
"Stephens (a 2012 PrepVolleyball.com High School All-American) will immediately push for playing time and will be a talent in the back row. A winner of the largest sand volleyball tournament in the world and Oregon's Gatorade State Player of the Year, she is someone who is skilled and instinctual who can do a little bit of everything.
"MacDonald will be groomed as the setter of the future and give WSU options at the position, with her capability to attack as a lefty and blocking skills.
"Bethune's game has continued to grow, complementing her already natural blocking ability. (Bethune was named Lincoln HS's Athlete of the Year. She helped her NCVC 18-1 club team earn an 18-Open bid for the Junior Olympics being held in Dallas, June 28-July 5.)
"Ellingsen, No. 1 academically out of 440 students in her class, is an athlete who will add valuable depth to the back row."