Volleyball Inks Three for 2017-18 Season
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG volleyball head coach Corey Carlin has announced the additions of three players for the incoming 2017-18 academic year. Maria Esch, Giana Rasmussen, and Holly Behrends will be joining the volleyball program next season. This year’s class features student-athletes from Virginia, Utah and Illinois, and will add two outside hitters, and a setter.
Esch joins the squad after a highly decorated prep career at Jamestown High School in Williamsburg, Va. The outside hitter has earned four letters under head coach Tom Stephenson. She has been a four-time all-Bay Rivers District first team selection, including earning the conference Player of the Year award in 2015. She is a three-time first team all-region selection. As a freshman, she was second team all-state. She has earned Virginia 4A first team all-state honors twice. Esch has also earned her region’s player of the year. She was named to the Under Armour All-American watch list earlier this fall.
Esch and the Jamestown Eagles were the Virginia 4A state runners-up in 2013, 2015, and 2016. 2014 Esch and the Eagles were the 4A state semifinalists. Jamestown earned the sportsmanship award in the 2016 after falling to Loudon County in four sets in the state championship match.
Esch has earned a multitude of academic honors including, National Honor Society President, English National Honor Society President, a member of Mu Alpha Theta, member of the French National Honor Society and is a Freshman Orientation student captain.
She plans to major in English while attending UNCG.
Giana Rasmussen, a setter from American Fork, Utah, will be joining the Spartans in 2017-18. Rasmussen has earned two letters prior to this season at Pleasant Grove High School in Pleasant Grove, Utah. She has earned all-state and all-region honors, as well as earning a place on the Under Armour All-American Watch List. She was Max Preps Player of the Week (Sept. 12) earlier this season. Rasmussen holds the Pleasant Grove High record for career assists (1,178), and highest career setting-percentage (.446). Rasmussen has helped lead the Pleasant Grove Vikings to two state championships and a pair of runner-up finishes.
For her club career, Rasmussen has played for Club V out of Woods Cross, Utah under coach Reed Carlson for seven seasons. As a four-year captain, Rasmussen led Club V to three-straight Utah Power League State Championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
She is a member of the Pleasant Grove Honor Roll. Her parents, Neil and Becky Rasmussen both were collegiate athletes. Neil played soccer, while Becky participated in track and field, both at Southern Utah University. She plans to major in Kinesiology while at UNCG.
Holly Behrends, an outside hitter, will also join UNCG for the 2017-18 academic year. Behrends earned four letters at Oswego High School in Oswego, Ill. During her prep career, she earned her team’s Most Valuable Player honor three times, and was named Southwest Prairie Conference three times. She holds Oswego High records in career kills (765), career blocks (149), and career digs (671).
In her club career, Behrends competed with Sports Performance (SPVB) out of Aurora, Ill. for four seasons. She played as a middle hitter from 2012-2015, before transitioning to an outside hitter in 2015. With SPVB, she was an AAU All-American, as well as earning 2016 Mizuno Presidents Day Challenge All-Tournament team honors. With Behrends leading the squad, SPVB earned 2013-14 AAU Open Runners-up, and third place in AAU Open in 2015-16.
She is a member of the National Honor Society, and has earned High Honor Rolls marks during her prep career.
She is the daughter of Scott and Karen Behrends. Scott played collegiate basketball at Bradley University and USC-Aiken. She has two brothers, Bradley and Jeffrey. She plans to major in kinesiology while attending UNCG.
UNCG finished the 2016 season with an 18-13 overall mark, and 11-5 in Southern Conference action. The Spartans earned the second seed in the SoCon tournament, the highest seed UNCG has earned in the tournament. After defeating Western Carolina in the opening round of the tournament, UNCG fell in a hard-fought match with the Chattanooga Mocs in the semifinals.