Five set to join UNCG for the 2011 volleyball season
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG volleyball squad has added Holland Hoefnagel, Emily McMurtrey, Kelsey Sidney, Chelsea Evans and Brittany Morris for the 2011 season, coach Patrick Nicholas announced on Tuesday.
"This is an exciting class, a really, really exciting class," said Nicholas. "This is our second class that (former assistant coach) Laura (Tomes) and I brought in, but unlike last year we had an entire year to work on this class. This class is going to be exciting. We lost some really good players, but we're bringing in some really young ones. We are going to be really young next year, but these kids are hungry to play and they're going to make some serious pushes for some starting positions."
Hoefnagel, a native of St. Augustine, Fla., was a four-year letterwinner and starter for coach CJ Sherman at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, Fla. where she was a two-time all-state honoree. She also earned all-area, all-conference and all-county honors twice during her career at Nease.
Not only was Hoefnagel a tremendous individual star, she helped lead her team to great heights in
her four seasons. She finished her career with a 108-13 record during her four years and was part of the 2008 team that won the 4A state championship. Her team also claimed the district title all four years, including never dropping a district match in her career, and earned two regional titles, as well.
Hoefnagel's success wasn't limited to her high school team, she also found success on the club level playing for the Jacksonville Juniors Volleyball Association. This past summer, Hoefnagel helped lead her team to the 2010 USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championship in Reno, Nev.
"Holland is an outside hitter from outside of Jacksonville, Fla. that I think will improve us at the outside hitter position," said Nicholas. She does some nice off speed stuff with the ball and has great control of the ball, as well. She played right side in club, but left in high school, so she is going to help us as an outside hitter."
McMurtrey comes to UNCG after a successful playing career at Westminster Academy in Ft. Lauderdale for coach Katie McCrath. As a co-captain her senior year, McMurtrey was nominated for the class 2A State Player of the Year award. She was named to the Miami Herald All-County First-Team as a junior and senior and also earned all-conference honors both seasons. As a senior, she was named to the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel first team and earned second-team distinction as a junior.
Last summer, McMurtrey played for the Tribe Volleyball Club in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. for coach Carla Nicolson. She helped lead her team to a fifth place finish at the 2010 USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships, where her team fell to Hoefnagel's team in the semifinals. For her efforts, McMurtrey was named to the All-Tournament Team at the prestigious event.
McMurtrey is also a tireless worker in the classroom
as she is one of the top in her class and has a possibility to earn valedictorian honors at the conclusion of this semester. She is the treasurer of the National Honor Society and earned the class scholar athlete award the past three years, as well.
"Emily is a setter coming in from south Florida and is a great athlete," said Nicholas. "She is really, really athletic and I was impressed with what I saw while recruiting her and at our camp. She is a great leader who will make our setter position really competitive this fall. We already have two great setters here, but Emily is going to be a heck of a player and athlete in this conference."
Sidney, a 6-1 middle blocker, played volleyball all four years at Marquette High School for coach
Scott Szevery in Chesterfield, Mo. During her career at
Marquette, Sidney earned all-district honors and averaged nearly a block per game. This past season, Sidney helped lead her team to the District 7 title.
Kelsey also shined on the club level as she competed three years for the top club in St. Louis, Mo., Team Momentum, for coach Luke Young and coach Andrea Knapp. She was a three-year letterwinner in track, as well.
"Kelsey is a recruit Laura (Tomes) knew from summer camps she conducted in the Midwest," said Nicholas. "She is a very athletic player who's got a lot of ability and a ton of potential. She is a great student and has a really neat, outgoing personality that should mesh real well with our team. I'm really looking forward to working with her volleyball wise because she kind of fits the mold of some of the girls who have elevated this program – athletic with potential, but need a little more volleyball work."
Evans was a standout outside hitter at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio for coach Matt Mihelic all four years. After her senior season, Evans was named second-team All-Northcoast League and was also named to the honorable mention all-district team. As a freshman, sophomore and senior, Evans was named her team's offensive MVP.
She has also been recognized for her efforts off of the court as she was named the ABC 5 Student-Athlete of the Week during her junior season. During her senior season, she was a female athlete honoree by the Touchdown Club of Greater Akron.
Evans' teams also found success during her career as she led her team to a third place finish at the district championships this past season. As a junior, Evans and her teammates earned runner-up honors at the district championships. She also played five seasons for Varsity Elite Volleyball Club in Canal Fulton, Ohio, for coach Skip Blend.
"Chelsea came to our elite summer camp,
which was mostly players we were recruiting, but we weren't recruiting her at the time," said Nicholas. "During the camp, Chelsea really jumped out of the gym. She is a 5-9 outside hitter, but she really elevates on her approach. She did some work with some of the girls on our team at the camp and did really, really well. She is a great get for us."
Morris, a libero/defensive specialist from nearby High Point, N.C., comes to the Spartans after
playing all four years at Ragsdale High School for coach Audrey Gore. While at Ragsdale, Morris earned Piedmont Triad 4-A all-conference honors and was named honorable mention all-area.
She also earned her team's defensive award and helped
lead her team to runner-up honors in the Piedmont Triad 4-A conference. Morris also played one season of soccer and competed for a season in track as a junior. She played her club volleyball for the Piedmont Volleyball Club and Set Point Volleyball Club.
"Brittany is another player who came to our elite camp,
but we weren't recruiting," said Nicholas. "She is our defensive specialist in this class and is really good. She has fast, fast feet and impressed at camp. She was able to pick up on the stuff we were teaching very quickly and her athletic ability really shined. I'm excited that we were able to get another great ball control player. It is something we need in our program."
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