GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG volleyball team has added Lauren Betlach and Katherine Santiago for the 2012 season, head coach Patrick Nicholas announced on Monday.
"I'm really excited about having Katherine and Lauren join us next season," said Nicholas. "The two players will add some special talents to our team. I think it will be fun to see how these two players develop as Division I volleyball players in the next few years. It is an exciting time right now for UNCG volleyball."
Betlach, a native of Phoenix, Ariz., was a four-year starter at Seton Catholic Preparatory School in Chandler, Ariz., for coach James Felton as an outside hitter. There she helped lead her team to four consecutive state championships. This season, her team swept every opponent 3-0 in the state playoffs.
She was named to the all-conference team the past three seasons and was a first-team all-state selection as a junior and senior. Betlach plays her club volleyball for Spiral Volleyball where her team placed fifth at the Junior Olympic Championships during the 2010-11 season. She was also a member of the Arizona Select High Performance team that won the bronze division at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships.
"Lauren is a nice picked for us from the west coast", said Nicholas. "She is a solid all-around outside hitter who can play on the front row and the back row for us. She is a smart and aggressive attacker who has a variety of shots that she can use to attack the whole court. Lauren's a very mature and easy going player who will fit in nicely with our team."
Santiago will come to the Spartans from San Juan, Puerto Rico where she played at Colegio Adianez for coach Eduardo Morales. The libero and defensive specialist played all four seasons on the varsity team and was named to the all-star team at the Puerto Rico Junior Nationals.
She played her club volleyball for the Puerto-Rican based VB Rags where her 16-1 team finished seventh in the 16-open division at the USA Volleyball Junior Olympics.
"We are really excited about Katherine as she gives us another high level libero," said Nicholas. "She has played some high-level volleyball in Puerto Rico and played some great club ball over there and in the U.S. Her reading, serve receive and defensive skills are incredible. Adding her to a group with (reigning SoCon Libero of the Year) Kellie (Orewiler) is pretty exciting and she is another special personality that will blend in well with our current volleyball family."
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