May 25, 2011
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - For the second straight year, the Tennessee volleyball program will welcome the top recruiting class in the SEC and one of the best in the nation to Rocky Top, as PrepVolleyball.com has ranked the incoming Lady Vol class No. 8 in the county, the website announced on Wednesday.
"We are extremely excited about the talent and athleticism within this recruiting class," UT Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "It is a very skilled and driven group that should provide an immediate impact on our program. The attribute that stands out to me the most with this class is its work ethic. Each of these players have spent a lot of time in the gym above and beyond what is normally required to hone their abilities to the highest level.
"I would also like to commend (assistant coach) Gregg Whitis for the hard work he has put in on the recruiting front as the point-person in all of our recruiting efforts. To compete for championships, you first have to first secure great talent and that something I think we've been able to do over the past couple of years."
The talented 2011 group features four student-athletes, including the No. 4 prospect in the nation. Last year, PrepVolleyball ranked the Lady Vol class as the country's fourth-best. UT also earned recognition from PrepVolleyball.com in 2006 and 2008, when its recruiting classes were ranked eighth and 13th in the nation, respectively.
Tennessee holds the top-rated class in the SEC and is one of five league schools to make the list of 30 teams. Florida came in eight spots below the Big Orange at No. 16, while LSU was ranked 18th, Kentucky placed 28th and Georgia came in at No. 29.
The rankings assess classes based on their predicted immediate and long-term impact to their respective programs. The top 10 classes for 2011, in order, are: Texas, Penn State, Illinois, Washington, UCLA, California, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Pepperdine and Southern Cal.
Joining the Lady Vols for the upcoming season are outside hitter/middle blocker Tiffany Baker of Carrolton, Texas, middle blocker Shealyn Kolosky from Wheaton, Ill., defensive specialist Nikki Brice from Fullerton, Calif., and setter Mary Pollmiller, a native of Littleton, Colo.
Headlining the class is Baker, the MaxPreps National Player of the Year. She led Hebron High School to a 44-7 record and the Class 5A state title this past season, recording 661 kills, 296 digs and 276 blocks. A First Team All-State selection, she was also MVP of the Class 5A state tournament and earned state player of the year honors from the Dallas Morning News, the Texas Girls Coaches Association and The Gatorade Company and ESPN Rise.
Baker, who is already the highest-ranked recruit to sign with the University of Tennessee after being rated as the nation's fourth-best prospect by PrepVolleyball.com, also participated in the Under Armour All-America Volleyball Match and Skills Contest last December.
Set to become the second Lady Vol from Wheaton Warrenville South High School is Kolosky who will follow in the footsteps of former Tiger Annie Sadowski who played at UT from 2003-06. Ranked No. 83 on PrepVolleyball.com's Senior Aces list, she also joined Baker on the AVCA Under Armour All-America Watch List.
Named one of the top 50 players in the Chicago area by the Chicago Sun Times, Kolosky finished her senior season with totals of 375 kills, 163 blocks and 37 aces. She is also a member of the same club team that current Lady Vols Kelsey Robinson and Carly Sahagian played for, as she competes on the Sports Performance 17-Mizuno squad. This past June, she led the team to a ninth-place finish at the AAU Junior National Championships in Orlando, Fla.
Brice joined the Tennessee program in January following a standout career at Troy High School in Fullerton, Calif. She led the Warriors to an 85-8 record over the last three seasons, including 35-3 mark last fall, after guiding her squad to the 2AA CIF semifinals in each of the last two campaigns and the quarterfinals in 2008. She averaged 6.02 digs per set as a senior with a total of 602 scoops.
Listed as one of the top 250 recruits in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com, Brice was named all-league as a sophomore and both all-league and all-county as a junior. She also serves as the team captain for her club team, TCA So Cal 17-Black, which she led to a silver medal at the 2009 AAU Junior Olympics and a bronze medal in 2007.
Pollmiller ranked 93rd on the PrepVolleyball.com "Senior Aces" list, was a two-year captain at Chatfield High School where she guided her squad to district and league championships in 2009. She was also named to the Jefferson County All-Conference First Team as both a junior and senior after earning second-team honors her sophomore season, in addition to being tabbed a 2010 5A honorable mention all-state selection by the Denver Post.
As a senior, Pollmiller tallied 168 kills, a .336 hitting percentage, 33 blocks, 143 digs and 29 service aces for the Chargers. She is also a member of the Juggernaut Volleyball Club which she helped lead to a Rocky Mountain Region championship in 2010.
Tennessee will open its 2011 schedule by hosting the ninth annual Comcast Lady Vol Classic at Thompson-Boling Arena, Aug. 26-27. The Lady Vols will welcome Maryland, Villanova and Ohio to Rocky Top for the two-day competition.
|2011 Lady Vol Volleyball Signees|
|Tiffany Baker||6-3||OH/MB||Carrolton, Texas||Hebron HS||Dallas Premier|
|Nikki Brice||5-8||DS||Fullerton, Calif.||Troy HS||TCA SoCal|
|Shealyn Kolosky||6-3||MB||Wheaton, Ill.||Wheaton Warrenville South HS||Sports Performance|
|Mary Pollmiller||5-11||S||Littleton, Colo.||Chatfield HS||Juggernaut VBC|