May 28, 2010
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Already regarded as the most highly touted recruiting class in the history of the University of Tennessee volleyball program, PrepVolleyball.com confirmed that belief on Thursday, ranking it as the fourth best in the nation. The talented class of 2010 features four student-athletes, including two from Tennessee and a pair of Illinois natives.
The Lady Volunteers hold the top-rated class in the Southeastern Conference and are one of only two league schools to make the list of 30 teams. UT also earned recognition from PrepVolleyball.com in 2006 and 2008, when its recruiting classes were ranked eighth and 13th in the nation, respectively.
The rankings assess classes based on their predicted immediate and long-term impact to their respective programs. The top 10 classes for 2010, in order, are: Southern California, Penn State, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Virginia and Hawaii. LSU was the only other SEC school to make the top-30, coming in at No. 27 on the list.
"I can't wait to get this class into our gym," UT Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "They will have an impact the moment they step on the court. A lot of hard work went in to putting this class together and our recruiting coordinator Gregg Whitis deserves a majority of the credit for identifying and recruiting the talent to fill the current and future needs of our program.
"It's great to see that Tennessee is being recognized for bringing some of the best prospects in the nation to our program. This can only help us in the future, both on the court and in recruiting as great players like to play with great players. We have a lot of outstanding teams here at Tennessee and our goal in every sport is to win national championships. In order to accomplish that, you need some of the best players and we feel that this class will help us get closer to reaching that goal."
Joining the Big Orange for the upcoming season are outside hitters Kelsey Robinson and Carly Sahagian, both from Bartlett, Ill., as well as setter Kylann Scheidt and libero/defensive specialist Ellen Mullins, from Knoxville and Nashville, respectively.
"I'm very excited about this class because they are all very good prospects and their best days are ahead of them," Whitis said. "Their best volleyball will be played over the next four years at Tennessee. The other thing that excites me is that their individual talents match the needs of our program and they all fit in well with our current players.
"There is a lot to sell here at Tennessee. The commitment that the women's athletics department makes to each and every sport provides us with something unique that no other school in the country can offer. Add in the fact that Rob has built the program to such a high level and we are the most recent Final Four participant in the Southeast, including both the SEC and ACC, and that resonates with recruits. That combination of commitment and success, along with outstanding weather and great competition makes Tennessee a very attractive place to play volleyball."
Ranked No. 19 on the PrepVolleyball.com Senior Aces list, Robinson is a 6-2 outside hitter that spent her high school career at Wheaton-St. Francis, where she was a three-year starter and two-time captain for the perennial Illinois high school power. Robinson led the Spartans to state titles in 2006 and 2007, an Elite Eight berth in Class 3A in 2008 and a Sweet 16 appearance last fall. She was named captain of the Daily Herald All-Area Team and was a first-team selection to the Chicago Sun Times' all-area squad as well. In addition, she was a four-year academic all-conference award winner and finished as the school's all-time leader in kills.
A 6-1 outside hitter from Bartlett High School, Sahagian is rated as the 32nd-best senior in the country by PrepVolleyball.com. A three-time all-area selection and four-year starter for the Hawks, she led the Fox Valley region in kills as a senior with 422 putaways. Following a junior campaign in which she guided Bartlett to a 21-12 record Sahagian was named second team all-state by the Champaign News-Gazette and unanimously voted an All-Upstate Eight Conference choice. In 2007, she was selected to train and compete with the USA Volleyball High Performance Select A1 program in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Both Robinson and Sahagian have played alongside each other for the past two seasons as teammates on the Sports Performance Volleyball Club's 16 and 18-Elite squads. In the summer of 2008, they helped their 16s squad finish third at the Junior Volleyball Directors Association (JVDA) Championships and fifth at the AAU national tournament. This past club season, Robinson and Sahagian paced the 18s team to a placement of third at AAUs and second at the JVDA national tournament.
The first signee from Knoxville in Patrick's 13-year tenure at Rocky Top, Scheidt prepped at Farragut High School where started for three seasons, earning captain status as a senior. Originally from Firth, Nebraska, she played her freshman campaign at Norris High, claiming all-state honorable mention and top newcomer awards.
Ranked No. 21 on PrepVolleyball.com's Senior Aces chart, Scheidt has spent the past three seasons with the Lady Admirals and joined the Tennessee program in January. As a sophomore at Farragut, the 6-0 setter was named the District 4-AAA Newcomer of the Year and was a member of the region all-tournament team. Just one year later, she led her squad to a 48-7 record and the sectional round of the playoffs, picking up all-state accolades, earning MVP honors in the district and region tournaments and being selected as the Knoxville News Sentinel's 2008 PrepXtra Player of the Year.
During her senior season, Scheidt was a nominee for the Gatorade Player of the Year after guiding the Lady Ads to their third straight district title and a 41-10 record. She also took home league MVP accolades for the second consecutive season and was awarded High School All-American honors by both Under Armour and ESPN RISE. Scheidt has spent time with USA Volleyball's Junior National Training Team in Chula Vista, Calif., in each of the past two years as well.
A 5-6 libero/defensive specialist, Mullins spent her prep career at Father Ryan High School in Nashville where she became the first player in school history to start every match for four consecutive seasons while leading the Lady Irish to the state championships each year and earning team MVP honors in both 2008 and 2009.A four-time all-state and all-region performer, she has earned numerous honors from PrepVolleyball.com, claiming "Highest Honorable Mention" All-American status and being named to the Senior Top 150 list in 2009. She was also a part of the web site's "Defensive Dandies" list from 2006-09.
A finalist for the Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year last season, Mullins was previously named the "Libero of the Year' by The Tennessean in 2007 and was a four-time All-Midstate honoree by the newspaper from 2006-09 as well. She was also a standout on the Nashville One and Impact Volleyball Club teams during her prep years.
Tennessee will open its 2010 schedule by hosting the eighth annual Comcast Lady Vol Classic at Thompson-Boling Arena, Aug. 27-28. The Lady Vols will welcome Xavier, Chattanooga and Virginia Tech to Rocky Top for the two-day competition.
|2010 Lady Vol Volleyball Signees|
|Name||Ht.||Position||Hometown/High School/Club Team|
|Ellen Mullins||5-6||L/DS||Nashville, Tenn./Father Ryan H.S./Impact VBC, Nashville One|
|Kelsey Robinson||6-2||OH||Bartlett, Ill./Wheaton-St. Francis/Sports Performance|
|Carly Sahagian||6-1||OH||Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett H.S./Sports Performance|
|Kylann Scheidt||6-0||S||Knoxville, Tenn./Farragut H.S./Smokey Mountain Juniors|