August 13, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee volleyball program and head coach Rob Patrick have announced the final additions to the 2013-14 squad that already acquired three national top-50 recruits this past December.
Setter Abby Brewer, setter Lexi Dempsey, outside/rightside hitter Kayln Helton, setter Brooke Speyerer, defensive specialist Bridgette Villano and middle/rightside hitter Carly Wishlow complete the roster for the upcoming campaign.
"I'm very excited about the group of young ladies we have joining our team," Patrick said. "They bring a lot more collegiate experience than we would normally have in our incoming players. They are physical and all have a high volleyball I.Q."
"This group of newcomers has the ability to play very early in their careers at Tennessee. One of the biggest hurdles for incoming high school players is being physical and strong enough, especially to compete against young ladies who have been playing collegiately for two or three years. This is a group that I think can really come in and add to our team from the start."
The six players join December signees Raina Hembry, Jamie Lea and Ashley Mariani.
|2013 Tennessee Volleyball Newcomers|
|Abby Brewer||S||6-2||Paradise Valley, Ariz. (Chaparral HS)|
|Lexi Dempsey||S||5-10||Palm Springs, Calif. (Portland)|
|Kalyn Helton||OH/RS||6-1||Hixson, Tenn. (Lee)|
|Brooke Speyerer||S||5-8||Winter Haven, Fla. (Pace)|
|Bridgette Villano||DS||5-8||Davie, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas HS)|
|Carly Wishlow||RS/MH||6-2||Calgary, Alberta (UTSA)|
Abby Brewer, S (Paradise Valley, Ariz.)
Brewer, a 6-2 setter hailing from Arizona, was a three-year letterwinner at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., where she earned all-state and all-city honors as a senior. A three-time all-region honoree, she earned MVP honors with the Firebirds all three seasons. Brewer played club with Arizona Sky, Club Red and Revolution, in which both Arizona Sky and Revolution were ranked as the top team in the state of Arizona while she played. She also lettered in softball at Chaparral High School, earning MVP honors. Brewer is the youngest of five athletic siblings, all of who have played at the Division I level.
Coming from the thriving volleyball scene in southern California, Dempsey spent the 2012 season at the University of Portland in Portland, Ore., where she appeared in all 30 matches as a freshman. The 5-foot-10 setter ranked second on the team with 403 assists for an average of 3.66 helpers per set. She posted four matches with 20 or more assists, including a career-best 24 helper effort in a five-set win over UNLV (Sept. 1), which the Pilots hit a season-best .308. At Palm Springs High School in Palm Springs, Calif., she was a three-year letterwinner and captain for the Indians, leading the program to three-straight Desert Valley League titles. She played for 951 Elite club team from 2010-12, and also participated in the 2010 Junior Olympics and the 2011 AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships.
Helton joins the UT program after playing two seasons on the collegiate level, spending the 2012-13 season at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., and the 2011-12 campaign at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., where she was named Conference Freshman of the Year. A 2011 graduate of Red Bank High School in Chattanooga, Tenn., Helton broke the school record with 978 kills in one season en route to earning District and Region MVP honors as a senior. She led the team to runner-up at the state championships her senior season, and the state title with a program-best 56-10 record as a junior.
Originally from Winter Haven, Fla., Speyerer brings two years of collegiate experience to the Lady Vol program after spending the previous two seasons at Pace University in Pleasantville, N.Y. She appeared in 62 matches for Pace, including starting at setter in 35 of those during her sophomore season. She led the squad with 1,167 assists for an average of 8.91 helpers per set in 2012, a mark that ranked ninth in the Northeast-10 Conference. She also helped the Setters rank second in the league in assists (11.27) and kills per set (12.15) last year. During her high school career at Lake Region High School in Eagle Lake, Fla., Speyerer was a four-year letterwinner and senior captain, while also playing club volleyball for the Southern Select Volleyball Club, which ranked in the top five in Florida.
Another Floridian joining the Lady Vols, Villano comes in ranked as one of PrepVolleyball.com's top 250 recruits in the class of 2013. An AVCA Under Armour All-American Honorable Mention honoree, Villano was a four-year letterwinner at legendary St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where she helped guide the Raiders to the Florida 7A State Championship match, finishing as the runner-up her senior year and a semifinalist her junior season. She led St. Thomas Aquinas to four district championships and two regional championships en route to earning Mizuno/Volleyball Magazine third team All-American honors. Villano was a part of the Boomers Volleyball Club, which placed ninth at the 2011 AAU Nationals. In addition to her volleyball athleticism, Villano was also a two-year track & field letterwinner at St. Thomas Aquinas, winning the Florida 4A high jump and long jump district championships and going on to place 12th in the state championships in both events.
Wishlow joins Tennessee after spending two seasons playing for the Roadrunners at UTSA in San Antonio, Texas. She appeared in 18 matches and helped lead UTSA to the Southland Conference Tournament championship match and Western Athletic Conference Tournament in her two seasons. She compiled 15 kills, 10 blocks and seven digs in 27 total sets for the Roadrunners, while posting a career-best four kills against Idaho (Nov. 20) and UT-Arlington (Oct. 6) during her sophomore campaign. At Aberhart High School in Calgary, Alberta, Wishlow was a three-year starter and captain on the front row. She led the Orange to back-to-back city and provincial championships in 2010 and 2011, while being named Aberhart's Most Valuable Player in 2011 and Rookie of the Year in 2009. Wishlow played club volleyball for Dino Women's Volleyball Club from 2008-11, where the squad placed fifth at Division I Canada Nationals in 2010 and 2011. She also played for Team Alberta, winning the Western Canada Challenge Cup in 2009 and taking second at the National Canadian Challenge Cup in 2010.