UT Volleyball Welcomes Final Additions to 2013-14 Squad

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.

For more information about Tennessee volleyball, follow @LadyVol_Vball on Twitter or visit UTSports.com/volleyball. You can also `like' the team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/utvolleyball.

2013 Tennessee Volleyball Newcomers
PlayerPos.Ht.Hometown (School)
Abby BrewerS6-2Paradise Valley, Ariz. (Chaparral HS)
Lexi DempseyS5-10Palm Springs, Calif. (Portland)
Kalyn HeltonOH/RS6-1Hixson, Tenn. (Lee)
Brooke SpeyererS5-8Winter Haven, Fla. (Pace)
Bridgette VillanoDS5-8Davie, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas HS)
Carly WishlowRS/MH6-2Calgary, 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.

Patrick on Brewer: "Abby is a very experienced setter coming out of Arizona where she was in the Arizona junior club and high school ranks. She's somebody that comes from a very athletic family, as all of her siblings have been very successful at a Divison I level and above. We're looking for her to come in and bolster our setting position. It's going to be very important for us to have three setters in our program as we have shown that we play a 6-2 quite a bit the last three or four years. Abby has an ability to play at a very high level really early in her career."

Lexi Dempsey, S (Palm Springs, Calif.)

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.

Patrick on Dempsey: "Lexi is someone we recruited out of high school, so we've been able to evaluate her and observe her play. She has the ability to set at a high level, but she can also attack the ball. That's something I'm excited about utilizing in our practices and maybe even our matches. She has a great personality. She comes in with experience also, at a collegiate Division I level. We're excited about having someone with that type of experience join our program."

Kalyn Helton, OH/RS (Hixon, Tenn.)

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.

Patrick on Helton: "Kalyn is a native Tennesseean who actually looked at our program coming out of high school. We're familiar with her abilities and skill level. We're excited about her joining the team as she will add quite a bit of depth, not just as a front row hitter on the right and left sides, but she has the ability to play in all six rotations. She will be a force in the back row as well with her passing and digging skills."

Brooke Speyerer, S (Winter Haven, Fla.)

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.

Patrick on Speyerer: "Brooke was able to join us this spring and has really helped us practice some of the things we need to get better at. She came in and was able to learn the tendencies of our hitters, learn the offense and our tempo. She has two years of collegiate experience at the setting position, which will prove useful in our tough SEC Conference."

Bridgette Villano, DS (Davie, Fla.)

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.

Patrick on Villano: "Bridgette is an elite athlete that we're excited to get on the court. She played mostly as an outside hitter during high school and her club career, which allowed her to learn the game at a very high level. She brings in quite a bit of experience and gives us a very athletic skill depth at our defensive specialist and libero positions. She's going to vie for playing time pretty early in her career."

Carly Wishlow, RS/MH (Calgary, Alberta)

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.

Patrick on Wishlow: "I'm excited about getting Carly on the court because she'll be a player who will allow the team to play at a high level because of the type of skills she brings. Her skill set isn't just in the front row as a blocker and hitter, but she can also handle the ball passing and on the first contact of digging. She is very important to our program as she comes in being able to play any of the three front row positions. Carly has a very high volleyball IQ, and is able to really understand the game."





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