GRAND FORKS, N.D. - University of North Dakota head volleyball coach Ashley Hardee, who led his team to a third straight Great West Conference Tournament title this past fall, announced today that National Letters of Intent have been received from Naperville, Ill., native Lauren Clarke and Ft. Myers, Fla., native Chandler Spearman. Joining Clarke, Spearman and previous signees Chelsea Moser and Emily Thompson on the 2012 roster are Kayla Chezick, McKenzie Hart, Whitney Page, Jasmine Robinson, and Tiffany Strand.
"We will always be great in recruiting the best players in our own region, but with our recent success we have been able to reach out to places like Florida, Oregon and Illinois to secure some really good talent," Hardee said. "People around the country are starting to recognize UND as an elite volleyball program."
A 5-8 libero from Waubonsie Valley High School, Clarke led the Warriors to their third straight Upstate Eight Valley Conference championship and earned unanimous all-conference and Beacon-News All-Area Volleyball team special mention honors. Academically, she is a three-time academic all-conference honoree, a two-time Illinois Scholar and a member of the Dean's List. Clarke is also involved with the Aurora, Ill., Sports Performance club volleyball team.
"Lauren plays for one of the best clubs in the country and her experience will have her competing for a starting job right away," Hardee said.
A 6-1 outside hitter from Seacrest Country Day School, Spearman was named the FACA District 16 Player of the Year, was named to the Naples Daily News All-Area First Team, and was voted the team's most valuable player after leading Seacrest to the District 1A-10 title in 2010. Prior to her move to Seacrest, she helped lead Ft. Myers High School to a runner-up finish at the 2009 Florida State 4A High School Volleyball Tournament. Spearman is a five-year member of Team Florida High Performance where she has earned first gold as a starting middle blocker/outside hitter (2010), fourth gold as a starting middle blocker (2009), fifth gold as a starting middle blocker (2008), and first bronze as an outside hitter (2011).
"Chandler is a super athletic outside hitter that is going to help us fill the void left from Annika and Devin's graduation," Hardee said.
A 5-7 setter and three-year team captain from Champlin Park High School, Chezick earned all-conference honors as a senior and was an all-conference honorable mention honoree her junior year. She finished her career with over 2,000 assists and was ranked top ten in the metro region in that category. A member of the Minnesota One and Northern Lights club volleyball teams, Chezick led Minnesota One to a third-place finish at the 2009 American Division USA Volleyball Tournament championship and was named to the all-tournament team. She is a member of the National Honor Society and is involved in Link Crew.
"Kayla will help us in the back row and at the setter position," Hardee said. "She plays for a huge club in Minneapolis and comes in with a ton of experience."
A 5-8 middle/outside hitter from Langdon Area High School, Hart was named the 2011 North Dakota State Player of the Year, Regional Player of the Year, and District Player of the Year. A four-time all-district and three-time North Dakota Class B All-State honoree, she helped lead the Cardinals to a North Dakota Class B High School State championship in 2009 and 2011. Hart holds three records at LAHS (sets played, kills, last touch points), ranks top five in two other categories, and capped off her high school career by tallying her 2,000th kill and her 2,000th dig. She is also a four-year member of the A Honor Roll.
"McKenzie is a very smart player that comes from a championship caliber program in Langdon," Hardee said. "She can help us in many ways and may do so early."
A 5-10 middle blocker and native of Bottineau, N.D., Page is a three-sport athlete at Bottineau High School. A four-year letterwinner in volleyball, she was named the 2011 District 11 Volleyball Senior Athlete of the Year, the Region VI Volleyball Senior Athlete of the Year and was named to both the All-District 11 Team and the All-Region VI Team. Also strong academically, she received BHS' North Dakota High School Activities Association/US Bank Distinguished Student Award for the 2011-12 academic year.
"Whitney is an athletic player from Bottineau that will provide us some depth along the front row as she develops her game," Hardee said.
A local product from Red River High School, Robinson is a 5-5 libero/outside hitter who was forced to sit out her final season after suffering a season-ending knee injury. The Roughriders won the 2011 North Dakota state Class A volleyball Tournament after defeating Bismarck Century 3-2 in the title match.
"Jasmine is used to winning championships at Red River and we are excited that she will be healthy and up to full speed this fall," Hardee said.
A 6-1 middle blocker/right side hitter from Ada-Borup High School, Strand is one of four players in Ada-Borup volleyball history to reach 1,000 career kills. To cap off her high school career, she was named the 2011 Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Year and earned Pine-to-Prairie All-Conference honors and all-state and all-tournament accolades. In both her junior and senior year, she was voted the team's offensive MVP and led the team in solo blocks. An academic all-state honoree, Strand is a member of the National Honor Society.
"We've never had a lefty attacker since I've been here and Tiffany is physical and has a lot of tools," Hardee said. "She has the potential to be a fantastic player."
- Go Sioux -