Valparaiso volleyball head coach Carin Avery announced today that five high school seniors have signed with the Crusaders during the early signing period. Rachel Bruinsma, Emily Campbell, Tarrah Lasky, Jamie Lacheta and Morganne Longoria will all join the Valpo program as freshmen for the 2013 season.
"Each of the five players coming in brings different strengths to the program, which combined together into one class, gives us an extremely talented freshmen recruiting class," said Avery. "We knew this class was an important one for the future of our program, since we are losing a big class after next season. We wanted this class here to be able to learn from our talented group of upperclassmen. This could be the most athletic group that we have had in my time here."
Bruinsma is an outside hitter from Western Michigan Christian H.S. in Muskegon, Mich. Bruinsma earned Second Team All-State honors as a senior this season, in addition to being named First Team All-Region, First Team All-Area and First Team All-Conference. As a junior, she was a Third Team All-State Selection and also earned All-Area and All-Conference accolades, while she earned Second Team All-Area notice as a sophomore in 2010. Bruinsma has also garnered numerous All-Conference and All-Area accolades in basketball as well, while the versatile athlete was also regional champion in the high jump in 2012.
"Rachel is a great multi-sport athlete," said Avery. "We are excited because Rachel is a very good player now, but we feel that once she is in our program and we get the chance to work with her, both on the court and in the weight room, college coaches are going to regret not getting her. She is long and athletic, and we are very excited about her ability to play many positions for us, which will make her an invaluable asset to this team."
Campbell is an outside hitter/right side from Forest Hills Central H.S. in Grand Rapids, Mich. Campbell was a First Team All-State honoree this year and earned First Team All-Region and First Team All-Conference honors in each of her three seasons. She had a breakout senior season, totaling 749 kills, 325 digs and 57 service aces while leading the Rangers to the regional final for the first time in 25 years. Among her 749 kills were three 30-plus kill matches, including a 39-kill performance, second-highest in a single match in Michigan high school history. Campbell has played club volleyball for Michigan Volleyball Academy, which she helped to a top-16 finish at the 2012 Junior National Championships.
"We got a steal with Emily in this recruiting class," said Avery. "She is a phenomenal athlete who will be able to do damage for us at either antenna. Emily had a great club season last year and topped it off with a unbelievable high school season. She has a fantastic jump and a great contact point when she swings, and she can also be a threat from the back row. She has worked hard at her back row skills and is maturing into a great all-around player. When we were recruiting, we were in need of a great all-around player, and we found a great one in Emily."
Lacheta is a outside hitter from Warsaw H.S. in Warsaw, Ind. A two-time All-Conference honoree, Lacheta helped lead the Tigers to a 27-6 record as a senior and an undefeated conference season while being named to the ICGSA Indiana North All-Star Senior team. Lacheta set new program single-match records this season for aces (19) and kills (32) and totaled better than 500 kills on the year.
"Jamie came to our camp this year, and the first time we saw her play, we were sold on her and we knew we had to have her," said Avery. "She may be one of the best athletes to ever come into our program. She was on a very successful high school team and she knows how to win. Jamie has an amazing jump and swing, reminding me of many great outsides that have come through the Horizon League. Her jump serve was one of the best among high school players in the state of Indiana this season."
Lasky is a setter from Valparaiso H.S. in Valparaiso, Ind. Lasky is a two-time First Team All-Area selection and twice helped the Vikings to sectional championships. She was also named to the ICGSA Indiana North All-Star Senior team in 2012 after being selected to the Junior squad in 2011. A three-time All-Conference honoree, Lasky holds program records for assists in a single season and in a career, as well as service aces in a single season.
"I'm super-excited to get our first-ever Valpo High recruit, and Tarrah is a good one," said Avery. "We have been able to watch her grow over the years into a very talented setter. She has been able to come to our camps over the years, and we have been able to see first-hand her many strengths. She has great hands, is very strong and though she is quiet and calm on the court, has a great competitiveness about her."
Longoria is a libero from Burlington H.S. in Burlington, Wis. Longoria earned First Team All-State honors as a senior, leading Burlington to its second consecutive Division 1 state championship. A two-time First Team All-County, three-time First Team All-Area and three-time First Team All-Conference selection, Longoria was named the All-Area co-Player of the Year and Racine County Player of the Year in 2012. She helped Burlington to state appearances in each of her four seasons, highlighted by state titles as a junior and senior and a selection to the State All-Tournament Team as a senior. Longoria has also been named to the Prep Volleyball "Defensive Dandies" list in each of the last two years.
"We have had our share of great liberos at Valpo, and Morganne will join that group when her time at Valpo is done," said Avery. "When we look for a libero, we look for certain qualities and Morganne has all of them. First and foremost, she knows how to win. She is a highly competitive player who has tremendous ablitly to handle the ball, has amazing footspeed and has a high volleyball IQ. I love her attitude and her competitiveness, and our fans are going to love watching her compete. This was an important recruit for us after losing Taylor Root, and Morganne is just the right person to fill those shoes."