Crusaders Ink Three to National Letters of Intent
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Valparaiso volleyball coach Carin Avery announced today that Andrea Balsis, Katie Layman and Tara Newton have signed National Letters of Intent and will join the Crusader volleyball program beginning with the 2007 season.

Balsis, a 5'7" outside hitter from Benton Harbor, Mich., has led Coloma High School to three consecutive Lakeland Conference championships. She has earned first team All-Conference honors in each of her three seasons as a member of the Comets, and was named to the All-District and All-Region teams last year as a junior. In addition, she has lettered in softball, basketball, track, and equestrian for Coloma, and was a member of the 2005-2006 state champion equestrian team.

?Andrea is a small but dynamic outside hitter," said Avery. ?She is a true gym rat with a love for the game of volleyball. She has a tremendous competitive fire that will be a great asset to our program."

Layman, a 6'0" middle blocker from LaPorte, Ind., is a four-year letterwinner at New Prairie High School. She has helped guide the Cougars to three Northern State Conference titles, and is a two-time All-Conference selection, along with being named to the LaPorte Herald Argus All-Area second team last year. Layman has also traveled with the Dunes Volleyball Club for four years, and was a member of the Dunes squad that won at the Asics Nationals earlier this year.

?Katie is a very athletic middle whose size and quickness make her a great addition for our program," said Avery. ?We are excited to bring in another local product, especially one who brings the amount of club experience that Katie does."

Newton, a 6'1" middle hitter/outside hitter from Indianapolis, Ind., is a two-time All-Conference honoree, and has been named the Flashes' team MVP each of the last two years. Newton received All-County accolades from the Marion County Coaches of Girls Sports Association last year, as well as being named to the Indy Star second team.

?Tara, much like Katie, is a very athletic and strong middle who brings a lot to our program," said Avery. ?She has shown rapid improvement in her game over the past year, making her a nice addition for our team."

?The athleticism this class brings to the table will help our program tremendously," said Avery about the three signees. ?They are all great student-athletes who will contribute immediately and help us as we compete for the Horizon League championship next year."