HARRISONBURG, Va., Dec. 20, 2012 – James Madison volleyball head coach Lauren Steinbrecher announced the addition of four student-athletes to the program with each signing a national letter of intent during the NCAA’s fall signing period.
Joining the Dukes’ roster for the 2013-14 school year are middle blocker Conner Beightol (Richmond, Va./Deep Run), right side hitter Janey Goodman (Powhatan, Va./Powhatan), middle blocker Hanna Radhi (Gainesville, Va./Battlefield) and outside hitter Kate Whitmire (Alexandria, Va./T.C. Williams).
“I am thrilled to welcome the 2013 signing class to our volleyball family here at JMU,” Steinbrecher said. “This group is going to be a fantastic complement to our current roster. They have demonstrated exceptional ball control and passing over the past several years. Overall, this is the most physical class we have signed at JMU. Each of these four women brings a combination of power, quickness, and tremendous jumping ability. I can’t wait to see what this class contributes over the next four years.”
Beightol joins the Dukes out of Deep Run High School in Richmond, Va., and played her club ball with the U-Turn Sports Performance Academy. She was a three-year varsity letterwinner while twice being named to the First Team All-Colonial District. She is a two-time Second-Team All-Central Region selection. As a senior, Beightol averaged 15 kills, nine blocks and eight digs per match.
“Conner is a dynamic athlete with tremendous potential.” Steinbrecher commented. “She is going to be exceptional off one foot in the middle for us, as well as having the physical ability to close blocks and get over. Conner also excels in the classroom and brings a steady, mature personality to our team. She will work harder than anyone in the gym, and I have no doubt that Conner Beightol will be a force to reckon with in a few years.”
Goodman signed with Madison out of Powhatan High School in Powhatan, Va. She is the 2012 District Player of the Year and a First Team All-District and All-Region selection. She also added a Second Team All-District selection as a junior and won the Rising Indian Award as a sophomore. This season, Goodman collected 370 kills in just 620 attack attempts. She joined Beightol in playing her club ball at U-Turn Sports Performance Academy.
Steinbrecher commented, “Janey has the potential to come in and make an immediate impact on the right side this fall. She has the physical talent to completely change the dynamic of our block against opponent’s power attackers, as well as give us a different look offensively. Janey is a pleasure to be around with her contagious personality. We have high expectations for her throughout her career.”
Radhi played at Battlefield High School in Haymarket, Va. She is a three-time All-Cedar Run District selection and was a Second Team All-Northwest Region honoree as a junior. As a senior, Radhi was nominated for the Under Armour Player of the Year Award. She also set a Battlefield High School record for kills in a match with 28. She has played four years of club volleyball with the Virginia Elite.
“Hanna is a very strong athlete who has a visible desire to continuously improve,” Steinbrecher said. “With her strengths at the net, we look for her to contribute in the middle over the next four years. She has been an absolute pleasure to get to know throughout the recruiting process. Hanna is a very smart, mature student who I foresee taking a leadership role in our program in the future. We are thrilled to call her a JMU Duke.”
Whitmire joins JMU out of T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va. and has played club ball with Radhi on the Virginia Elite. She was a finalist for the Gatorade Virginia Player of the Year as a senior after collecting 549 kills, the second-most kills in a season in VHSL history. She also collected the fourth-highest total in VHSL history for kills in a match (39) and the seventh-most kills in a career (1,139). She was the VHSL Patriot District Player of the Year and a First Team All-Northern Region selection. As a junior, Whitmire was the Alexandria Sportsman’s Club City Player of the Year and a PrepVolleyball.com Soph 79 Honorable Mention. She earned All-District honors four times, including three First Team selections.
“Kate understands what it takes to compete at a high level,” Whitmire said. “We look for her to come in and compete for an outside spot with her ability to terminate and bring a big blocking presence. Kate has continuously demonstrated her relentlessness for hard work and I can’t wait to bring her confidence into our gym. She has a huge passion for the game and I have no doubt Kate will be a fun player to watch and coach.”
JMU returns a team that reached the semifinals of the CAA Championship for the third consecutive year in 2012, but loses seniors Natalie Abel (Washington, Pa./Trinity), Danielle Erb (Tampa, Fla./Plant) and Megan Wiechmann (Sunland, Calif./Village Christian). The Dukes do return six players that played in at least 50 sets in 2012, including starters in junior libero Katie Daorai (Tampa, Fla./Plant), sophomore middle blocker Lizzy Briones (Siloam Springs, Ark./Siloam Springs) and freshmen outside hitters Meghan Niski (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) and MacKenzie Kleespies (Lincoln University, Pa./Avon Grove).
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