HARRISONBURG, Va., Nov. 29, 2010 - James Madison women's volleyball coach Lauren Steinbrecher announced the signing of three student athletes to national letters of intent to join the Dukes for the 2011-2012 academic year.
This is the first recruiting class signed solely by the first-year coach and her staff. The signees include outside hitters Lizzy Briones (Siloam Springs, Ark./Siloam Springs) and Martha Stewart (Naperville, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) and middle blocker Alyssa Hall (Yorktown, Va./Grafton).
"I am looking forward to getting Lizzy, Alyssa and Martha in the program," Steinbrecher said. "They bring a huge presence at the net, a lot of ball control and some high-level game experience. All three players had great high school seasons and they are hungry to get here and continue to push JMU to the top. This will be a fun class to coach and I can't wait to see the impact they have on our program."
Briones joins the Dukes out of Siloam Springs High School in Arkansas. She is a four-time All-Conference and All-State selection. She helped lead Siloam Springs to four consecutive 5A State Championship game appearances including titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In addition, she has competed with the USA junior volleyball program and is a two-time Arkansas Scholar-Athlete. Briones will graduate in December and enroll at JMU in January 2011.
"Lizzy might be one of the most decorated high school athletes we have had at JMU," Steinbrecher said. "We expect her to come in and make an immediate impact with her blocking and attacking presence, as well as her ability to play all the way around. Lizzy brings a huge passion for the game and the work ethic and desire to be the best. I have no doubt she will be a fun player to watch."
Hall competes for Grafton High School where she is a three-time All-District selection. As a junior she received First Team All-District and Daily Press honors as well as Second Team All-Region recognition. She helped lead Grafton to back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, including a run to the State Championship game in 2009.
Steinbrecher commented, "We are excited to get another Virginia player on our roster in Alyssa Hall. Alyssa hasn't scratched the surface of how good she is going to be. She brings quickness, athleticism and a huge block to our middle position. We can't wait to get her reps in the gym and see her really flourish throughout her career here as a Duke. Alyssa is a player who will do whatever it takes to help her team win and be the best. She will be a force to be reckoned with as a middle in the CAA in years to come."
Stewart signed with JMU out of Waubonsie Valley High School in Illinois. She was named a Chicago Sun-Times Top 50 player twice and a Chicago Tribune Top 40 Players to Watch as well as a three-time Upstate Eight Valley All-Conference selection. Twice she was named All-Area, including a First Team honor as a senior. Stewart was named the Aurora Beacon News Player of the Year. Academically, she is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and a three-time Upstate Eight All-Academic Team honoree. She helped lead Waubonsie Valley to consecutive conference championships as well as the 2010 IHSA Regional Championship.
"Very few players have the ball control and volleyball IQ that Martha brings to our program," Steinbrecher said. "We were so excited when she called and said she wanted to be a Duke. Martha plays extremely competitive high school and club volleyball and I have no doubt that she will use that experience to make an immediate impact. She helped her high school team to one of the most successful seasons and she is a natural leader both on and off the court."
The newcomers will be joining a JMU team that finished 22-8 and advanced to the Colonial Athletic Association Championships for the first time in three years in 2010.
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