2009 Volleyball Class Ranked 13th in the Nation
June 1, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky's incoming freshman class has been tabbed the 13th best in the country, and tops in the Southeastern Conference, as rated by PrepVolleyball.com. The top-15 recruiting class is the second under Head Coach Craig Skinner and it also marks the fourth consecutive top-26 recruiting class during his tenure.
UK signed two players in Whitney Billings, an outside hitter, and Zan Morgan, a middle blocker. A third player, Stephanie Klefot, is a libero/defensive specialist rounds out the class in 2009.
Billings, a Helena, Ala., native was tabbed a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) third annual Under Armour All-American High School Volleyball Team in 2008. She was a two-time National High School Player of the Year finalist at Pelham High School. She has earned six varsity letters in her time at Pelham, and has twice been named to the Birmingham News All-State first team. As a junior she was the Metro Player of the Year and the Shelby County Player of the Year. In her sophomore season she was named to the Class 6A State All-Tournament team.
Klefot, a Louisville native, is a three-time national champion on the AAU level. She is also a three-time national runner-up and a two-time bronze medalist in the national tournament. Klefot captured a national championship at the USAV Junior Olympics in 2004 and 2006. Klefot was also a member of the 2007 Assumption state championship team. PrepVolleyball.com named Klefot a "Defensive Dandy" in 2008 in addition to earning Region 7 Player of the Year honors at Assumption in her senior season. She was tabbed a member of the All-State second team and a KHSAA Region 7 All-Tournament team member. In 2008 she also racked up All-Tournament honors at the Nike Challenge and the Durango Classic. As a sophomore she was awarded the Coaches Award.
Morgan is from Birmingham, Ala., and will also compete as a high jumper with the UK track and field team. Morgan helped lead Mountain Brook to back-to-back area championships and appearances in the state Sweet 16 tournament. Twice she was named to the first team all-state, and was a second-team member in 2006. Morgan has been named to the Birmingham Area Super All-Metro team as well as the Alabama State All-Star team. She holds Mountain Brook high school records in single-season kills (542) and blocks (130), as well as being the all-time career leader in both kills and blocks.
PrepVolleyball.com describes Kentucky's class as "an explosive and athletic group."
UK inked the 17th best class in 2008 and the eighth-best in 2007. UK's rising seniors, the class of 2006, were rated as the 26th-best group in the nation.
Freshmen have excelled under Skinner's direction. Eight first year players have earned All-SEC Freshman of the Week honors in the last three seasons. Becky Pavan led the conference in blocking as a freshman in helping UK to a 26-6 season in 2008 and was a unanimous selection on the All-SEC Freshman team. Sarah Rumely claimed SEC Freshman of the Year honors in 2006.
Kentucky's 2009 recruiting class was also the best in the SEC. Only two other SEC schools made the top-30 list as Ole Miss hauled in the 23rd best group of freshmen, with Auburn turning in the 26th best class.
The Wildcats open the 2009 season at home when they host the Kentucky Classic beginning Aug. 28. UK is set to face six NCAA tournament participants in its quest for a school-best fifth-straight trip to volleyball's version of the "Big Dance."
Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for complete coverage of the Kentucky volleyball team.