Volleyball Set to Add Three in 2011

Nov. 15, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky volleyball team is set to add three freshmen, including two from the state of Kentucky, for the 2011 season head coach Craig Skinner announced Monday.

The Wildcats will welcome three highly recruited players in defensive specialist Jackie Napper (Louisville, Ky.), outside hitter Lauren O'Conner (Taylor Mill, Ky.) and middle blocker Kayla Tronick (Hutchinson, Minn.) to the 2011 roster.

"This class really covers our needs as a program for the future," Skinner said. "With the needed addition of a libero, outside hitter and a middle blocker we continue to add power, height, ball control and great volleyball players in their respective positions. I am very excited about this class and their talents to upgrade this program for the next several years."

Jackie Napper

Napper hails from Louisville and is a former teammate of current UK player Stephanie Klefot during their years at Assumption High School. A 2009 All-State performer with Assumption, Napper was a vital member of the KIVA 17-under club that captured the AAU National Championship in 2010. Assumption captured the 2010 state title earlier this fall, and Napper was named to the All-Tournament team for her efforts. In addition to her state title honors, she was earlier named the MVP of the Asics Battle of the River Tournament and was named to the Durango Classic All-Tournament team as a senior. Napper also excels in the classroom and has been named to the final honor roll as a freshman, sophomore and junior.

"Jackie is an elite libero with exceptional ball control," Skinner said. "She has won at all levels and has been the central piece in her team's entire serve-receive and defense. Adding Jackie to our back row group along with former teammate Stephanie Klefot, who is arguably the best libero in the SEC, will solidify our back court substantially."

Lauren O'Conner

O'Conner is set to enroll at Kentucky in January and join the Wildcats for spring practice and competition. A highly regarded outside hitter, O'Conner has notched a number of records for Scott High School. She became the first player in school history to amass 1,000 career kills, while also holding the single season record with 430 and the single game record of 20. A first-team All-State selection in 2009, she has also been an Academic All-State First Team member in all four years of competition. As a junior she was named the Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference Player of the Year, while also garnering MVP honors at the Ninth Region All-Tournament. O'Conner was selected as an alternate for the United States Junior National Team and Youth Olympic Volleyball Team earlier this season. The 6'5 player also competes with the Northern Kentucky Volleyball Club team.

"Lauren is one of the top 2011 outside hitting prospects in the nation," Skinner said. "She has extremely good skills for someone who already stands 6'5, and she will be a force at the net with her great arm and blocking skills. In addition to her skill set she also has a great feel for the game in the back court. Lauren will be one of the premier outside hitters ever to put on a Kentucky uniform."

Kayla Tronick

Tronick comes to the Bluegrass by way of Hutchinson, Minn. Tronick led Hutchinson High School to a AA state runner-up finish in 2010, falling to Wadena Deer-Creek. As a junior, Tronick was named to the Minneapolis Star Tribune second-team All-Metro. In addition to playing for Hutchinson, Tronick also competes with the Hutchinson Volleyball Club.

"Kayla has been a sleeper in the 2011 class over the last couple of years," Skinner said. "She has been a leader on her high school team and club teams from her small town of Hutchinson. She has a cannon for an arm and an array of shots to deliver kills for us. With her skill set, she is comparable to current Wildcat, Lauren Rapp, when she arrived as a freshman. Kayla can attack from all areas of the court, so we expect big things from this Wildcat in the future."

In addition to the three freshmen, the Wildcats will also have junior transfer Ashley Frazier available for competition in 2011.

Follow along all season long with the Wildcats at UKathletics.com.