UK Volleyball Signs Four Standouts
Outside hitters Ann Armes, Blaire Hiler and Sarah Mendoza and middle blocker Lauren Rapp have each signed a national letter of intent to play volleyball at the University of Kentucky next season, UK head coach Craig Skinner announced today. All four of these stellar signees rank among the top 70 in the nation’s senior class by PrepVolleyball.com, making this one of the top recruiting classes in the nation.
“This class completes our need for athleticism, size and skill,” said Skinner. “They will, without a doubt, have a long-lasting impact on this program. We are very excited to get them here to start the 2007 season.”
Armes is a native of Grand Island, Neb., where she is a senior at Grand Island Senior High School which finished as the Class A state runner-up in 2006. The 6-0 outside hitter was a first team All-State selection as a senior after earning second team All-State honors as a junior. Armes is ranked among the top 100 seniors in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com and is a two-time recipient of All-State academic honors.
“Ann has exceptional athletic ability and can play a couple different positions at a very high level,” said Skinner. “She will blossom as a volleyball player at the collegiate level.”
Armes is also a four-year starter in basketball at GISHS and earned third team All-State honors on the hardwood. She is a three-year state track meet qualifier and medalist and was named the Central Nebraska Female Athlete of the Year for track each of the past two years. She holds the school record in the 4 x 100 meter relay and was a runner-up at the state meet where her team also finished as the runner-up in 2006.
Armes plays for the Nebraska Juniors club team and was selected to the Junior Olympics All-Tournament Team in 2006 while her team finished third. She was recently selected to play in the Nebraska High School Coaches’ All-Star game this summer.
Hiler, a native of New Washington, Ohio, is a senior for Buckeye Central High School where she is the career record holder with 1,382 kills. Ranked in the Senior Aces Class of 2007 by PrepVolleyball.com, Hiler is also the single-season kill leader after recording 470 this season. The four-year volleyball starter is a three-time All-State honoree and was named to the first team this year, along with being named a member of the All-Ohio All-Star match.
“Blaire is a very natural athlete for her 6-2 height,” said Skinner. “She is a very smooth player who can become great attacker at this level.”
Hiler led her BCHS team to four Northern Central Conference titles and was twice named the District 6 Player of the Year. The 6-2 outside hitter holds the school’s blocking record and is a three-time recipient of team Most Valuable Player honors. Hiler has also received All-district and All-conference honors in basketball at BCHS.
Hiler, who plays club volleyball for Oiler Attack, was part of the team that qualified for nationals in 2005. She was a member of the 2005 USA Junior Olympic 16s All-Tournament team and has also coached club volleyball for the past two years in her community.
Mendoza is a 5-11 outside hitter from Winter Park, Fla. She has been a four-year letterwinner at Winter Park High School which has claimed three state championships during her career. Mendoza is ranked among the top 50 recruits in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com. The 2006 first team All-State selection has been a two-time member of the All-Metro team and has claimed three metro and district championships. Mendoza garnered second team All-State accolades following the 2005 season.
“Sarah is very fast-twitch athlete who can execute all skills on the volleyball court,” said Skinner. “With three straight high school state championships, she is a proven winner.”
Mendoza is a member of the Orlando Volleyball Academy club team and was named an All-American in 2005 when her squad finished second in the American Division. She was also named to the 2005 AAU Nationals All-Tournament team, while her team finished in third place at the AAU Nationals. Mendoza earned All-American honors again in 2006 in the club division.
Rapp is a native of Indianapolis, Ind., where she has been a four-year starter for Park-Tudor School. The 6-3 middle blocker leads the team in kills, blocks and hitting percentage and is ranked among the nation’s best seniors in the Class of 2007 by PrepVolleyball.com. Rapp has earned team MVP honors the past three seasons and was a two-time first team All-State selection. Rapp was selected to the Indianapolis Star All-North first team and was also a member of the Marion County first team in 2006.
“Lauren’s athleticism, combined with her work ethic, will help her become a great player at UK,” said Skinner. “Lauren’s ability at the net will impact our program immediately.”
Rapp’s high school team has put together a 97-26 record during her career. PTS was ranked in the top 10 in the state all season in 2005 and 2006 and went undefeated in the Indiana Crossroads Conference both of those years.
Rapp is a member of the Munciana volleyball club team and finished second at the AAU Nationals in Orlando earlier this year. She was selected to the AAU All-American Team and finished 13th at the USAV Nationals in 18 Open. Also outstanding in the classroom, Rapp was the 2006 Crown Award Winner which recognizes both athletic and academic excellence at Park-Tudor.
Blaire Hiler at her LOI signing ceremony