Kentucky Volleyball Inks Three Standouts
Two players in the PrepVolleyball.com Top 80 and the “Best Blocker” of the 2006 NORCECA Championships highlight the 2007 Kentucky volleyball fall signing class. Middle blocker Gretchen Giesler, setter Christine Hartmann and middle blocker Becky Pavan each have signed National Letters of Intent to play at Kentucky next season, head coach Craig Skinner announced Wednesday.
“We’re really excited as a staff about this recruiting class,” Skinner said. “I think we’ve covered all of our bases as far as recruiting. Becky, Christine and Gretchen are all extremely talented on the court and add to the great character that currently exists on this team. We feel like this will be one of the top recruiting classes in the country.”
Gretchen Giesler is a 6-foot-2 middle blocker from St. Charles, Ill. A two-year All-Conference selection, Giesler led her St. Charles North high school team in kills, blocks, aces and hitting percentage her senior year. Rated No. 80 among the top 100 seniors by PrepVolleyball.com, Giesler led her high school team to back-to-back conference championships in 2006 and 2007, a sectional title in 2006 and a regional title in her final campaign.
She was a first-team all-area selection in 2007 as judged by the Chicago Daily Herald and also an academic all-conference selection each of her last two seasons. Giesler was named her team’s most improved player in 2006 and was elected a team captain her senior season.
Giesler is a member of the Sports Performance club team, earning the “Best Blocker” award at the 2006 and 2007 National Junior Classic Tournaments. She led her team to two AAU third-place finishes in 2005 and 2007 and her 2005 team finished second at the Junior Olympics in the National Division. Giesler was awarded her club’s Spirit Award in 2007 and led her team to two national qualifier wins in 2007 by capturing first place at the Northeast and Northern Light Qualifiers.
“Gretchen has a natural feel for blocking which can’t be taught,” Skinner said. “Offensively, she gets on the ball really fast as an attacker, which will make her very difficult to defend.”
Christine Hartmann is a 5-foot-11 setter from Aurora, Ill., who played every match of her high school career at Rosary High School and was a four-year varsity starter. She is rated No. 35 among the top 100 seniors by PrepVolleyball.com. A two-time team captain, Hartmann was named the most valuable player of her high school team in each of her last three seasons. She was a three-time All-Suburban Catholic Conference selection, earning conference MVP honors her final campaign.
Hartmann was a first-team all-area selection by two different newspapers, including the Chicago Daily Herald, her last three years and was a first-team all-area selection by the Chicago Sun-Times in 2007. The Kane County Chronicle named Hartmann its Player of the Year her senior season and she also was a two-time special mention all-state selection by the Chicago Tribune.
Hartmann is a member of Club Fusion and was named to the 15-open all-tournament team at the 2005 U.S. Junior Olympics.
“Christine is a pure setter with tremendous instincts for the game,” Skinner said. “She is always one step ahead of everyone else on the court.”
Becky Pavan is a 6-foot-4 middle blocker from Kitchener, Ontario, and a member of the 2006 Canadian Youth National team. Named the “Best Blocker” of the 2006 NORCECA Championships which encompasses all of North and Central America, Pavan led Forest Heights Collegiate Institute to back-to-back county and regional championships in her final two seasons. She was named her school’s Junior Athlete of the Year.
Pavan, considered the top Canadian recruit in the 2008 signing class, was named her conference’s most valuable player as a senior and a first-team all-star her final two years. Her high school squad claimed the silver medal at the 2007 provincial championships. A member of Team Ontario, Pavan was named the “Best Blocker” of the Ontario Summer Games in 2006. She was named an all-star at the 2007 provincial club championships, where her team finished fourth.
“Becky will be a great point scorer for us and she has the ability to attack from all areas of the court,” Skinner said. “Her international experience will help us immediately.”