LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky volleyball program had one of its best seasons in 2006 and looks to continue that tradition in the upcoming year. The 2007 recruiting class for third-year head coach Craig Skinner has been named the eighth best in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com.
This year's class consists of Ann Armes (Grand Island, Neb.), Annmarie Behr (St. Louis, Mo.), Blaire Hiler (New Washington, Ohio), Sarah Mendoza (Winter Park, Fla.), Lauren Rapp (Indianapolis, Ind.), and Laura Stokowski (Aurora, Ill.).
"This is a nice compliment to the athletes coming into our program," said Skinner. "Obviously, they are very good athletes, but more importantly, they are good people who will help represent our program in a first-class manner.
"On paper, it certainly looks like we have a strong incoming class," added Skinner. "Now, it will be up to our current players, the recruits and our coaching staff to help this materialize into results on the court."
Armes is a recent graduate of 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.
Behr was a three-time All-Conference selection at the Visitation Academy of St. Louis. The 5-10 outside hitter and defensive specialist served as a team captain for two years and was named first team All-Conference as a senior. The St. Louis, Mo., native also garnered all-district and all-region honors last year.
Hiler was a four-year starter at 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. She 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.
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.
Rapp 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.
Stokowski has been a four-year letterwinner at Waubonsie Valley High School. She was named to the Chicago Sun-Times preseason Top 50 in 2006 and earned numerous honors following her senior season. The two-time team captain was named team MVP, All-Conference, Beacon News All-Area and Naperville Sun Honorable Mention All-Area following her final prep season.
The 2007 volleyball team kicks off its season on Aug. 24 when it travels to Cedar Falls, Iowa, for Northern Iowa's Tournament. UK's first home contest will be Aug. 31 when they host Georgetown in the Kentucky Classic at Memorial Coliseum.