Wood announces recruiting class
Coronado High School's Molly Crockett headlines a four-player recruiting class for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs volleyball team, coach Jessica Wood announced Tuesday.
Joining Crockett will be Kim Boogaard, a transfer from Division I Iona who played her high school ball at Pine Creek, Alex Nuttall from Chaparral High School and Sonja Johnson from Mountain Vista High School.
The class was a departure, of sorts, for Wood. Her previous two recruiting classes were geared more towards payers who were physically gifted but needed experience and technical refinement. Having lost six seniors to graduation, the Mountain Lions' 2008 class is more about skill than size.
"It is a very seasoned freshman class in that they have all been playing for a very long time," said Wood. "They have a ton of critical, under-pressure playing experience."
At 5-foot-8, Crockett is shorter than ideal for an outside hitter but makes up for it with an advanced volleyball I.Q. and deceptive athleticism. She averaged a stout 5.98 kills per game as a senior.
"Molly is one of the most seasoned players I've seen coming in as a freshman," said Wood. "She sees the court so well and creates a ton of angles and she hits with incredible power."
That vision will be well-served in UCCS' quick-set offense. Since Crockett will face fewer double blocks as a result, her shot-making ability will be amplified.
"I definitely think she's going to make an immediate impact," said Wood.
For the offense to work as it should, strong play is required from the Mountain Lions' middle hitters. Heidi Fehringer returns, but Brooke Akers, who led UCCS in nearly every offensive category, graduated.
That's what makes Boogaard's arrival so welcome. At 6-foot-1 and athletic, the junior should do well in replacing Akers' blocking. Offensively, Boogaard may not possess Akers' raw power, but should compensate with her lateral quickness and experience since she ran an offense similar to UCCS' in both high school and club ball.
At Iona in 2007, Boogaard led the Gaels with 1.04 blocks per game despite limited playing time. She also averaged 1.32 kills per game while hitting .179.
"Kim is little different style of player but she brings enough experience that we're not going to lose any ground," said Wood. "She's very agile; she can run our offense very well."
Nuttall was an outside hitter in high school, averaging 2.67 kills per game as a senior, but will be switched to setter at UCCS. With Jessica Stewart and Cortney Weedman, who will be a senior and a junior respectively in 2008, already on the team, Nuttall will have the luxury of time to learn her new craft.
"She can do it all," said Wood. "She can pass and play defense, she can hit, but she's definitely a setter. She is incredibly fast. She has speed like I haven't seen on a setter in a long time."
Johnson is more like the classic Jessica Wood recruit in that her high school numbers were modest but her athleticism is off the charts. She jump touches 9-foot-8, which makes her 5-8 stature a non-factor. She and Crockett were teammates in club ball and have work very well together.
"I saw Sonja playing club ball and was immediately impressed by her vertical and court sense," said Wood. "She is going to be a great addition."
With so many seniors lost, all of the newcomers will have an opportunity to see significant playing time right away. Wood says that's not necessarily a bad thing.
"It's going to be a very different style team with strengths in different areas," said Wood. "These girls can all hammer."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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