July 4, 2014
The program’s largest recruiting class in two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year Alma Kovaci’s tenure is lauded among the nation’s top 30 recruiting classes, according to PrepVolleyball.com. Army volleyball welcomes 12 rookies to the fold for the 2014 campaign and is tied with Missouri State for 30th on the list.
The lone Patriot League team mentioned, the Class of 2018 is the first incoming class to earn a national ranking. Penn State ranked No. 1 with Southern California, Purdue, Florida and Washington rounding out the top-5.
“We are so humbled and honored for our incoming class to be included among the top volleyball programs in the country,” Kovaci said. “The Class of 2018 is very deserving of such lofty praise, and I cannot wait to see them on the court this fall. The impact of this class will be a critical key for us in attaining our goals for 2014.”
In all, the incoming class covers all positions and 10 different states.
The Class of 2018 boasts a tremendous level of talent and diversity with many expected to step into a starting role out of the gate. Leading the way will be four PrepVolleyball.com All-Americans in Vanessa Wesley, Carolyn Bockrath, Jaden Pickell and Rachel Gearon.
The quartet will provide outstanding support to the Black Knights’ front line as Wesley comes in as a decorated middle/right side hitter, Pickell as an outside hitter and Bockrath and Gearon as highly projected middles. Wesley touches 10-feet, 4-inches and is a three-year Arizona Interscholastic Association Scholar-Athlete. Bockrath and Pickell both earned all-league and all-county honors. Gearon is an all-state honoree out of Kansas and will be joined by Invasion Club teammate Lexie Johnson.
Rounding out the group are Amber Clay, a two-time Times Indiana Player of the Year, Megan Bryn, an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Phenom and top libero prospect, setters Ellie Peterson and Avery Alexander, along with right side hitter Hannah Fairfield and defensive specialist Rachel Hornick. An all-area honoree, Peterson played for Sport Performance, the same club that produced Army’s two-time Patriot League Player of the Year Ariana Mankus ’13. Fairfield joins older sister, Olivia, at West Point. The elder Fairfield enters this season as the reigning Patriot League Rookie of the Year. Another strong libero prospect, Shannel Chong, makes her way to West Point from Hawaii.
The Black Knights return eight players from a year ago and look to make a conference record 16th-straight Patriot League Tournament appearance.