Nov. 27, 2012
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall volleyball head coach Mitch Jacobs announced the addition of five student-athletes to the program on Tuesday.
The freshmen class of 2013 consists of two local Huntington, W.Va. and Cabell Midland High School products, Cassie Weaver and Taylor Riedel. Elyse Panick from Chicago, Ill., Ally Kiekover from Grand Rapids, Mich., and Allie Kellerman of Louisville, Ky. will round out the class.
Riedel and Weaver also compete together on the River Cities Thunder Volleyball Club.
“We have certainly been able to fulfill our needs with this very talented group,” said head coach Mitch Jacobs. “They work and play extremely hard. With our momentum coming off a very good season, I believe these women will be great assets and add to what we feel can be a highly successful run in 2013.”
Weaver, the 2012 West Virginia AAA High School player of the year, is a 5-9 outside hitter who finished her high school career with 1,874 kills, 209 aces, 269.0 blocks, and 1,522 digs, while averaging 5.1 kills per set in her junior and senior seasons. She earned the most kills of any West Virginia high school player in her final two seasons, according to MaxPreps.com. Weaver has been selected to West Virginia’s All-State team twice, the All-Mountain State Athletic Conference (MSAC) once, and was honored as the 2012 MSAC Player of the Year in her final season. For her ability on the court, Weaver was also recognized as a 2011 and 2012 Gatorade Player of the Year nominee and was recently selected to the West Virginia North-South All-Star Game.
“Cassie is a very special athlete who has done a significant amount of maturing throughout her four years of high school,” Jacobs said. “It is great that we could keep Cassie here in Huntington. At her size she can do as much on both the offensive and defensive sides as anyone in the country. I look forward to being a part of Cassie’s entire career and helping first hand with her growth as a player.”
Riedel, a two time West Virginia All-State player, is a 5-5 setter who finished her four-year career with 9,953 assists and 855 career digs. Also named to the 2011 and 2012 first team All-MSAC teams, she has been named to numerous All-tournament teams throughout her career, earning Cabell Midland All-Tournament honors for the past three years, while also being named to the Greenbrier East and Parkersburg All-Tournament teams the past two seasons.
“I’m just so proud that Taylor chose to wear the green and white,” said Jacobs. “When you sign a Taylor Riedel you don’t just sign a great local player but you also get one of the finest leaders I’ve ever coached at any level. The setter position at Marshall is in very good hands over the next four years. Knowing we have Sammie for two more seasons and another exceptional setter in Taylor for two more years just puts a very big smile on my face. The setter position takes great leadership and we will have two with that intangible.”
Panick, an AAU All-American selection at the 2012 17-under National Championships, is a 6-2 left-handed right side player out of Marist High School in Chicago, Ill. Panick also competed for 1st Alliance Volleyball club.
After ending her senior season with 183 kills, 65.0 blocks, 278 digs, and 21 service aces, Panick was added to the 2012-13 Under Armour High School All-American Watch List and was an All-Conference Selection. Panick was part of a very strong high school program that finished fourth place at the 2011 Illinois 4A state tournament and won the East Suburban Catholic Conference Championships in her junior and senior years. A major highlight in the 2012 season came when Marist High School won the Nike National Tournament of Champions.
“Elyse is a super talent and plays with a true love for the game,” commented Jacobs. “At 6-2 and very long, Elyse gives us a great presence at either pin. Being left handed certainly will be a plus and the fact that her skill set is such that she can play the left or right side as well as back row. Her greatest strength right now as a player would have to be her blocking skills and her ability to have numerous offensive shots. I can see Elyse developing into a major threat for the Herd.”
Kiekover is a 6-0 middle blocker from Grand Rapids, Mich., where she played volleyball for Forest Hills Northern High School and competed for Dead Frog Volleyball Club out of Kalamazoo, Mich.
In her four year high school career, Kiekover was selected to the Michigan All-State team twice and to the All-Conference team for the past three years. She was also named to the All-Area team her freshman season. She finished her high school career with 926 kills, 348 blocks, 109 service aces, and 253 digs. During her senior year, she averaged 6.3 kills per set, 1.36 blocks per set, 4.42 digs per set and nearly an ace per set.
While playing for the Dead Frog volleyball club, Kiekover led her team to a fifth place finish in the 2012 AAU Nationals, along with championship titles in the AAU Lakeshore Volleyfest for the past two years. She added championship titles at the Showcase Tournament and JVA World Challenge in 2011.
“We got into the recruiting of Ally kind of late, but right away I saw exactly the type of player I just love,” noted Jacobs. “Ally played so hard on every possession. Her skill is quite evident, as indicated by her incredible numbers both offensively and defensively, and she is so smart on the court. Put that with the effort and intensity she plays with and I just feel that we got one of the biggest steals in the entire class of 2013.”
Kellerman, a member of the Under Armour All-American Watch list, is a 5-8 defensive specialist / libero out of Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville, Ky. She played for the United Volleyball Club in New Albany, Ind., where Marshall setter Sammie Bane was also a former club member.
For the past three years, Kellerman was selected to the KHSAA All-Academic team. She led her team to the championship match at the Louisville Volleyball Invitational tournament her senior season, while also helping the team earn the 2012 district championship title. During her duration with the United Volleyball Club, Kellerman helped her team to a second place finish in the Dayton President’s Cup, while also earning a fifth place finish in the AAU National open division in 2011 and 2012.
“Allie brings a wonderful energy, attitude and work ethic to the court,” said Jacobs. A true libero, she will give us depth in that position and be able to learn from Dorothy Rahal’s experience. Allie has had great training and it is always good to have another player come to us from the talent rich Louisville, Ky. area. Right now Allie’s greatest strength is in her floor defense and as she develops her ball control skill further I believe we will have another great libero playing for the Herd.
“I am looking forward to this class joining our upperclassmen. Fall will bring us a very exciting level of competition within our own gym and that should lead to some great things for this program. It makes me very proud to know that our program is back on the right track. From our seniors down to the freshmen class, our players will understand what it takes to be a team and represent Herd Nation.”
The eligibility of all student-athletes is contingent upon admission to Marshall University and compliance with all NCAA rules, including registration with the NCAA Eligibility Center.