Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
VB adds four in early period
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 11/20/2013
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MOSCOW, Idaho – The Idaho volleyball team gained some much-needed depth for the 2014 season and beyond when four high school seniors committed to the program last week, as Becca Mau, Sarah Sharp, Kaela Straw and Sami Parris will join the Vandals next fall.

“It’s going to be huge for us because the one thing we’re lacking right now is some depth as we’re getting further along in the season,” Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said. “We need to get some kids who have played there and can come in right away and compete for positions. Whether we have to redshirt a couple of them or not, at least it puts us in the position where we have more depth, we’re going to be more physical, we’re going to be more athletic, and our volleyball IQ is going to improve a lot.”

Mau, a 6-foot outside hitter from Longmont, Colo., amassed 1,325 kills 1,245 digs, 180 blocks and 175 aces in her four years at Longmont High School, where she was a two-time conference Player of the Year and led the Trojans to the State Championships all four seasons. She was a three-time All-Boulder County (BoCo) Preps first-team selection, and the 2012 BoCo Player of the Year. She earned Senior Ace status from as one of the top 101 senior outside hitters in the nation. Mau competed for Colorado Juniors club team under coaches Bill and Judy Peer for four seasons and was selected to the All-Star team at the 2013 Puerto Rico Championships. Her Colorado Juniors team finished 2013 season ranked No. 2 in the nation. Mau earned the Principal’s Award for her 4.0 grade-point average, and is a National Honor Society member, a three-time academic All-State selection and three-time Academic Letter Winner.

“She’s a special player, a physical kid, she elevates, she can pass and play the whole game and be that six-rotation kid,” Buchanan said of Mau. “You always want kids to get experience and sometimes the difference between a freshman and a sophomore is that experience level. I think she’s going to come in with some of that experience just because of the level she’s played at. She’s going to be a fun one to watch and keep an eye on.”

Sarah Sharp is a 6-foot-4 outside hitter from Filer High School in Filer, Idaho. She was an all-conference and second-team all-state selection in 2013 after racking up 375 kills and 266 digs. She was also MVP of her team her final two high school seasons, and earned Most Improved Player honors after her sophomore campaign in 2011. She played for Club Canyon for two seasons, totaling 195 kills, 21 blocks and 68 digs in 2012. Sharp also competes in basketball and track at Filer High School, and was a second-team all-state selection after a state runner-up finish in basketball, and a 4th-place finisher in high jump at the state track meet.

“She’s another super competitive kid and does not like to lose,” Buchanan said of Sharp. “She is going to fight. When she gets some more strength it’s going to be hard for teams to stop her. She is long and she can pass and play defense.”

Straw, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter from Freeman High School in Rockford, Wash., was league MVP in 2012 and 2013 and a second-team all-conference selection in 2011. In 2013 she averaged 5.97 kills per set and hit .422 for the season, finishing with 448 kills. She also averaged 3.72 digs per set and had 49 blocks and 37 aces. Straw played club volleyball for Splash out of Spokane, Wash., for nine years under coach Christ Kosty, and reached the junior national championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

“Kayla has one of the heaviest arms,” Buchanan said. “She plays all the way around in high school and club, again that’s going to keep refining, but she’s a physical kid. She has so much upside, which is awesome.”

Parris, a 5-foot-10 setter from Pocatello’s Century High School, led the Diamondbacks to four consecutive Idaho 4A state championships and was a two-time Gatorade Idaho Player of the Year nominee. She led the state of Idaho in assists as a sophomore in 2011 and ranked second in the state in 2012 and 2013. Parris tallied more than 3,340 assists in her high school career and ranked as a Senior Ace as one of the top 45 senior setters in the nation. She played club volleyball for Pocatello Elite fox six years under coach Tawna Ellis and medaled in events in Las Vegas, Denver, Spokane, Reno and Columbus in 2012. Parris was a high school teammate of Idaho sophomore Jenna Ellis at Century High School.

“She likes to run the middles – obviously we like to get our middles involved – and she plays high above the net like (current Idaho setter Meredith) Coba does,” Buchanan said. “To get another setter in here who can do those things I think is going to take us to the next level. And, we need competition. These players are going to give competition at every position, which we need.”

“These kids love to win, they fight to win,” Buchanan said of the class as a bunch, who each served as a team captain at their high schools. “All of these kids have outstanding character, and that’s one more reason we’re excited to have them.”

The Vandals will lose seniors Taylor Wilkinson and Ashley Christman after the 2013 season, and transition from the Western Athletic Conference into the Big Sky Conference in 2014.

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