May 30, 2013
MADISON, Wis. – First-year Wisconsin volleyball coach Kelly Sheffield is bringing in one of the top recruiting classes in the nation as his 2013 group is ranked fourth in PrepVolleyball.com’s annual rating. It is the highest ranked Badger class since the website began its listing in 2003. The previous best was seventh in 2004 and 2011.
“We’re excited about the class that is coming in, no question about it,” said Sheffield. “There was a lot of hard work by Pete (Waite) and his staff, and then the effort by my assistants to not only hold on to the committed recruits, but to add pieces and bring in this class. There’s certainly talent and athleticism with the new players coming in, but the ranking won’t mean a whole heck of a lot once Aug. 12 gets here. What will matter is how much each of them improve while they are here, how resilient and tough they are, and how committed they are to the team. Those are the things that I’m really looking forward to seeing.”
PrepVolleyball.com said, “New head coach Kelly Sheffield will welcome four to Madison in the 2013 class, including the Gatorade National Player of the Year in (Lauren) Carlini. Carlini, the undisputed No. 1 player in the class nationally, is the bluest of blue chippers. She is a great athlete with great skill and a great competitive spirit. A certain four-year starter, Carlini’s presence alone makes this a top-rated class.
“Three front-row standouts complete the class. The ever-improving (Taylor) Fricano, No. 33 in the PrepVolleyball Senior Aces, comes over to Wisconsin after initially signing with Dayton, where Sheffield coached in 2012. She touches 10-7, puts up a massive block and can hit from either pin. Look for her to challenge for immediate playing time. (Haleigh) Nelson is a big block whose offensive abilities have grown immensely in the past year. She was Raleigh-area POY last fall. (Tori) Blake, who graduated high school early and enrolled in January, is long and athletic and a fierce competitor.”
Sheffield added, “What I like about Blake, Carlini, Fricano, Nelson, and (Taylor) Morey are that each of them are big-time competitors who all love being in and embracing big-time moments. Every one of them play the game with passion and intensity and I think fans are going to really enjoy watching them throughout their careers.”
Morey, a sophomore transfer from Notre Dame, was not included in the rankings as transfers and foreign players did not figure into the ratings. The rankings were determined by a panel of college coaches from across the country, representing every major conference. Each class is judged on size and strength as well as the impact players will make on a program over their careers.
Seven Big Ten Conference teams rank in the top 30, including four in the top 10. Wisconsin is the third-ranked Big Ten team behind No. 1 Nebraska and No. 3 Minnesota. Michigan State (7th), Ohio State (11th), Illinois (20th) and Michigan (25th) round out the conference teams in the rankings.