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Courtesy: USF Athletics

McCartney Inks 10 in First Signing Class

Courtesy: USF Athletics
          Release: 04/17/2012
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When Joel McCartney took over as head coach of the Cougar volleyball program last July, he said that one of his priorities was to recruit NCAA Division II and NSIC student-athletes.

He wasn't kidding.

McCartney announced today that ten student-athletes have signed letters of intent to join the Cougar volleyball program.  

Two transfers and eight incoming freshmen have committed to wear the Cougar purple this fall. The signing class includes student-athletes from five states, with two that hail from South Dakota.  The group includes one setter, one defensive specialist, two setter/hitters, two opposite hitters, one outside hitter and three middle blockers.

"We have a wonderful mix of talented student/athletes coming in this fall and we believe quite a few of them will have an immediate impact on our program," McCartney said. "In trying to build a solid foundation for a future success in the NSIC, we have found ten young women with a great passion to compete at this level."

Transfers Alexa Reed (5'10/Setter/League City, Texas) and Andrea Odbert (5'6/Defensive Specialist/Columbus, Neb.) are joined by eight freshmen, including a pair of southpaws, Jessica Baker (5'11/Setter/Hitter/Marshall, Minn.) and Natalie Minchow (5'11/Setter/Hitter/South Bend, Neb.); two opposite hitters, Megan Jacob (6'3/Bennington, Neb.) and Kassidy Noem (6'1/ Castlewood)... another native South Dakotan, outside hitter Kellee Griese (5'10/Platte-Geddes) and a trio of middle blockers...Olivia Rodenbaugh (6'0/Loomis, Neb.), Kellie Goedken (6'1/Sheldon, Iowa) and Michelle Ritland (6'4/Hampton, Iowa).

"Adding this group to an immensely improved team of returners will increase our competitive day to day training, as well as our depth with each starting role," McCartney added. "We couldn't be more proud of the solid character, academic strength and athletic talent the collective group will add to our program." 

The 2012 Signing Class

Alexa Reed                   5-10      Setter                           League City, Texas

Reed played her first two seasons at NCAA-DII St. Leo University (Tampa, Fla.), where she was a two-year starter for the Lions. Reed amassed a team-high 551 set assists during the 2011 season and led the team with 41 service aces.

Andrea Odbert        5-6        Defensive Specialist    
Columbus, Neb.

Odbert joins the Cougar volleyball program after graduating with an associate of arts degree from Central Community College (Columbus, Neb.). She was a two-year starting libero for the Raiders (32-11 in 2011) leading the team in digs (604) and digs per set (4.22/set).

Jessica Baker           5-11      Setter/Opposite           
Marshall, Minn.

Baker is a senior setter/middle blocker from Marshall High School (Minn.). She led the Tigers to a pair of Southwest Conference titles and the 2011 Minnesota State Championship. Baker was named to the Minnesota All-State Team as both a junior and a senior.

Natalie Minchow           5-11      Setter/Opposite           
South Bend, Neb.

Minchow was a vital contributor for a Louisville High School squad that was the runner-up at the 2011 District State Championship.  She was named to the Nebraska All-State Team as a senior and led her USAV Club team to a National 16U Championship in 2010. Minchow was also named to the Lincoln Journal Star Class C-1 Second Team as a member of the Premier 18 Gold club team.

Megan Jacob                6-3        Opposite Hitter               Bennington, Neb.

A senior at Bennington High School (Neb.), Jacob served as team captain for a Badger squad that claimed the 2011 Nebraska State Championship and the 2011 Capitol Conference Championship.  She is a member of the Nebraska Elite Volleyball Club based in Omaha.

Kassidy Noem              6-1        Opposite Hitter                Castlewood, S.D.

The Hamlin High School senior led the Chargers in kills and blocking last season. Noem received all-state recognition as a senior and Northeast Conference and Lake Central Conference all-conference accolades as a junior. Noem is the daughter of US House Representative Kristi Noem.

Kellee Griese                5-10      Outside Hitter               Platte, S.D.

Named to the class A All-State Volleyball team as a senior, Griese posted 449 kills, 41 ace serves, 60 blocks and 361 digs for the Black Panthers, who were ranked for much of the season before falling to Wagner in the District 10A championship. Griese was an honorable mention selection as a junior, and was part of two state tournament teams for the Black Panthers (2009, 2010).

Olivia Rodenbaugh      6-0        Middle Blocker             Loomis, Neb.

Rodenbaugh is a senior at Loomis High School, where she led the Wolves both offensively and at the net.  She was named to the Nebraska All-State Honorable Mention squad by the Lincoln Journal Star. Rodenbaugh currently plays for the Nebraska Gold Volleyball Club out of Kearney, Neb.

Kellie Goedken 6-1        Middle Blocker                         
Sheldon, Iowa

Goedken helped lead the Orab volleyball program to three straight Siouxland conference titles, a pair of state tournament appearances (2009, 2011) and a runner-up Class 2A finish (2009). Goedken is a three-time All-Siouxland conference performer and was named to the Class 2A All-State First Team as a senior and second team as a junior.

Michelle Ritland           6-4        Middle Blocker              
Hampton, Iowa

Ritland is graduating from Hampton-Dumont High School where she was a two-sport athlete for the Bulldogs (volleyball and softball).  She was named to the Iowa 2A All-State Team as a senior and was twice recognized on the All-North Central Conference team. Ritland plays club volleyball for CIA out of Cedar Falls, Iowa.

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