Nov. 11, 2010
Houston - Rice University head volleyball coach Genny Volpe has announced the signing of four stellar high school volleyball players, a libéro, a middle blocker, and two outside hitters to National Letters of Intent to attend Rice and play volleyball for the Owls beginning in the fall of 2011. Joining the Owls for the 2011 season is a trio from the Houston region in Daniela Arenas (Cypress, Texas), Elizabeth (Lizzy) Bache of Montgomery, Texas, and Jillian Humphrey from Shoreacres, Texas. Noelle Whitlock from Riverside, Calif., makes up the four-person class.
"Overall, the best thing about each of our 2011 signees is that not only are they great athletes, but they are stellar students," says Volpe. "They are exactly what we want in our program and they strive for excellence on and off the court and represent themselves well. This is our strongest recruiting class to date and all four of these players are going to be a big part of propelling Rice volleyball into newer and greater heights. We are expecting each of them to make an immediate impact.
Arenas is a 5'8" outside hitter for Cypress Woods High School and a four-year starter for coach Ashley Ahlfinger. She was named as Cy Fair ISD Tourney MVP in 2008 and outstanding hitter for 2009 and 2010 in addition to being named to the Pearland All-Tournament Team. As a senior, Arenas averaged 4.6 kills per set (481 kills) with 374 digs and she dug up 404 digs as a junior with 341 kills for a 2.8 kills per set average. Daniela is the daughter of Rodrigo and Kay Arenas and she also considered TCU and Texas A&M.
"Dani is a great all around player and a huge competitor," says Volpe. "We are looking to her in the future as a libéro, however she can definitely hold her own as an outside hitter. She is a great jumper, quick on her feet, smart, tough, knows the game, and has great court awareness."
A 6' 1" outside hitter for Montgomery High School, Lizzy Bache is a three-year starter for coach Terri Wade. The past two years she has been named all-district and all-county as well as MVP and most valuable offensive player for the Bears. For 2010, she has accumulated 338 for a 3.2 kills per set average in addition to 81 blocks and 295 digs. Academically, Bache is ranks sixth in her class with a 6.26 gpa on a 6.00 scale, and is an AP Scholar with distinction. Lizzy is the daughter of Steve and Margaret Bache. Rice was her first and only choice.
"Lizzy is smooth and a natural volleyball player and with her size and athleticism, she is going to be one of the most versatile players that we have ever had," comments Volpe. "She can play left, middle, or right side and she can play all 6 rotations."
Humphrey is a 6' 2" middle blocker for La Porte High School and she was four-year starter for coach Alison Kley. Jillian was named offensive player of the year and first team all-district for the Bulldogs for 2009. In 2010, Humphrey has 409 kills (3.8 kps), 101 blocks, and 89digs. She was also recruited by LSU, Florida, Indiana, Oregon, and Duke. Jillian is the daughter of Allen and Jennifer Humphrey.
"I am excited to have one of the best middle blockers in the country joining our team in 2011," says Volpe about Humphrey. "Jillian is a combination of power, athleticism, and competitiveness. She is a dominating middle blocker and attacker at the net who is extremely aggressive and always wants to be involved in the play."
A 5'11" outside hitter, Noelle Whitlock comes to Rice after starting all four seasons for La Sierra High School in Riverside, Calif., for coach Souza Everton. Whitlock has been named All-Inland Valley League for the past three years (2008, 2009, and 2010). As a junior, Whitlock averaged 3.7 kills per set with a total of 335 with 96 service aces. PrepVolleyball.com named Whitlock as one of its Seniors Aces for 2011. Noelle is the daughter of Robert Whitlock and Cheri Rodriguez and also considered TCU, San Diego, and Loyola Marymount.
"Noelle is a complete player who jumps well, blocks high with great technique, attacks a variety of shots, is steady in serve receive, and strong defensively," states Volpe. "She is what all teams are looking for in an outside hitter as she provides stability and athleticism in that position."
Bach played club volleyball for Montgomery Gold, Humphrey competed for Absolute Volleyball Academy, Whitlock played for Club West, and Arenas competed for Texas Pride.
Rice, NCAA tournament participants the past two seasons (2008 and 2009), hosts Marshall at 5 p.m. on Friday and East Carolina on Saturday at 7 p.m.