EDWARDSVILLE — Southern Illinois University Edwardsville volleyball coach Leah Johnson announced the Cougars' 2013 recruiting class which features five new faces who will join the program next season.
Joining the Cougars next fall will be Taylor Burbage (Bellevue, Neb.), Taylor Held (Brookfield, Wis.), Mallory Mangun (Joliet), Kasey Schumacher (Channahon), and Alicia Streetar (Verona, Wis.).
"Our 2013 class is an exceptional group of young women who will truly exemplify our University values on and off the court," Johnson said. "They are talented, ambitious, and will continue to push our program to new heights. The learning curve will be short for this class as they have all competed at the highest level of club volleyball."
Burbage is a middle blocker/right-side hitter and a four-year letter winner at Bellevue East High School outside Omaha. Burbage was a three-time all-state honoree along with helping the Chieftains to three straight appearances in the Nebraska state tournament. She plans on studying graphic design at SIUE.
"Taylor's physical strength andpower will allow her to be a point-scoring option for our team," Johnson said. "I also believe her position versatility will likely set her apart. She can hit any set in our offense, making her a threat from every position on the court."
Held is an outside hitter and was a three-year letter winner at Brookfield Central High School outside Milwaukee. She was a three-time all-conference performer along with being named to the all-state team twice. Held was named the Lancers' Team Most Valuable Player following her senior season and played her club volleyball for Milwaukee Sting. She hopes to pursue a degree in exercise science from SIUE.
"Taylor is a stabilizing player on the court," Johnson said. "She is composed and consistent, making her an ideal outside hitter. Taylor is a smart attacker and has great blocking instincts due to time spent in the middle and on the right side. We are excited to add her diverse and strong skill sets to our roster."
Mangun is a setter and was a standout performer at Joliet Catholic Academy. Mangun was an all-conference selection during her senior season, as well as an all-area honoree. She ranks fifth all-time for assists at Joliet Catholic Academy. She played club volleyball for UNO and plans to study education at SIUE.
"Mallory is a true competitor and has a great mind for the game," Johnson said. "She has fast feet, fast hands, and makes equally fast decisions; she will fit perfectly with our offensive goals. Though her strengths lie in setting, Mallory is a complete volleyball player. She is a defensive playmaker as much as she is an offensive leader."
Streetar is an All-State outside hitter who attended Verona Area High School. A three-time All-Conference selection, the 5-11 Streetar finished off her prep career with first team All-Conference honors. She competed for Capital Volleyball Academic, winners of the Green Division at AAU Nationals in 17 Club. She was a member of the high honor roll at Verona and served as the team captain as a senior.
"Alicia is a high flyer with a heavy swing," Johnson said. "Her power is complemented by her control and court intelligence. She relishes the chance to compete. Her drive, coupled with her skill, should make for an exciting career."
Schumacher, a libero, attended Minooka High School. She was named team MVP twice and was a first-team all-conference performer her senior year. Schumacher was also listed on the Under Armour Top 40 in Illinois; along with Max Preps Top 25 Serving Aces in Illinois. A member of Sports Performance Volleyball Club, her club team posted a ninth-place finish in the Open Division at AAU Nationals in 2012. She will study either biology or exercise science at SIUE.
"We are thrilled to have Kasey in a Cougar uniform next season," Johnson said. "She has a tremendous work ethic and a great court presence which are keys to being a great libero. Kasey's speed and athleticism allow her to make the tough plays look easy. She will be a scoring threat from the service line as well as an obstacle for our opponents on the serve receive line."
The five incoming freshmen will replace three graduating seniors for the Cougars as Brianne Graunke, Sammi Minton, and Brooke Smith all concluded their SIUE careers on Saturday against Tennessee State.