May 30, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. - As the volleyball season draws closer, PrepVolleyball.com tabbed Mizzou's 2013 freshman class as the No. 18 recruiting class nationally, announced by the publication this week. The No. 18 national ranking places the Tigers third in the SEC, trailing only Arkansas (16) and Tennessee (17). The No. 18 national ranking is the highest for Mizzou since the 2010 freshman class (Molly Kreklow, Lisa Henning) ranked 14th nationally.
This year's class is comprised of six individuals, the second-largest class in program history. Put together by head coach Wayne Kreklow, recruiting coordinator Lindsey Hunter and the rest of the staff, the class includes two student-athletes from Hawaii, three from Missouri and one from Texas. Joining the Tigers in 2013 will be Carly Kan, 5-8 DS/OH, Punahou (Honolulu, Hawaii); Loxley Keala, 5-11 S, Iolani (Honolulu, Hawaii); Courtney Meek, 5-5 DS, St. Joseph's (St. Louis, Missouri); Linda Steinhardt, 5-5 DS, Cedar Park (Texas); Emily Thater, 6-2 MB, Kickapoo (Springfield , Missouri) and Julia Towler, 6-2 MB/OH, Blue Springs South (Blue Springs, Missouri).
The No. 18 national ranking by PrepVolleyball.com comes as no surprise as both Kan and Keala were named PrepVolleyball.com High School All-Americans; Kan on the first team and Keala checking in as an honorable mention pick. Kan was also a Volleyball Magazine First Team High School All-American and Thater was a Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selection.
The class is highlighted by several talented players who will bring some power to the Tigers' front row and undoubtedly help solidify their back court play. Kan, the Hawaii Gatorade POY and state tournament MVP, is a springy, athletic player who was recruited to play libero but could possibly play all the way around for the Tigers. She is smart, sees the floor well, and has all the shots. Her ball-handling skills most importantly will help the Tigers tremendously. Another Hawaii native, Keala is projected to be Mizzou's next big-time setter. Keala, also a strong beach player, will bring great athleticism and court savvy to the position. The Tigers also bring in two big, athletic middles to solidify the position in Thater and Towler. No. 36 in PrepVolleyball.com's Senior Aces, Thater moves extremely well at her size and is able to run off one foot with the best in the country. Her impact could be immediate and long lasting. Towler, No. 84 in the Senior Aces, is another big, physical hitter who should also help the Tigers in the middle and potentially on either pin. Towler also is adept off of one foot. Look for her to be an absolute terminator as she gains strength and experience at the pace of the D1 game. Defensively, adding Steinhardt and Meek to the Tiger back row, along with Kan, will give the Tigers plenty of ball handling options this season. Steinhardt, a high school and club setter, brings a multitude of athleticism and volleyball knowledge to the Tigers' lineup. Meek is a tremendous competitor with strong defensive skills who brings a "never give up attitude" to the gym every single day.
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