Volleyball Inks Seven to NLIs

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Jade Hayes, the 2009 Gatorade Player of the Year in Missouri, will join the Tigers in 2011.</i?
Jade Hayes, the 2009 Gatorade Player of the Year in Missouri, will join the Tigers in 2011. MUTIGERS.COM

Nov. 19, 2010

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COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Mizzou volleyball team has announced the signing of seven future players to National Letters of Intent. The seven signees comprise the largest recruiting class at Mizzou since the arrival of coaches Wayne and Susan Kreklow. Four of the seven signees appear on the PrepVolleyball.com Senior Aces list, which attempts to rank the nation's top prospects. All seven boast plenty of high-level experience on the national and club scene as well.

Joining the Tigers next season will be Emily Wilson (6-2, MB/OH, Omaha, Neb.), Jade Hayes (6-0, L/OH, Ozark, Mo.), Whitney Little (6-3, MB, Keller, Texas), Katie O'Brien (6-0, OH, Dallas, Texas), Melissa Hartsel (6-2, MB, Concordia, Kan.), Sarah Meister (5-7, L/DS, San Diego, Calif.) and Niki Collier (5-9, OH, Columbia, Mo./Manhattan Beach, Calif.)

Each player's biography is listed below. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com.

Emily Wilson ∙ 6-2 ∙ OH/MB ∙ Omaha, Neb.
High School: Named one of the top 25 underclassmen to watch by Sports Imports and VolleyballMag.com and was voted captain of the Nebraska All-State team in 2009 and 2010 ... Slotted at No. 69 on the PrepVolleyball.com Senior Aces list ... Was named one of the top 50 high school juniors by PrepVolleyball.com ... Named to the Under Armour/AVCA High School All-American watch list in 2010 ... Played for the Omaha Gross Catholic under the direction of head coach Korrine Schuster as she guided the Cougars to back-to-back state titles in 2009 and 2010 ... Was the team captain in 2010 when she garnered All-RCC Conference honors during her senior season and was named All-State Tournament that year as well ... Named Class B Honorary Captain on the All-State teams in both 2009 and 2010 ...During her junior season in 2009, she guided Gross to a state championship and was named All-State, All-State Tournament Team and once again garnered Super State and All-Conference team honors ... As a sophomore in 2008, Wilson was an All-Conference selection, team MVP and a Class B First Team honoree ... Aside from guiding Gross to back-to-back state titles in 2009 and 2010, she also guided Gross to third-place finishes in the Nebraska state playoffs in 2007 and 2008 ... Her team never finished lower than third in the Nebraska State Playoffs and led Gross to four district titles and three RCC Conference titles ... Also lettered in track and field during her freshman and sophomore seasons ... Has been a member of the Gross Catholic honor roll and was an academic all-conference selection in her sophomore and freshman seasons.

Club: Played for Nebraska Elite under the direction of Nick Schuster.

Personal: Is the sister of current Tiger middle hitter Catie Wilson ... Born Oct. 15, 1992 in Omaha, Neb., to parents Jim and Liz Wilson ... Is undecided on her exact major but would like to do something in the health professions field ... Remained very active in her community and church during high school ... Enjoys walking her dog as well.

Jade Hayes ∙ 6-0 ∙ Libero/OH ∙ Ozark, Mo.
High School: Earned AVCA/Under Armour High School All-America honors in 2010 ... Ranked No. 78 overall on PrepVolleyball.com's Senior Aces list ... Named Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year in 2010 and was honored as PrepVolleyball.com's National Junior Player of the Year in 2009 ... She was named National Player of the Year after leading Ozark High School to a MSHSAA Class 4A State Championship ... Was an All-State, All-Region, All-District and All-Conference performer in 2009 as well ... She rewrote the record books while at Ozark High School where she set records for kills in a single match (27), kills in a single season (556) and held the all-time career kills record following her junior season with a three-year total of 1,138 ... Was honored by the Missouri State House of Representatives with House Resolution No. 261 for her accomplishments both on and off the court ... Named one of PrepVolleyball's Top 50 Underclassmen as well that year ... Was an honorable mention All-State selection in 2008 and was selected to the first team All-Region, All-District and All-Conference teams that year as well ... Was an All-Conference and All-District selection in 2007.

Club: Played as the libero on the USA Volleyball Youth Olympic Team, guiding the team to a Silver Medal in Singapore ... Played with Springfield Juniors Club, based out of Springfield, Mo.

Personal: Born on Aug. 19, 1993, in Springfield, Mo., to parents Steven and Joanna Hayes ... Her sister, Aleah, plays with Texas Tech.

Whitney Little ∙ 6-3 ∙ MB ∙ Keller, Texas
High School: Named to the Under Armour/AVCA All-America watch list in 2010 and ranked No. 82 on PrepVolleyball.com's Senior Aces list ... Played for coach Christina Rudiger as a member of the Central High School Chargers and was honored at the MVP Texas District 7-5A in 2010 ... Named to the Byron Nelson All-Tournament Team and Lonestar Volleyball Player of the Week in 2010 ... Led her team to the regional quarterfinal in the state playoffs in 2010 and helped her team claim a District 7-5A Championship in 2010 as well ... Named one of PrepVolleyball.com's Top 80 Underclassmen to Watch in 2009 ... Was the 2009 Texas Hitter of the Year in Class 5A and was a first team All-District Selection as well ... Was named to the Northwest Tournament All-Tournament team and led her team to a District 5-5A Championships that season as well ... In 2008, she was named Middle Blocker of the Year and once again earned first team All-District status in District 5-5A ... Landed on the PrepVolleyball.com Soph 79 list and also garnered All-Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Tournament honors ... Named first team All-District in 5-5A in 2007 as well as she helped lead her team to a District 5-5A title that season ... Named Academic All-District in 2008 and 2009

Club: Played for Texas Advantage Volleyball Club, based out of Fort Worth, Texas, under the direction of John Sample ... Led her team to a Junior Olympic National Championship in the 17 Open Division in 2010 ... The year prior to that, she led her team to a 10th place finish in the Junior Olympics in the 16 Open Division ... In 2008, she helped Texas Advantage claim the bronze medal in the 15 Open Division of the Junior Olympics ... Helped her team finish 19th as a 14-year-old in 2007 as well.

Personal: Born April 3, 1993, to parents Bill and Lori Little in San Antonio, Texas ... Is currently undecided on her intended major while at Mizzou ... Her brother was a three-sport letterman in high school as well ... She enjoys fishing and most outdoor activities.

Katie O'Brien ∙ 6-0 ∙ OH ∙ Dallas, Texas
High School: Named to the PrepVolleyball.com Senior Aces list ... Named to the Under Armour/AVCA High School All-American watch list in 2010 after lettering all four seasons with the J.J Pearce High School Mustangs under the direction of head coach Jason Nicholson ... Led the Mustangs to a Class 4A State Semifinal appearance in 2009 and was a Class 4A Regional Finalist in 2008 ... Currently, O'Brien and the Mustangs are in the Class 4A State Playoffs ... Named to LoneStarVolleyball.com's All- Texas Special Recognition Team ... Named LoneStarVolleyall.com All-Texas Honorable Mention in 2009 and was a Texas Girls' Association All-State selection as well ... Named Best Hitter at the 2010 Nike Volleyball Classic in Pearland, Texas ... Was named to the Duncanville Tournament of Champions and Allen Texas Open All-Tournament teams ... Was the All-City Player of the Year in 2009 and was a first-team All-District honoree that year as well ... Was the Offensive Player of the District (10-4A) in 2008.

Club: Played for Texas Advantage Volleyball Club, based out of Dallas, Texas ... Led her team to a 17-Open National Championship in 2010 in Reno, Nev., and a 10th-place finish in the 16-Open Division in 2009 ... Named to the 2008 USA Volleyball Junior Olympic All-Tournament Team in 2008 and was named to USA Volleyball High Performance A-2 Team in 2007 and 2008 ... Was a member of the High Performance All-Region teams in 2007 and 2008 as well ... Led her team to a national championship berth after placing second at the Denver Open Division in 2010 as well.

Personal: Born on Jan. 18, 1993, to parents Steve and Shannon O'Brien in Dallas, Texas ... Is a gifted singer that has been taking private voice lessons since the sixth grade ... Her Fotre' group performed at a variety of different places, including at the Southwest Division of the American Choral Directors Association in 2010 ... Also will perform at the Madrigal Festival in San Antonio next year ... Plans to major in broadcast journalism while at Mizzou ... Older brother, Michael, is a freshman at Arkansas.

Melissa Hartsel ∙ 6-2 ∙ MB ∙ Concordia, Kan.
High School: Named to the AVCA/Under Armour High School All-America Watch List during her senior season ... Was an All-League selection in both her junior and senior seasons at Concordia High School under the direction of head coach Ashley Nehls ... Also was a varsity letterwinner in track and field and women's basketball ... Set the Concordia High School high jump record after clearing 5-6 during her sophomore season (2009) ... Also holds the school's triple jump record with a distance of 35-8 ½ ... Helped the Concordia track and field team claim back to back state championships in 2008 and 2009 ... Led her basketball team Kansas State 4A runner-up honors during her junior season as well ... Member of the 3.5 grade-point average honor roll.

Club: Played with the Kansas Jets, based out of McPherson, Kan., under the direction of head coach Marquis Clark.

Personal: Born on May 22, 1993, to parents Rick and Monica Hartsel in Salina, Kan. ... Plans to major in nutritional science while at Mizzou ... Enjoys swimming, singing and playing the piano when she is not playing volleyball.

Sarah Meister ∙ 5-7 ∙ L/DS ∙ San Diego, Calif.
High School: Led her team to at least a runner-up finish in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division II playoffs every season since 2008 and helped her team claim the Division II CIF title and a conference championship in 2008 ... Helped the Falcons finish as the CIF Division II runner-up in 2009 and has the team ranked No. 1 heading into the playoffs in 2010 ... Wan an honorable mention All-Western League performer in 2008 and 2009 and is the Falcon's team captain in 2010 ... Was also a member of the varsity softball and soccer teams while at Scripps Ranch High School ... Helped her soccer team finish second in the Western League (San Diego) in 2008 and was a member of the 2007 varsity softball team that finished second in the Western League (San Diego) ... Was a member of National Honors Society and boasts a 3.96 grade-point-average ... Served as a peer education tutor and assistant editor-in-chief and senior staff writer for the Falcon Flyer Scripps Ranch High School Newspaper.

Club: Was coached by Mike Bonner as a member of the Epic Volleyball Club, based out of San Diego ... Helped her team place first overall at the Phoenix Volleyball Festival in 2008 and was a key reason for Epic's fifth-place nod at the 2009 Reno Volleyball Festival ... Also placed in the top 20 under the direction of Luis Cuatok at the Reno Junior Nationals in 2009 ... Was a member of the USA Volleyball High Performance Select Team and trained with USA Volleyball at the 2009 Holiday Training Camp.

Personal: Born Feb. 11, 1993, to parents Greg and Gina Meister in San Diego ... Was involved in a variety of community service activities during high school, including working with the San Diego Women's Shelter and Food Bank, Meal on Wheels and refereeing the San Diego Volleyball Spikefest ... Lists spending time with friends and traveling with family as some of her favorite hobbies ... Enjoys music fashion and the television show Glee as well ... Plans to study broadcast journalism when she arrives at Mizzou and has aspirations of becoming a sportscaster.

Niki Collier ∙ 5-9 ∙ OH ∙ Manhattan Beach, Calif./Columbia, Mo.
High School: Named to the AVCA/Under Armour High School All-American Watch List ... Led Rock Bridge High School to its first District Championship in 25 years after playing just one year with the team in 2010 ... Guided the Bruins to a 28-9-2 record as the 28 wins shattered the previous school record ... Despite playing just one season at Rock Bridge, she ranks first all-time in kills per set (3.20), second in single season points (248), seventh in career kills (148) and career aces (30) ... The 2010 season with Rock Bridge was the first time that she had played the outside hitter position after specializing as a libero during her time on the club and beach circuits in southern California ... She was honored as the top player in the District Tournament in 2010 while guiding the Bruins to the District Championship ... Was a member of the Camdenton All-Tournament team in 2010 as well ... Guided her Redondo Union High School (Calif.) team to a Redondo Power Classic Tournament title and a Ann Kang Invitational Tournament Title in 2009 as well ... Was honored as a Scholar Athlete in every season from 2008 through 2010-11.

Club/Beach: Established an impressive résumé as a beach player while growing up in southern California ... Placed first in the AAU Southern Pacific Championships and also turned in a first-place nod at the AAU Junior National Beach Volleyball Championships and earned top honors in the AAU Tour Championships ... In all, Collier corralled 12 gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals as a beach volleyball player ... She also earned top honors in the AAU/VB Rags Best of the Beach and in the Junior Manhattan Beach Open ... Four of her gold medals and all three of her silver medals came in the California Beach Volleyball Association (CBVA) tournament for juniors as well ... Played with Sports Shack Volleyball Club, based out of Los Angeles, Calif., under the direction of coach TG Pearce ... Helped Sports Shack place third out of 250 teams in the U-17 Championships and in the top 16 out of 500 teams in the U-18 Championships ... Also claimed bronze medal at the Junior Olympics as a member of Club X in 2007.

Personal: Born on May 27, 1993, to parents Jim and Dana Collier in Torrance, Calif. ... Plans to major in psychology with an emphasis on social/abnormal psychology and criminal profiling ... Has aspirations of becoming a criminal profiler for the FBI in the behavioral science unit ... Her father, Jim, is a Mizzou alum while her mother, Dana, was a cheerleader at Penn State.



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