William and Mary head volleyball coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton ’91 announced the signing of six student-athletes today to the Class of 2016, significantly adding to the Tribe’s offensive firepower. The incoming freshmen include four hitters, one middle, and a defensive specialist.
"Having been devastated by season ending injuries in our outside position the last two years, we knew we needed to focus on bolstering our outside hitting ranks,” Shelton noted on signing day. “Our efforts paid off as we are bringing in four pin hitters who are capable of challenging immediately for court time; as well as terrific middle and a talented DS. When all six arrive in August, our team will take a giant step forward in terms of competitiveness, skill, and athletic ability."
Following is a brief look at each member of the class:
Carolyn Albright – 6-2, MB
Raleigh, N.C./Cardinal Gibbons (Triangle)
"Carolyn is a terrific middle with great balance in her skills. She's an efficient attacker and instinctual blocker. She plays with an upbeat, hardworking mentality that will be an immediate asset to our team.”
Prep: Helped lead Cardinal Gibbons to each of the last three North Carolina 3A State Championships … Member of PrepVolleyball.com’s Senior Aces list … Named all-conference in 2010 and 2011 … Selected to the region all-tournament team in 2008, 2009, and 2010 … Competed for the Triangle Volleyball Club … Awarded the “Triangle Award” in 2009 and 2010, signifying the player who best embodies the club’s core values … Named to the Cardinal Gibbons Honor Roll all four years … National Honor Society … Volunteered with the Raleigh-area Soup Kitchen, as well as with Habitat for Humanity.
Personal: Daughter of Karen and Daniel Albright … Mother rowed crew at Dartmouth … Father played rugby at Dartmouth … Brother, Eric, plays football at North Carolina … Grandfather, Peter Hannaway, played professional soccer for several clubs in Scotland … Uncle, Leif Murphy, earned his MBA from W&M in 1994 … Interested in politics … Plans to major in marketing.
Mallory Brickerd – 6-1, OH
Ashburn, Va./Broad Run (Virginia Elite)
"Mallory is a powerful athlete who will immediately add to our left side position. Her quick arm and leaping ability will give us a look we have not had on the outside in many years."
Prep: Named District Player of the Year as a senior … Also earned first-team all-region honors in 2011 … Second-team all-region in 2009 and 2010 … First-team all-district those two years as well … Captained Broad Run to the district championship as a junior … Honor roll all four years of high school … Member of the French National Honor Society and Math National Honor Society.
Personal: Daughter of Teresa and Dean Brickerd … Enjoys listening to music, painting, and art … Plans to major in mathematics.
Michelle Heath – 5-11, OH
Rustburg, Va./Rustburg (Heart of Virginia)
"Michelle is the sleeper of this class. She is a tremendous competitor and athlete who, I believe, has the potential to be a very, very good hitter in the CAA. She controls the ball well and when her skills adapt to the NCAA Division I level, she will be a six rotation contributor for us."
Prep: Region and District Player of the Year each of the past two seasons … First-team all-state as a junior, and second team as a sophomore … Named the Virginia State Player of the Week as a senior by both MaxPreps.com and the AVCA … Led Rustburg to the region championship in 2011 … Also a standout basketball player, scoring more 1,000 points and earning first-team all-district honors in 2010 and 2011 … State-qualifier in the high jump during the spring track season … National Honor Society.
Personal: Daughter of Anna and Timothy Heath … Sister, Ashley, plays club volleyball at Virginia … Enjoys watching movies, making videos with her sister, and volunteering with those less fortunate … Plans to major in either biology or chemistry.
Olivia Jebb – 5-8, DS
Cornwall, N.Y./Cornwall Central (Downstate Jrs)
"Olivia is a perfect fit for our program. She is a lively, quick defender with an amazing first step to the ball. She loves to compete and plays with a smile. She will be a very strong addition to our defensive ranks from her first day on campus."
Prep: Led Cornwall Central to the State Final Four every year of high school … Won four region and four section championships … Named first-team all-state as a junior and again as a senior … Second-team all-state in 2009 … County Player of the Year each of the last two years as well … Section Player of the Year in 2011 … Also a high school All-American in track and field, where she was the New York state champion in the triple jump and runner-up in the long jump … National Merit Semifinalist … National Honor Society.
Personal: Daughter of Cindy and Joel Jebb … Mother played volleyball at West Point, captaining the team her senior year … Father played football at West Point … Brother, Ben, is currently on the Army football team … Brother, Alex, is on the track team at Johns Hopkins … Enjoys coffee, Harry Potter, and board games … Plans to pursue a pre-med or pre-engineering course of study.
Dessi Koleva – 5-10, OH
Torrance, Calif./South (Mizuno Long Beach)
"Dessi is a complete six rotation player already. With her elite level club experience she will come in ready to push for court time."
Prep: Named All-CIF after her senior and junior seasons… Named MVP of the Pioneer League each of the past two years … Averaged 4.2 kills per set as a senior … Totaled 432 kills, 276 digs, 62 aces, and 47 blocks in 2011 … Four-time first-team all-league … Named all-area by the Daily Breeze in 2010 and 2011 … Won the junior championship at the CBVA Manhattan Beach Open in 2009 and 2010 … Added the AAU Manhattan Beach Open junior title in 2010 … Achieved an AA ranking from the California Beach Volleyball Association.
Personal: Daughter of Rossina and Lubomir Koleva … Enjoys playing beach volleyball, wakeboarding, and hiking … Plans to major in marketing.
Jenna Strange – 6-0, OH
Leesburg, Va./Loudoun County (Virginia Elite)
"Jenna will be concentrating on the playing the right-side position for us. She is a natural volleyball player with great instincts and a very nice touch on the ball."
Prep: Helped Loudoun County to three straight Virginia AA state championships from 2008-10 … Region Player of the Year each of the past two seasons … District Player of the Year as a junior … All-state in 2010 as well … Named second-team All-Met by the Washington Post as a junior … Named a high school All-American by PrepVolleyball.com … In 2009, PrepVolleyball.com named her one of the 79 best sophomores in the country … Also played basketball for two years, helping Loudoun County to the 2008-09 Virginia AA state title … National Honor Society … Foreign Language Honor Society … Has helped teach volleyball with the Loudoun County Special Olympics each of the past three years.
Personal: Daughter of Debra and Robert Strange … Sister, Julie, is on the track and cross country teams at James Madison … Brother, Joe, played baseball at Randolph-Macon … Enjoys cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins, watching movies, and vacations in Myrtle Beach … Undecided as to her college major.