March became the March Madness of college commits as Wisconsin had double digits in athletes committing to Division 1 or Division 2 schools, some within a couple days of each other. From Alaska to down the road in Milwaukee there…
March became the March Madness of college commits as Wisconsin had double digits in athletes committing to Division 1 or Division 2 schools, some within a couple days of each other. From Alaska to down the road in Milwaukee there is a little bit of everything mixed in this group ranging from the Class of 2018 to the Class of 2021. Here is an in depth look at the commits of March and for some a closer look as to why they chose that specific school to further their education and volleyball careers.
Katie Hoeffner – Outside Hitter/DS – WVA 18 Black – Appleton North High School Class of 2018
Committed To University of Alaska – Anchorage
Hoeffner is a gritty and spirited athlete from Appleton North High School where she has been a two time all conference player and was on Appleton North’s state tournament runs in 2015 in which she was sidelined with an ACL injury, but had a stellar comeback season in 2016. Hoeffner has quite the story of how she found Alaska. Alaska? Yes! A 56 hour drive from Appleton and an 8 hour flight from Chicago. University of Alaska – Anchorage has just over 14,000 students is in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with schools in the Pacific Northwest and even Canada. The Seawolves finished second in the nation in 2016,
Here is Hoeffner’s story on committing to UAA:
“My recruiting trip was amazing and everything I can say about Alaska and UAA are all good things (and I’m not just saying that because I’m going to college there). I fell in love with the campus right away. The campus was easy to get around and the buildings are connected…which will be great during the snow. The views from the classrooms, libraries, and the gym/stadium are breathtaking, and I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the mountains. And apparently you can catch a glimpse of a moose on campus. When I visited the campus I also got to meet with the Sociology professor, who happens to be from Sheboygan. It was comforting to know that someone else was from Wisconsin and will be with me through college. The volleyball program has been successful in the past and I could easily see why. The practice was full of intensity and energy. The communication and focus was a constant factor throughout the entire practice. But the girls and coaches also brought some fun and laughs. It really made me feel comfortable to be part of the practice. The coaches and the team seem to have adapted into a family. Which is nice because at Appleton North, Coach Steve, emphasized family as well. However, I always say the determining factor for me to commit was the community and the people of Anchorage. The girls on the team told me that the during games the stadium and atmosphere is crazy because a lot of the community make an effort to go to the games. They said the people of Anchorage really value UAA volleyball.
I consider myself very lucky that I will be living in Alaska and attending school at UAA. Although all these factors made my decision easy, the distance made my decision hard. From Appleton, Anchorage is about a 56 hour drive, and from Chicago, an 8 hour flight. So I really had to think about what I was going to get myself into. But going over all the pros of UAA easily diminished my fear of going to a school far away…very far away. I just knew UAA was right and I couldn’t be more happy with my decision. Go Seawolves!”
Alyssa Eske – Libero – Sky High 17 Black (IL) – Milwaukee King Class of 2019
Committed To Illinois
Eske was under the radar for us, playing club volleyball for Sky High in Illinois, but the numbers don’t lie for Eske who along with her back court skills, is also one of the top beach players in the state for High Velocity Beach Club in Milwaukee. Eske just glides across the floor and has a solid platform. With her beach experience, she is a solid all around player. At King High School, Eske has near 1,000 digs in her career so far. At Sky High, there are two other Wisconsin preps that are committed already in Westosha Central’s Kennedy Muff heading to Flagler in Florida and Kampbell Hehr of Big Foot heading to Georgia State.
Kaylee Kuecker – Libero – Milwaukee Sting 17 Black – Franklin Class of 2019
Committed To UW Parkside
Kuecker is high school teammate of Merkel at Franklin which will be looking to make a run this upcoming Fall. Kuecker was the Southeast Conference Defensive Player of the Year with just shy of 400 digs. The libero for Milwaukee Sting 17 Black, Kuecker has had solid training at Sting with a group of liberos around her that are college bound. UW Parkside is the only NCAA D2 school in Wisconsin and competes in the Great Lakes Valley Conference with teams from Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri which includes NCAA D2 powerhouse, Lewis University in suburban Chicago. UW Parkside will be under first year head coach, Leigh Barea.
Brianna Merkel – S/OH – Milwaukee Sting 17 Gold – Franklin High School Class of 2019
Committed To Western Illinois
Merkel has exploded onto the prep volleyball scene with a Player of the Year honor is this past fall in the Southeast Conference in the Milwaukee Area. A setter and pin hitter, Merkel is one with plenty of tools she can go to. This past high school season Merkel had 550 assists and over 200 kills. For Milwaukee Sting 17 Gold she can do a little bit of everything as well along with teammate and Wichita State recruit Kayce Litzau. Western Illinois is in Macomb, Illinois which is part of the Summit League where Denver was the champion of the conference last year. Alayna Jansky of Milwaukee Sting Black and Mukwanago High School will also be heading to Western Illinois.
Sopheea Mink – OH/MH – Capital Adidas 17 – DeForest High School Class of 2019
Committed To High Point University
High Point University, located in High Point, North Carolina between the Smoky Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean has established somewhat of a pipeline for Wisconsin prep volleyball athletes. Haley Barnes, a Neenah grad just finished an All Conference career at High Point and Sun Prairie and Capital alum, Molly Livingston will be heading into her Senior year. High Point has made it to the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons. Mink will be bringing the ability to play any of the front row positions. This club season, she started out as a middle and has since been playing on the pin. Mink can fly, almost literally. She is in the 10 foot club which means when she approaches and jumps she can touch a basketball rim. Mink has only been playing primarily on the outside for a few months! Her game will continue to evolve and is far from reaching her peak!
Here is more from Mink on her commitment to High Point:
“The warmth from the professors, administration, coaching staff, and the team made it an amazing visit. I knew nothing could ever compare, and I’m so thankful for this opportunity.”
Bailey Neuberger – OH – Capital Adidas 17 – Marshall High School Class of 2019
Committed To Southern Illinois
Neuberger is a solid catch for the Salukis as an extremely athletic outside hitter. Training and competing for Capital gives her an environment of coaches who have Division 1 coaching experience and other athletes who will be heading to high level college programs as well. Neuberger was an All State selection last fall for Marshall High School and will be looking to repeat in her senior season.
Here is a little more from Neuberger on her commitment to Southern Illinois:
“I committed to Southern Illinois University on March 29 (my birthday). My plan and goal throughout my recruiting process was to commit around my 17th birthday and with everything lining up, committing on my actual birthday sounded pretty cool, so that’s what I did! Best Birthday gift ever!
After visiting several different schools throughout my recruiting process, SIU definitely felt the most like home. From the very first conversation I had with the coaching staff, I have always felt welcome. Coach Thompson and her coaching staff will be going into their second season this fall and I’m excited to be apart of the new direction that they are taking this program! SIU also competes in the Missouri Valley Conference which is a good conference with competitive teams! Also, putting volleyball aside, they boast one of the best business schools in the nation which is what I plan to major in. I can’t wait to be a Saluki!”
Anna Nerad – MB – Milwaukee Sting 17 Black – Waukesha West High School Class of 2019
Committed To UW-Milwaukee
Nerad is an athletic, dynamic middle blocker who is currently playing for Milwaukee Sting 17 Black which has built a solid club season. UW-Milwaukee is developing a fast tempo offense which Nerad can blend into very well. They are also establishing a solid recruiting base of local athletes, especially from Sting with Abby Koenen (Burlington), Rylie Vaughn (Newman Catholic), and Jessica Grabowski (Greendale) all heading to Milwaukee this Fall. Nerad will be next in line along with Ari Miller, a 2019 commit from Kettle Moraine Lutheran.
Here is more from Nerad on her commitment to UW-Milwaukee:
“I chose Milwaukee because as soon as I walked in the door to meet the coaches and the team they showed me love and compassion right away and I immediately fell in love with the campus. It was the best choice for me and I knew I would turn into a better athlete by joining this program.”
Laura Shoopman – OH/MB/OPP – Milwaukee Sting 17 Gold – Westosha Central HS Class of 2019
Committed To Oral Roberts
Shoopman is a 6’2 powerhouse for Westosha Central and Milwaukee Sting 17 Gold. Her strength is in her power and versatility where she can play on either pin and score at will with a hard swing or roll shot. Shoopman is also a strong block and can create a match up problem for the other team with her ability to play on both sides. In 2017, Shoopman had over 500 kills and 300 digs for Westosha Central which will have an extremely strong Senior class this year. Oral Roberts is in Tulsa, Oklahoma and part of the Summit League.
What Shoopman had to say about her commitment to ORU:
“Oral Roberts has a beautiful campus and is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I wanted to go to a Christian college that has a Division 1 volleyball program. I was offered a generous scholarship and will be allowed to study nursing if I choose to do so.”
Elise Goetzinger – MB – Milwaukee Sting 16 Gold – Mount Horeb Class of 2020
Committed To Kentucky
Once Goetzinger got on the Gold National team for Sting, it wouldn’t take long before coaches from big time programs would notice. Goetzinger is 6’3, athletic, physical, and very dynamic. She also has the intangibles of a great teammate and leader that will be a great fit at the next level. Goetzinger started her club play at Wisconsin Select, made the High Performance team, and had one of her first offers from Green Bay. From there her stock continued to rise before committing to new SEC powerhouse Kentucky. Kentucky was a top four seed in the NCAA Tournament, and SEC champion along with Florida this past season. Kentucky also has an upper Midwest flavor with Tomahawk native Anna Nyberg and two athletes from Iowa who were part of the team.
Karina Leber – Middle Blocker – Wisconsin Juniors 16-1 – Wilmot Union Class of 2020
Committed To Colorado State
When I first saw Leber play this year at the Winter Classic and again at GLPL in January, she was getting better, and more confident in each play. Her style of play will fit in perfectly with Colorado State that is considered a “Mid-Major”, but is consistently ranked and in the NCAA Tournament. Leber is fast and physical with a combination of athleticism and raw power that really adds to her game. She can get from pin to pin with her block and is also lethal off of one foot. Her style fits in perfectly with the rest of her teammates as they have landed some big upsets, most recently finishing in the top ten of the MidEast Qualifier in Indianapolis.
Samantha Naber – Libero – Milwaukee Sting 15 Gold – Burlington Class of 2021
Committed To Marquette
Naber’s big coming out party was at this past year’s Division 1 state tournament where Burlington was crowned champion after a five set win over River Falls. Naber was the starting libero for a state championship team. She was playing at such an elite level for only being a Freshman. With her play throughout the season and show at the state tournament, Naber was the top Freshman in the state earning 2nd Team All State Honors at libero. With some looks from schools on the West Coast, Naber sealed it with the local favorite in Marquette which has Sting 18 Gold libero, Katie Schoessow coming in this Fall.