The 2018 NCAA women’s volleyball season is right around the corner, and there will be lots of new faces adorning the courts. This week, VolleyMob’s Jil Price Igara will take a look at the top 5 nationally at each position in a primer on the future of NCAA volleyball.
1. Asjia O’Neal – Texas
Texas head coach Jerritt Elliot knows the talent he got when he signed Asjia O’Neal, frankly stating she had the ability to compete the day she steps into the gym as a Longhorn on signing day. The three-time USA Junior National All-Tournament Team selection earned a USA Open National Championship with Texas Advantage 17 Black. O’Neal, who is 6-3, hails from an athletic family as the daughter of six-time NBA All-Star Jermaine O’Neal. Training with the likes of Preseason All-Big 12 middle Morgan Johnson will only elevate O’Neal’s status in year one, especially after taking her senior year off.
2. Heather Gneiting – BYU
Heather Gneiting joins the Cougars with a stellar prep background and is poised to make a splash in her first collegiate season for head coach Heather Olmstead. The first team All-American and All-State selection was a four-year varsity starter at Pleasant Grove High School and won a state high school beach championship. Gneiting showed well in BYU’s scrimmage win over Utah Valley, 3-0, notching a team-high five blocks and seven kills.
3. Whitney Foreman – LSU
When Whitney Foreman signed to play for LSU, head coach Fran Flory called her a special player who will have an immediate and significant impact. It is high praise for a decorated athlete, who has compiled a strong resume, which in second team and third team All-American awards at Langham Creek High School. Foreman also helped the Texas Tornados to a third place result in the nationals open division and a Lonestar Tournament title. Look for her to step up for the Tigers this fall.
4. Callie Schwarzenbach – Nebraska
Callie Schwarzenbach, who Nebraska head coach John Cook refers to as a smooth athlete, joins the defending national champion Husker roster as one of three underclassmen middle blockers. In front of a sold out Devaney Center, Schwarzenback didn’t shy away from the spotlight in the team’s Red/White Scrimmage. She led the way with five blocks and added five kills on a .333 hitting percentage. Not too surprising for an athlete who led KC Power to a USA Volleyball U18 national championship and second place national ranking. Look for Schwarzenbach, also a prep standout in basketball and track and field, to have an impact on the court for the youthful Huskers early.
5. Karson Bacon – Oregon
Oregon head coach Matt Ulmer touts Karson Bacon as the most physically gifted athlete his program has ever seen and an intimidating blocker. She earned first team All-American honors as a four-year starter for Rancho Cucamonga High School and led Tstreet Volleyball Club. If she doesn’t redshirt, look for her to apply her talents right away for the Ducks.