With the second signing period underway, the Illinois women’s volleyball team inked in four new players for the 2017 season – Kylie Bruder, Morgan O’Brien, Lexie Smith and Emmaline Walters.
Kylie Bruder – Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Setter
Bruder, a 5-11 setter, comes out of Pine Crest High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida – she is set to join the team with an impressive resume to her name:
- Miami Herald First-Team All-County
- Two-Time Sun Sentinel Second-Team All-County
- AVCA All-American Honorable Mention
- 2014 Florida Dairy Farmers Player of the Year Runner-Up
- 2014 State Runner-Up at Pine Crest
- Four-year starter and three-year captain for Pine Crest
- Three-time Pine Crest Honor Roll Recipient
Bruder is the all-time leader in assists for Pine Crest with and in her final season with the team she handed out 553 assists for an average of 8.4 assists per set. She also added 189 digs, 55 kills and 29 service aces. In addition to volleyball, Bruder also is a top athlete on her school’s track and field and weightlifting teams.
Bruder plays club volleyball for Ocean Breeze Volleyball Club.
Morgan O’Brien – Libertyville, Illinois – Defensive Specialist
Staying in her home state is Morgan O’Brien, a 5-8 defensive specialist out of Libertyville, Illinois. O’Brien has a long list of accomplishments from her prep volleyball career:
- Prepvolleyball.com All-American Special Mention
- 2016 News-Sun Volleyball Player of the Year
- IHSA All-State First-Team (junior)
- Max Preps All-American (sophomore)
- Two-Time North Suburban All-Conference
- Two-time Daily Herald/Lake County All-Area
- Daily Herald/Lake County All-Area Honorable Mention (freshman)
- North Suburban All-Conference Honorable Mention (freshman)
O’Brien set the Libertyville High School record in digs her senior season for a career total of 2,178 digs and 637 digs in her senior campaign. O’Brien also brought it from behind the serving line with a career total of 192 aces, with 57 in her senior campaign.
O’Brien plays club volleyball at Sky High Volleyball Club.
Lexie Smith – Lucas, Texas – Defensive Specialist
A 5-7 defensive specialist out of Lovejoy High School is Lexie Smith who will bring a lot to the back row for the Illini.
- 2016 Prepvolleyball.com All-American
- 2016 TAVC 5A/6A Preseason All-Texas Team
- Allen Open All-Tournament Team
- Adidas Texas Invitational All-Tournament Team
- Texas Sports Writers Association First-Team All-State
- Prepvolleyball.com Defensive Player of the Year Finalist
- Dallas Morning News First-Team All-Area
- First-Team All-District
In her junior season, Smith was able to break the Lovejoy school record for digs in a season with 718 for an average of 5.2 digs per set.
Smith plays club volleyball at Texas Advantage Club.
Emmaline Walters – Huntington Beach, California – Defensive Specialist
The 5-7 defensive specialist out of Huntington Beach High School will strengthen the teams back row play for the 2017 season.
- Named to the JVA Beach Watchlist (junior)
- AVCA Phenom List honoree
Walters began her high school career in Nokesville, Virginia where she was the first freshman in program history to make the varsity team helping her team to a top-ten finish in State 3A playoffs.
Walters plays club volleyball for A4 Volleyball Club.
The four join Megan Cooney, Kylie Kuyava-Deberg, Emily Hollowell, Tyanna Omazic and Marijke Van Dyke who signed in the fall, pushing the total of freshman in the 2017 season to nine.