Press Release courtesy of Illinois Athletics
Fighting Illini volleyball and head coach Chris Tamas announced the signing of two student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on Thursday (November 9) as Diana Brown (Columbus, Ohio) and Taylor Kuper (Lenexa, Kansas) will join the Orange and Blue for the 2018 season.
Diana Brown // Columbus, Ohio // St. Francis DeSales HS // Mintonette Sports // Setter // 6-0
Notes: Earned 2017 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Under Armour Second-Team All-America accolades … PrepVolleyball.com Senior Ace No. 45 … Two-time Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Assocation (OHSVCA) First-Team All-Ohio honoree … Earned OHSVCA Second-Team All-Ohio accolades in 2015 … Co-Central Ohio District Player of the Year in 2017 and 2015 … Four-time All-Central District … Four-time First-Team All-Central Catholic League … Led her SFDHS team to the State Final Four in 2014, the Final Eight in 2015 and back-to-back Sweet Sixteen appearances in 2016 and 2017 … Three-time Central Catholic League Champions with SFDHS … Four-year member of the Mintonette Sports National Team, where she led her team to a USAV National Championship in 2013 and a runner-up finish in 2015, earning All-Tournament Team honors along the way … Four-time honor roll student, two-time National Honor Society honoree and President of National Honor Society in 2017.
“I chose Illinois because I felt at home. I love the campus atmosphere that includes the vibrate spirit. I love the relationship between the coaches and players; we are all one family. I love the rigorous academics and athletic competition. I wanted to play in the Big Ten, the toughest conference in the nation.”
Tamas on Brown
“Every good team needs a great setter and Diana has all of the abilities to become a great setter here at Illinois. Besides her skill sets, she has proven to be an excellent leader on the court and in her community. Her passion, hard work and leadership will be well received in Champaign. We look forward to having her here next year!”
Taylor Kuper // Lenexa, Kansas // Olathe Northwest HS // KC Power // Defensive Specialist/Libero // 5-8
Notes: Earned 2017 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Under Armour Third-Team All-America accolades … PrepVolleyball.com Senior Ace … Led her Olathe Northwest High School team to back-to-back Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) 6A State Championships as junior and a senior, earning All-State Tournament Team honors following both seasons … Also helped lead ONHS to a fourth place finish as a sophomore and a runner-up place as a freshman … Named KSHSAA First-Team All-State and Sunflower League Player of the Year as a senior … PrepVolleyball.com’s ‘Leading Candidate for Kansas Player of the Year’ as a senior … Two-time KSHSAA Second-Team All-State and First-Team All-Sunflower League as a sophomore and junior … Named to PrepVolleyball.com’s Second-Team Defensive Dandy list in 2017 and Fifth-Team Defensive Dandy and Soph79 lists in 2016 … Earned Sunflower League Honorable Mention and Honorable Mention All-State Academic Team accolades as a freshman … PrepVolleyball.com Club Honorable Mention All-American in 2015.
“I fell in love with the campus instantly, and the girls were very sweet and took the time to speak with my family and I. The coaches are awesome and very easy to talk to, as well as their coaching ability being top notch. At the end of the day, it was an easy decision for me.”
Tamas on Kuper
“Taylor caught my eye when I was working a camp and saw her as a hitter. She had a great ability to see the court and had a wicked jump serve. She caught my eye again when I first got here and saw her touch as a passer and her range as a defender. The most impressive thing was her determination to improve in those two skills over the course of the year. It means she is coachable and driven towards excellence. We are excited to have her as a Fighting Illini!”
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