Press Release courtesy of Northwestern Athletics
Northwestern volleyball head coach Shane Davis has announced the addition of four players to the program, starting in Fall 2018.
Kiara McNulty (Del Mar, Calif./Torrey Pines), Ella Grbac (Cleveland, Ohio/Gilmour), Hanna Lesiak (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East), and Abryanna Cannon (Novi, Mich./Novi) all signed their National Letters of Intent to join the Wildcats.
“Overall, this class comes from a lot of great quality club and high school programs,” said Davis. “These four are some of the most complete volleyball players out there, and we can’t wait to bring their versatility to our gym. They all fit so well with our program’s values and goals and will help us continue to compete in the Big Ten.”
All four of the newcomers are PrepVolleyball Senior Aces, three of the four are from the Midwest, and one is a #HOMEGROWN product from Illinois.
McNulty, a 2017 Under Armour All-American and a PrepVolleyball “Supernova,” is a 5-foot-10 setter from Del Mar, California. In addition to her on-court talents, she is also a leader among her peers in terms of community service, founding the annual Female Athletic Volunteers (FAV) Queen of the Beach volleyball tournament, with 64 players raising over $20,000 for local charities.
The Wildcats will add 2015 State Champion Grbac to their squad in the fall. The daughter of Super Bowl-winning quarterback Elvis Grbac, she collected three All-Ohio awards during her high school career, and is rated among one of the top outside hitters in the nation.
A #HOMEGROWN product, Lesiak was a three-year regional champion for Lincoln-Way East. Twice winning All-Conference honors, she is the daughter of Susan Lesiak, a former volleyball player for UIC.
Finally, Northwestern adds Cannon, a 2017 Gatorade Player of the Year finalist. A 2016 Class-A State Champion, Davis describes her as a “six-rotation player,” who led her team in aces and kills in her junior year.
Full bios for the signees are listed below.
5-10 • S
Del Mar, Calif. // Torrey Pines // WAVE Volleyball Club
High School: Lettered three years, playing setter and outside … Varsity Captain senior year … PrepVolleyball Senior Ace … 2017 Under Armour All-American … MVP of 2017 Nike California Challenge … Named PrepVolleyball “Supernova” … MVP 2017 Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions … Played setter her junior year with a 6-2 system, helping lead the Falcons to a 28-6 season record … 2015 PrepVolleyball Dream Team … National Society of High School Scholars … Played club for 10 years … Team won gold medal at the Triple Crown NIT and Pacific NW Qualifier in 2016 … Went to same high school school as Tony Hawk, Shaun White, and John Lynch … National Society of High School Scholars … 2016 Union Tribune All-Academic Team.
Personal: Daughter of Alana and John McNulty … Born Kiara Lyn McNulty … Played against current Wildcat setter Britt Bommer in high school and club … Enjoys rock climbing and scuba diving … Co-president of Female Athletic Volunteers (FAV) … Co-founded the organization in 2012, grown to around 200 members … Founder and director of the annual FAV Queen of the Beach volleyball tournament with 64 players raising over $20,000 for local charities … Anticipated major is computer science.
Says Davis: “Kiara is an incredible leader and competitor. She comes from a great family and her coaches cannot stop raving about her. She is a real go-getter and a tremendous ambassador for her community.”
6-1 • OH/OPP
Cleveland, Ohio // Gilmour // Cleveland Volleyball Company
High School: Lettered all four years … 2015 State Champion with Gilmour … Made the Final Four with the Lancers from 2014-16 … Team captain for three years … Played middle hitter freshman through junior year, and outside hitter senior year … Posted two matches with 20-plus kills her senior year … All-District honors all four years … Three All-Ohio awards … District Player of the Year (2017) … PrepVolleyball #14 Outside Hitter … Five-time OVR Champions with her club team … Honor roll freshman and junior year.
Personal: Daughter of Lori and Elvis Grbac … Born Ella Marie Grbac … Father played football for University of Michigan and NFL … Started 70 games, was on the Super Bowl XXIX-winning Chargers, and was named to the 2000 Pro Bowl … Anticipated major is psychology.
Says Davis: “Ella is a versatile attacker with an explosive arm. She’s a winner, through and through, and will add some physicality to our gym in a way that will make a huge impact.”
6-1 • OH
Frankfort, Ill. // Lincoln-Way East // Sports Performance
High School: Three-year varsity letter winner, playing outside hitter … Three-year regional champion in high school … Sectional champion in 2015 … All-Conference awards junior and senior year … PrepVolleyball Senior Ace … 2016 Herald News All-Area … Academic Honor Roll.
Personal: Daughter of Mark and Susan Lesiak … Born Hanna Brooke Lesiak … Mother played volleyball for UIC … Enjoys reading, concerts, and playing with her dog, Maggie … Anticipated major is history.
Says Davis: “Hanna is a complete, six-rotation player who will be a tremendous addition to our team. She is a dynamic, high-flying player who is also a high-level passer. That combination, plus her drive, makes her a perfect fit for us.”
6-1 • OH
Novi, Mich. // Novi // Legacy Volleyball Club
High School: Five-year varsity letter winner, playing outside hitter … 2017 Gatorade Player of the Year Finalist … 2016 Class-A State Champion … Three All-Conference awards … Three-year All-Region player … Led her team with 519 kills and 70 aces in her junior year … First Team All-State in 2016 and 2017 … Michigan Miss Volleyball Finalist … Finished third in AAU Nationals with Michigan Elite 17U … Academic Honor Roll.
Personal: Daughter of Jeff and Jodi Cannon … Born Abryanna Anita-Marie Cannon
… One of four girls from her high school chosen to attend MHSAA Women in Sports Leadership Conference in 2016 … Competed against current Wildcat outside hitter Nia Robinson in high school … Enjoys drawing … One of seven siblings … Anticipated major is Pre-Med.
Says Davis: “Abryanna has a ton of range and fantastic ball control. She is another six-rotation player that will provide a tremendous amount of presence on the court.”