With just about two months left before the 2017 volleyball season begins, VolleyMob is taking a look at some of the collegiate recruiting classes you may have missed and those who stand to make an impact on teams in and out of the final AVCA Top 25.
After falling to Minnesota in the Regional Final, UCLA finished ranked sixth in the AVCA Coaches Poll:
UCLA finished with the same record in conference (15-5) and overall (27-7) as eventual National Champion and fellow Pac-12 foe Stanford. But unlike the Cardinal, the Bruins fell short against Minnesota in the Regional Final before Stanford would take down the Golden Gophers in the Final Four. After losing five seniors though, UCLA will need to re-tool with a big group of newcomers – something they nailed with seven incoming freshmen in addition to a highly sought after transfer.
Three of the seven freshmen-to-be earned Under Armour All-American status: Jenny Mosser, Mac May and Emily Ryan. 5’11” Mosser earned First Team Under Armour All-American status as an outside hitter, while the 6’3″ May was on the second team at the same position. At 6’4″, middle blocker Emily Ryan garnered honorable mention honors.
The other four high school commits are Anne Crouch, Katie Jacobs, Alexis Light and Sabrina Smith. At 5’9″, Crouch played both libero and outside hitter in high school, but figures to transition more to the defensive specialist/libero role with the Bruins. Also standing 5’9″, Jacobs is the lone setter in the class for UCLA. The most fruitful position being brought in is at outside hitter, where 6’5″ Alexis Light is the third at the position in the class along with Mosser and May. Rounding out the list is Smith, who’s a 6’4″ middle blocker from northern California.
The most substantial addition for the present though comes by way of the transfer market with Sarah Sponcil. The 5’10” senior-to-be previously played for a Loyola Marymount squad that made the Sweet 16 in 2015 after upsetting Stanford in the second round. Playing the role of outside hitter, Sponcil earned All-America Honorable Mention as a sophomore and junior.
Sponcil’s addition already gives them more players with some type of AVCA All-America recognition than they had all of last year. Surprisingly, UCLA didn’t have any AVCA All-Americans in 2016, although Pac-12 Libero of the Year Taylor Formico was a senior and has since graduated. Fellow All-Pac-12 selection Jennie Frager along with Pac-12 honorable mention Jordan Anderson also depart. Torrey Van Winden earned All-Pac-12 First Team honors as just a freshman last season, but is not listed on the 2017 UCLA Women’s Volleyball Roster. She is listed on the beach team, so it’s possible she’s only participating in the sand. It’s also possible it’s just a typo, as currently nothing has been released from UCLA’s side.
Joining the seven freshmen and Sponcil will be Reily Buechler, a senior outside hitter who made honorable mention in the Pac-12 awards. She will be just one of two seniors on the roster and the only one who started her career in the UCLA program.