As a rocky season comes to a close, the Wisconsin volleyball team may have gained its greatest victory of the season Thursday when it landed the nation’s top volleyball recruit along with two other players.
Top recruit Lauren Carlini, a 6-foot-2 setter/hitter from Aurora, Ill., Tori Blake, a 6-foot-3 middle blocker from Midland, Mich., and Haleigh Nelson, another 6-foot-3 middle blocker from Cary, N.C., all signed letters of intent to play at Wisconsin beginning in fall 2013.
“We are really excited to be announcing our class of 2013,” head coach Pete Waite said in a statement released Thursday. “They fill a variety of needs for us and have some impressive resumes. We’re looking forward to having them on campus with us and playing for the Badgers. I know this group is going to do some amazing things during their careers.”
PrepVolleyball.com ranked Carlini — a member of the USA Youth National Team — as the nation’s top recruit. She was also recently named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Under Armour All-America First Team.
These honors all join Carlini’s 2011 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships Most Valuable Player award. She has also led her club team to numerous top-10 finishes, earning four AAU All-American awards along the way.
“Lauren is an impressive player who has the skills to make a major impact on our program,” Waite said. “She’s a phenomenal setter who can raise the level of those around her. She has the size and jump to be an excellent player at the net, and her defensive skills are as good as any.”
Blake is a two-time all-conference and all-region selection and will graduate from Midland High School in December and enroll at Wisconsin for the spring semester. She is ranked 89th nationally by PrepVolleyball.com.
Nelson was also named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Under Armour All-America First Team. She led Cardinal Gibbons High School to its fourth-consecutive 3A state championship this past season and was also named most valuable player.