Dec. 9, 2007
LOS ANGELES, CA -
Loyola Marymount volleyball and Head Coach Steve Stratos announced the signing of six volleyball standouts. Alaina Bergsma (Chandler, Ariz./Valley Christian HS), Emily Cheek (Sequin, Tex./Sequin HS), Ariana Covington (Carlsbad, Calif./Carlsbad HS), Lauren DeGrandmont (Portland, Ore./Central Catholic HS), Jasmine Rankins (Vista, Calif./Vista HS) and Alesha Young (Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor HS) each signed National Letters of Intent to join the Lions in the fall for the 2008 season.
"We as a coaching staff and team are very excited about the 2008 recruiting class," Stratos said. "We feel that the group is potentially one of the finest recruiting classes we have ever had, and all six girls are capable of having an impact early in their careers."
Bergsma, a 2007 Arizona High School All-American and member of the Arizona Juniors Club Team, was a four-year varsity letter winner for Valley Christian High School in Chandler, Ariz. and garnered All-League, All-Metro Region and All-State Tournament Team honors at the conclusion of her sophomore through senior seasons. The 6'3" outside hitter guided her team to the 2005 and 2007 Metro Region Championship and a runner-up finish in 2006. In addition, her teams reached the State Quarter-Finals in 2005 and the State Semi-Finals in her junior and senior campaigns.
"Alaina has the ability to play both the left and right sides," Stratos said. "At 6'3", she provides us with a presence at the net and a very live arm."
Cheek was a member of the Austin Juniors Club Team and was a three-year varsity letter winner at Sequin High School in Sequin, Tex. The 6'3" outside hitter was awarded All-League honors in each of the last three years, and led her team to the State Playoffs in 2005 and 2007. Cheek was named to Prep Volleyball's 2008 "Senior Aces" list before garnering First-Team All-District honors and earning a spot on the Texas All-State Team following her senior campaign.
"Emily is another 6'3" player who could prove to be an outstanding left-side hitter or opposite," Stratos said. "She has developed into one of Texas' best players in her senior year."
Covington, a member of the Epic Volleyball Club Team in San Diego, Calif., was a three-year varsity letter winner at Carlsbad High School in Carlsbad, Calif. An All-League selection in each year of play, she was named League MVP after both her junior and senior campaigns. In addition, Covington garnered All-Southern Section CIF honors in 2006 and 2007 and led her team to the Avocado League Championship in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The 5'11" outside hitter also guided her team to a 2007 CIF Southern Section Runner-Up finish and the CIF State Southern Section Semi-Finals that same year.
"Ariana is a tremendous athlete that should prove to be an asset to our team on the outside or at middle blocker," Stratos said.
DeGrandmont, a member of the Portland Volleyball Club Team and a three-year varsity letter winner at Central Catholic High School in Portland, Ore., was a three-time All-League selection as a defensive specialist. She was awarded Honorable Mention All-State Tournament Team honors in 2006, and First-Team All-State Tournament Team in 2007 after leading her squad to second-place finishes at the State Tournament in 2005 and 2006 and a third-place finish in 2007. Following her senior season in 2007, DeGrandmont was named Mount Hood League Co-MVP.
"Lauren is a very accomplished libero both individually and as part of a team, having gone deep in the Oregon State Tournament the last three straight years," Stratos said.
Rankins, a soon-to-be teammate of Covington on the Epic Volleyball Club Team, was a four-year varsity letter winner at Vista High School in Vista, Calif. The 6'0" outside hitter garnered All-Avocado League honors in 2005 and 2006 before earning an All-North San Diego County bid in 2006. In addition, as a member of the Epic Volleyball Club Team, she helped guide her team to a fifth-place showing at the Junior Olympics in the 18's Open Division in 2007.
"Jasmine is an explosive and athletic outside hitter who last year started on one of the premier 18's Club Teams in the country," Stratos said.
Young, a member of the Orange County Volleyball Club Team, was a four-year varsity letter winner at Newport Harbor High School in Costa Mesa, Calif. The talented setter garnered All-Sunset League honors in 2006 and 2007 while being named League MVP in 2007. Young led her team to the Sunset League Championship and the CIF Playoffs in all four years of high school play, with the squad reaching the CIF Semi-Finals in 2007. In addition to her accomplishments in her league, she also earned an All-CIF Southern Section nod after her senior campaign, and was an integral part of the 2007 Volleyball Festival Club Volleyball Champions in the 18's Division.
"Alesha was a four-year starting setter at one of the premier volleyball high schools in California," Stratos said. "On top of that, she is a flat-out winner."
The talented recruiting class will join the Lions in 2008, looking to help guide LMU to another winning season under Stratos.