New recruits proving strength, providing competition
By Alli Jenney
NAU’s women’s volleyball team knew head coach Craig Choate had a strong 2012 recruiting class, and now after several practices with the newcomers, the Lumberjacks are excited for their contribution to the program.
Arizona standouts Payton Bock and Trianna Henry have impressive resumes from their high school experience. Bock played middle blocker at Hamilton High in Tempe, helping her squad become third in the state accumulating a record of 101–27 during her four-year tenure. Henry saw one loss as she led her team to four consecutive state titles in the outside hitter position at Sunnyslope High in Phoenix.
“I think Payton [Bock] is a huge impact on our team,” senior libero Anna Gott said. “We haven’t seen middles this athletic before, not even just our freshmen but even our freshmen and sophomores, so in the middle position right now we have a really young class, so that’s awesome for us and they’re doing a really good job. Trianna [Henry] brings a lot of power to the team but she also brings a lot of ball control. I think that her defense is definitely helping us as well as her serving and attacking.”
From Cheyenne Mountain High in Colorado Springs, Colo., outside hitter Janae Vander Ploeg, alone, has a plethora of noteworthy achievements. Vander Ploeg was awarded the state championship MVP her junior and senior years from a four-time Colorado state championship team and led her team to its first state titles in her school’s program history. Vander Ploeg graduated Cheyenne Mountain High’s all–time kills record. Additionally, Vander Ploeg garnered Denver Post’s 4A Player of the Year, two conference player of the year awards and was named the 2012 Fred Steinmark High School Athlete of the Year Award as the top multi-sport athlete (basketball and soccer) in the state of Colorado.
“Janae’s [Vander Ploeg] just all around, [she’s] just so good,” Gott said. “She has been a big impact as well, ball control, hitting, everything. She doesn’t make very many errors, so that definitely helps us.”
Senior outside hitter Kelli Dallmann also noted the strength of their new freshmen.
“They are so athletic, all of them. It makes everything more competitive in practice and it makes us better,” Dallmann said.
Lumberjack veterans Dallman and Gott advised their new teammates to be confident in themselves, set aside the little things that may get in their way and stay focused on volleyball.
For Vander Ploeg, being a member of the team means more than simply playing the game. It means being a part of something.
“[The most important part is] being a part of a team and part of a community, always working together [and] going through everything together as a team,” Vander Ploeg said. “I guess just as a team aspect, there’s a lot of pride in what you’re representing at your school.”