Volleyball signs pair of 6-5 middle blockers
AUSTIN, Texas -- Continuing his recent trend of strong recruiting, Texas volleyball head coach Jerritt Elliott announced Wednesday the signing of two top high school volleyball players during the early signing period (Nov. 10-17). Current high school seniors RuthAnn Feist (Wallisville, Texas/Baytown Christian Academy/Team Texas) and Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich./Saline HS/Go Blue VBC) will join the Longhorns for the 2005 campaign.
"We are happy to welcome a pair of very talented players to our club," Elliott said. "They add a lot of size to our team and bring a lot of athleticism to the court. It's exciting to see players of this caliber continue to decide that Texas is the place they want to grow and help win championships.
"RuthAnn continues the trend we've had of keeping Texas' best at home and in-state, and Lauren is widely considered the best middle blocker in the 2005 class. We'll add a lot of physicality when RuthAnn and Lauren arrive on campus, and we'll get a lot stronger at the net."
Feist is one of prepvolleyball.com's Senior Aces. She helped lead Baytown Christian Academy to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) 3A state championship in 2001, 2002 and 2004. She has earned multiple TAPPS all-state accolades and was named the 2004 area offensive player of the year. Additionally, she participated in the USA Volleyball High Performance camp in both 2001 and 2002 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Feist plays her club volleyball for Team Texas and will enroll at UT in January.
"RuthAnn has progressed a lot in the last couple of years as she's adjusted to her height. She's become a really nice athlete. She has a wide variety of skills. RuthAnn can play middle blocker, right side and potentially on the left. She'll join us on campus in the spring and we'll be able to get her right into our program: in the classroom, in the gym and in the weight room."
Paolini is seventh-highest rated player nationally by prepvolleyball.com, and she was one of the most highly sought-after recruits in the country. She was a member of the 2004 USA Volleyball A2 team. Paolini is a member of Go Blue VBC based in Ann Arbor, Mich.
"Lauren is an exceptional athlete and is very light on her feet," Elliott said. "She jumps well and even dunked a ball in a recent basketball game. Lauren, like RuthAnn, is also very versatile and can play anywhere on the court, even with her size. She'll be an excellent blocker and may be the most physical player I've ever seen off of one foot, where she excels. She is somewhat of a hidden gem in this recruiting class because of her high school and club experience, but all of the top programs nationally were fighting to sign her."
No. 9 Texas faces No. 13 Texas A&M tonight at Gregory Gym on the UT campus. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.