Seven student-athletes have signed to join the Southern Oregon volleyball program in the fall, head coach Josh Rohlfing announced Thursday.
The 2013 signing class will include a trio of high school seniors and four incoming transfers. Brynna Dougharity, Emma Gasman and Lauren McGowne will all be freshmen in the fall, while Laura Friar, Paulla Pinheiro, Lindsay Verboort and Shelby Young will all have two years of eligibility remaining.
"In our recruiting push we looked to sew up our class with versatility, leadership and a blend of collegiate match-tested players," Rohlfing said. "We believe we did that with this group."
Brynna Dougharity is a three-year volleyball letter winner at Sam Barlow High School in Gresham. She is a 5-foot-10 hitter who can play multiple positions and served as a team captain for the Bruins last season. "Brynna brings a strong understanding of the team concept and will bring immediate leadership to our program," Rohlfing said. "Her work ethic, strength and experience were paramount in our desire for her to be a Raider."
Emma Gasman is a two-time volleyball first-team all-league honoree at Buchanan High School in Clovis, Calif. Playing as a middle blocker and outside hitter, the 6-0 Gasman was named team offensive MVP as a senior and earned varsity letters all four years while also earning two letters in track and field.
Lauren McGowne comes to SOU as a two-sport athlete after starring in both volleyball and track and field at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay. A 5-9 setter, McGowne earned second-team all-state honors as a senior after leading her team to a third-place finish at the state tournament. She is a two-time all-league honoree and helped her team finish at least sixth at state three times.
"In Lauren we found a setter who can rival our hitters in regard to sheer athleticism and explosiveness," Rohlfing said. "It will be an exciting opportunity to coach a setter who can play above the net and has the ability to chase down balls. She is exceptional in so many setter-leader aspects and grasps concepts quickly."
Laura Friar was a three-sport athlete in high school and starred for Bellevue College in Bellevue, Wash., in each of the past two seasons. Friar was named team captain and MVP and all-region as both a freshman and a sophomore after leading the league in kills per game both years. During her time at King's High School in Edmonds, Wash., Friar won a WIAA 1A volleyball state championship finished in the top three two other times while also helping her basketball team claim a state title.
Paulla Pinheiro is a 5-9 outside hitter from Fortaleza, Brazil, and has spent the past two seasons at Trinity Valley College in Athens, Texas. This past season she averaged 2.81 kills per set with a .230 attack percentage as Trinity Valley posted an 18-12 record.
"Paulla is a true four-position player with the ability to play on the outside or opposite side while also being able to play the libero and setter positions," Rohlfing said.
"She will make a huge impact as a leader and competitor in our program, and the Southern Oregon community is going to love the passion she plays with on the court."
Salem native Lindsay Verboort was a three-year volleyball letter winner in high school and has attended Linn Benton Community College in Albany the past two seasons. A 5-8 setter, she will compete with McGowne for immediate playing time this fall after the departure of senior setters Angela Spieker and Caryn Westrick from the 2012 team.
Shelby Young joins the SOU program after stints at American River and Hofstra. Originally from Lincoln, Calif., Young was a three-time all-league selection at Whitney High School and averaged 9.4 kills and 13.6 digs per set as a senior.
"Shelby is physical and plays well above the net, but she brings more than verticality to our program as she can play six rotations and block exceptionally well," Rohlfing said. "We were struck by Shelby's maturity and drive to achieve her goals here at SOU in all facets of her life."
The Raiders will look for big contributions from the seven newcomers as the team looks to replace departed seniors Haley Kasler, Natalie Scheller, Spieker and Westrick. The 2012 team finished the season with a 19-11 record, ending a five-year streak of 20-win seasons.
"This is an exceptional group from top to bottom," Rohlfing said. "They will contribute to our program as volleyball players, leaders and students and they will increase our ability to sustain a competitive and exceptionally strong training environment as they join our current Raider team."
Southern Oregon opens the 2013 season Aug. 22 at the Biola Invitational, where the Raiders will take on four of the top teams in the country. The Raiders play their first home contests the following week when they will host the Paul Elliott Invitational on Aug. 29-30 at Bob Riehm Arena.