Wayne State volleyball coach Scott Kneifl announced the signing of six high school standouts to national letters of intent during the NCAA early signing period for the 2017-18 academic year.
The group includes Alyssa Ballenger of Ankeny, Iowa, Hope Carter from Mililani, Hawaii, Madelyn Duffy of Fridley, Minn., Madeline Knobbe of West Point, Allison Timmermans from Orange City, Iowa and Jacee Weber of Dorchester.
Ballenger is a 5-foot-10 outside hitter from Ankeny High School in Iowa. This season, she led Class 5A in Iowa with 5.8 kills per set by recording a school record 604 kills with a .337 attack percentage while also averaging 4.2 digs per set. Ballenger led Ankeny High School to a 38-6 record and the Class 5A state semi-finals. For her career, Ballenger recorded 1,625 kills, 1,142 digs, 171 blocks and 118 service aces. She is a two-time All-Central Iowa Metro League Elite Six selection by the Des Moines Register and three-time All-District honoree.
"Alyssa is a dynamic six-rotation outside hitter that has played at a very high level of high school and club ball in Iowa," said Kneifl. "She is used to being a go-to player and wants the ball in crunch time. We look for her to make an immediate impact in our program at the outside hitter position."
Carter is a 5-foot-9 setter from Mililani High School in Oahu, Hawaii where she is a three-year starter in volleyball and basketball. She was named the OIA Volleyball Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016 and helped her team to unbeaten regular seasons the last two years. Carter was also named Volleyball Club Player of the Year three times and played on the Hawaii beach volleyball championship team the last three seasons. She was also named to the Hawaii All-Tournament First Team the last three seasons.
"Hope is a very athletic setter that has won numerous awards in Hawaii for her play," commented Kneifl. "She is a "baller" and not only adds depth to the setter position but can also defend with the best of them. She has a very high volleyball IQ and we look forward to seeing what she can do in Black and Gold."
Duffy is a 5-foot-7 defensive specialist/libero from De La Salle High School in Minneapolis where she started four years in volleyball and softball. She led her team in digs and service aces all four years in high school and led the team in kills as a senior. Duffy is a four-time All-Tri Metro Conference selection in volleyball and three-time All-Conference honoree in softball.
"Maddie has a high quality of ball control and defensive abilities," stated Kneifl. "She has shown that she can pass and defend at an incredibly high level in one of the best club systems in Minnesota and we are excited that she chose Wayne State."
Knobbe is a 6-foot-1 middle hitter from Guardian Angels Central Catholic High School in West Point where she is a four-year starter in volleyball and basketball. She averaged 4.4 kills per set this season as a senior while helping GACC to a fourth place finish in the Class D-1 State Tournament. Knobbe helped the Bluejays reach the state volleyball tournament all four years in high school and was an All-Mid States Conference selection the last three seasons and has also earned All-State volleyball honors.
"Maddie is a very talented athlete with the size and length to be very successful at the net at our level," said Kneifl. "She has improved her overall skills in the last year and we look forward to watching her compete for playing time as a freshman at the middle hitter position."
Timmermans is a 6-foot-1 setter from Unity Christian High School in Iowa where she was a four-year starter. She averaged 8.53 assists and 2.79 digs per set this season helping Unity Christian reach the Iowa Class 2A state semi-finals. For her career, Timmermans recorded 2,595 set assists, 329 blocks and 210 service aces while earning All-War Eagle First Team honors three times and helping Unity Christian make three consecutive state tournament appearances. Last season as a junior, she was a Third Team All-State selection in Iowa.
"Ali is a very long athlete whose left-handed length and athleticism will be an added plus to our program," remarked Kneifl. "She will train at both setter and opposition positions and her ability to terminate the ball will be something that we look forward to working with for years to come."
Weber is a 5-foot-8 defensive specialist/outside hitter from Dorchester High School where she was a four-year starter in volleyball, basketball and track and field. She averaged 4.4 kills and 5.4 digs per set this season while recording school records for kills (321) and digs (392) in a season. Weber also holds career records for kills (940), digs (982) and service aces (133). Last season she was named Nebraska Prep Volleyball Third Team All-Class and honorable mention All-State. In basketball, Weber was Second Team All-Conference and honorable mention All-State and in track and field was a state track qualifier in the long jump and triple jump placing fourth in the triple jump. She also excels in the classroom earning NCPA Academic All-State honors in all three sports.
"Jacee is a multi-talented volleyball player that will train on the outside and as a defensive specialist at WSC," said Kneifl. "She has a tough serve and will be a great addition to our gym. She is also a great student-athlete who has shown a great desire to be a Wayne State Wildcat."