BEMIDJI, Minn. - Bemidji State University head volleyball coach Kim Falkenhagen has today announced the signing of Anna Leafblad (Coon Rapids, Minn.) to a National Letter of Intent for the 2006 season. She joins Brie Groskreutz (Reedsburg, Wis.), Marissa Hinshaw (Anchorage, Alaska), Allison Kunde (Burnsville, Minn.) and Laura Vonasek (East Grand Forks, Minn.) who already made decisions to play for the Beavers and enroll at BSU for the 2006-07 academic year.
"Anna adds some height to our program and we expect her to contribute to at the middle blocker spot," commented Falkenhagen. "She is a very hard worker and willing to learn. She has been playing volleyball for a quite some time so hopefully we can get her in there and contributing right away."
Leafblad is a six-foot, middle blocker from Coon Rapids, Minn. She played her prep volleyball at Blaine High School where she earned three varsity letters. At the conclusion of her senior season she was selected to the all-conference team after leading her team in blocks. At BHS she also played basketball for the Jaguars. Outside of school, she is a member of the Blaine Juniors volleyball team.
In addition to the added size in the middle, Leafblad continues with the trend of the 2006 recruiting class' overall balance.
The class brings a good balance of offensive and defensive players sprinkled in at positions all over the court. With the addition of a setter, two middle blockers, a defensive specialist/libero and an outside hitter, Falkenhagen and her staff have added to the overall depth and balance of their roster.
"The class this year is very diversified. We are inserting new players in all over the place," Falkenhagen commented. "Last year we ran into some substitution problems so this year we tried to balance our recruiting class out more to not only solve that issue, but also to challenge the returning players and make each position more competitive." She added, "I think these girls bring that balance to the program."
With a relatively young team that doesn't possess a single senior, the incoming class will have the opportunity to push current players and compete for playing time from day one.
"Some of them might get a lot of playing time right away and some of them might not but they will all bring a competitive attitude pushing both themselves and returners and make our program more well-rounded," said Falkenhagen.
Bemidji State returns the bulk of its roster in 2006 including a core four starters. BSU finished the 2005 campaign 3-31 and took eighth place in the NSIC regular season standings.
All signings are contingent upon admission to BSU and compliance with NCAA rules, including certification by the NCAA Clearinghouse.
|2006 Volleyball Signing Class|
|Name||Pos||Ht||Yr||Elig||Hometown (last school )|
|Brie Groskreutz||OH||5-7||Fr-HS||5-4||Reedsburg, Wis. (Reedsburg Area HS)|
|Marissa Hinshaw||MB||6-2||Fr-HS||5-4||Anchorage, Alaska (Dimond HS)|
|Allison Kunde||S||5-10||Fr-HS||5-4||Burnsville, Minn. (Apple Valley HS)|
|Anna Leafblad||MB||6-0||Fr-HS||5-4||Coon Rapids, Minn. (Blaine HS)|
|Laura Vonasek||DS/L||5-1||Fr-HS||5-4||East Grand Forks, Minn. (East Grand Forks HS)|
• Brie Groskreutz (Outside
Hitter, 5-7, Fr-HS); Reedsburg, Wis. (Reedsburg Area HS)
A four-year varsity player at Reedsburg Area high School, Groskreutz has led her team to a Badger North Conference Championship and the regional finals...a captain her senior year, she led the team in kills (402) and digs (319) on her way to being selected as the team's Most Valuable Player and Best Offensive Player...Last fall she was named to the All-State Team and was a member on the Wisconsin All-Star team...She plays club volleyball for Wisconsin Power Club Volleyball...As a prep she has also been active in basketball and softball...Groskreutz also excels in the classroom...She is a member of the National Honor Society...She will have five years to play four.
Falkenhagen on Groskreutz:
"She comes from a very successful high school and club team background. She has been the starting outside hitter on her team and plays very good defense. She might not be as tall as some of our other outside hitters but she has a great vertical and works really hard. I am looking to see some great things from her as a possible instant-impact player next season."
• Marissa Hinshaw (Middle Blocker, 6-2, Fr-HS); Anchorage, Alaska (Dimond HS)
A newcomer to the sport of volleyball, Hinshaw is a three-time letterwinner at Dimond High School...she helped lead DHS to the Alaska State 3A/4A Championship and was selected to the Good Sport Team...She is thought to be the first player from Alaska to play volleyball at Bemidji State...As a prep she was also a force on the hardcourt as a member of a state finalist basketball team...She stands as just the forth player since 1990 to measure at least 6-2...Will have five years to play four.
Falkenhagen on Hinshaw:
"She is actually a very raw and new player to the sport. She has only been playing for a couple of years but she has been trained at an advanced level from the start. She is very athletic so she has been able to pick the the game very quickly. Due to her height, I am hoping to see an impact from her right away."
• Allison Kunde (Setter, 5-10,
Fr-HS); Burnsville, Minn. (Apple Valley HS)
A decorated setter from Apple Valley High School, Kunde brings size to the middle of the BSU offense ....While at Apple Valley High she was named as her team's Most Valuable Player and team captain...at the conclusion of her senior campaign she also earned all-conference and all-state accolades...She was named Second Team All-Metro by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Third Team All-Metro by the St. Paul Pioneer Press...Played Club Volleyball for Northern Lights for the past six years--the same club program Brittney Burns and Brittney Carlson came through...An excellent student, she has earned Academic All-State status and is a member of the National Honor Society...Will have five years to play four.
Falkenhagen on Kunde:
"Allison has experienced a tremendous amount of success in both high school and club volleyball. She is going to have an instant impact on the program. She has great hands and a good court-awareness. She has been setting for her entire volleyball career so she understand the game and will do some great things for us."
• Anna Leafblad (Middle Blocker, 6-0, Fr-HS); Coon Rapids, Minn. (Blaine HS)
A three-time letterwinner at Blaine High School, she earned all-conference honors as a senior...In her final season with the Jaguars, she also led the team in total blocks...Also played basketball at BHS...played for Blaine Juniors.
Falkenhagen on Leafblad:
"Anna adds some height to our program and we expect her to contribute to at the middle blocker spot. She is a very hard worker and willing to learn. She's been playing volleyball for a quite some time so hopefully we can get her in there and contributing right away."
• Laura Vonasek (Defensive
Specialist/Libero, 5-1, Fr-HS); East Grand Forks, Minn. (East
Grand Forks HS)
An All-Conference defensive specialist at East Grand Forks High School...Was awarded the Hardest Working Player and Most Valuable Defensive Player awards as a prep...Holds the East Grand Forks High School record for most digs in a match recording 41 during a contest last fall...Was a two-year starter for the Green Wave...also excels in the classroom...Will be the shortest player ever to play volleyball at BSU...She also enjoys figure skating...Will have five years to play four.
Falkenhagen on Vonasek:
"We have been watching Laura for a couple years now. She is a local athlete and started coming to our camps a couple years ago. She is very coachable and listens well. She has done some great things for her program. She is short and quiet, but when you get her on the court she give 100-percent all the time. Hopefully we will see some immediate impact from her as well."