Dec. 5, 2007
In the recent recruiting period, the UCLA men's volleyball program signed nine players to National Letters of Intent, the athletic department announced this week.
Head Coach Al Scates will welcome this group in the Fall of 2008. The class includes three players from Volleyball's Underclassmen to Watch list.
"We've enjoyed two consecutive strong recruiting classes," said Scates, noting that the Bruins signed nine players last season, three of which have earned spots on the 2008 roster. "We've addressed all of our areas of concern, and we're very excited to coach this group next season."
The nine players are: Thomas Amberg (Valhalla HS, El Cajon, CA), Kyle Caldwell (Newport Harbor HS, Newport Beach, CA), Max Greer (Archbishop Mitty, Saratoga, CA), Mitchel Johnson (Mira Costa HS, Manhattan Beach, CA) Jamey Ker (Valencia HS, Valencia, CA), Jack Mergenthaler (La Costa Canyon HS, Encinitas, CA), Brian Scilacci (Loyola HS, Pacific Palisades, CA), Scott Vegas (Palisades Charter HS, Pacific Palisades, CA) and Nick Vogel (Valhalla HS, El Cajon, CA).
Amberg is a 6-7 outside hitter who recorded 437 kills and 88 aces last season while earning all-league player of the year honors. A three-year starter, he has also earned three varsity letters as an all-conference goalkeeper on the water polo team.
The 6-9 Caldwell can play both the opposite and setter positions. As a setter last season, he earned Second Team All-America and Third-Team All-CIF honors. In 2006, he earned MVP honors in the U-16 division of the Junior Olympics as an opposite. Volleyball listed him on its Underclassmen to Watch list in August.
Greer, a 6-11 middle blocker, has played in the Junior Olympics in 2006 and '07 for the Central Coast Volleyball Club.
Johnson is a 6-6 middle blocker at Mira Costa HS in Manhattan Beach, but will play outside hitter for the Bruins. In 2007, he started on the Mustangs' squad that won the Bay League title, advanced to the CIF finals and finished with a 33-2 record.
Ker is a 6-1 outside hitter/Libero who was listed on Volleyball's Underclassmen to Watch list. A three-year varsity player, he earned First-Team All-CIF, Foothill League MVP and Daily News Player of the Year honors last season. He continues a family legacy of successful UCLA players, joining his brother Kevin, who will be a junior setter on next year's UCLA team. Oldest brother Tony is a two-time collegiate Defensive Player of the Year at Libero for the Bruins and their father Walt is UCLA's volunteer assistant coach.
Mergenthaler is a 6-6 opposite who started on the La Costa Canyon team that won the 2006 San Diego Section CIF Division I title. Last season, he earned First-Team All-CIF and All-Palomar League honors while leading the Mavericks to the DI CIF semifinals.
Scilacci, the third signee to earn Underclassmen to Watch status, joins his brother James in the UCLA program. A 6-3 outside hitter, he played on the 2005 CIF Division I championship team at Loyola. In 2006, he earned Mizuno HS All-America honors and First-Team All-Mission League acclaim. As a member of the 2006 Pacific Palisades Volleyball Club, he played on the 17 Open Junior Olympics team that won the gold medal and he earned All-Tournament honors. Last year, he earned Third-Team All-CIF and first-team all-conference honors, and the club won the silver medal.
Vegas is a 6-4 setter who plays for the Pacific Palisades Volleyball Club.
Vogel, a high school teammate of Amberg, is a 6-9 middle blocker, who plays for the Epic Volleyball Club in San Diego. He also plays soccer and tennis.