May 31, 2011
The UCLA women's volleyball recruiting class has been ranked fifth nationally in rankings released by PrepVolleyball.com.
The initial signing class, as announced here last November, features 5-10, outside hitter Priscilla Ezeji (Stockton, Calif./St. Mary's HS/City Beach Club), 5-9, setter Megan Moenoa (Long Beach, Calif./Lakewood HS/Mizuno Long Beach Club), 6-3, middle blocker Zoe Nightingale (Sacramento, Calif./St. Francis HS/Force Volleyball Club) and 6-1, middle blocker Olivia Okoro (Carrollton, Texas/Hebron HS/Dallas Premier 17 Mizuno).
The Bruins have also added 6-3, outside hitter Karsta Lowe (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon HS/Encinitas Wave) and 6-6, outside hitter Tabitha Love (Dauphin, Manitoba/Dauphin Regional Secondary/Selkirk Royals/University of Minnesota).
Lowe was named to the All-CIF and All-Avocado League first teams as a senior, pacing La Costa Canyon with 2.7 kills per set, adding 44 blocks and 31 digs. She helped the Mavericks to LCC's seventh-straight, CIF Division I title last November.
Love played two seasons at Minnesota, helping the Golden Gophers to the National Semifinals in 2009. She averaged 2.63 kills per set as a freshman, earning Big Ten All-Freshman Team accolades. Last year, Love was first on the squad with 3.47 kps and earned her second-career, Big Ten Player of the Week award.
Below is PrepVolleyball.com's take on the Bruins' class:
UCLA's 2011 class is very unique in that every incoming player has a legitimate chance to become a starter right away. Moenoa has been setting at a very high level since her pre-teen years. Considered one of the elite setters nationally in this class, she plays much bigger than her height, is a very good right side blocker and will be a challenge for opposing outside hitters. Ezeji might not be a household name in the club volleyball world, but she has the power and athletic ability to single-handedly dismantle top club teams. She has a standing jump of 10-0 and an approach touch of over 10-4 and possesses an amazing hitting range, a power player who terminate down the line, over the top and sharp cross court equally well. Nightengale is an active, hard-working blocker who is very aggressive laterally and closes the seam at an elite level. At 6-3, she is long and fast and can attack behind the setter off of one foot very well. "She is going to give us a faster option behind the setter than we have had recently and could well be the spark in our offense that allows us to go faster at every position," said Sealy. Okoro, who enrolled early, has held her own and outplayed some seasoned collegiate middle blockers in spring matches. She is young and hungry and wants to learn and improve daily. While undersized on paper, her 10-4 approach touch makes her a viable weapon versus any opponent. When her experience catches up to her physicality, the sky is the limit for her. Lowe was considered a "project" early in her club career. A 6-3 lefty, she attacked with great range and just needed to get physically stronger. In the last year, she has improved her strength and attacks the ball now with range and power. She has the size and abilities to play right away and will be very difficult to stop both in and out of system. UCLA also will benefit from the transfer of Tabi Love, a two-year starter on the outside for Minnesota. A top 10 recruit out of high school, this 6-6 Canadian will bring immediate and immense terminating power to Westwood.