NIAGARA UNIV. -- Niagara University volleyball head coach Vilis Ozols welcomes five newcomers to the program – middle/outside hitter Molly Carges, outside hitter Sarah Dobinson, setter Rachel Hall, middle blocker Grace Hetterscheidt and outside hitter/defensive specialist Jaycie Roberts.
"This recruiting class started out as an attempt to supplement an already successful team at a couple of key positions and has gradually evolved into arguably one of the strongest recruiting classes ever for Niagara Volleyball," Ozols stated. "Each of these five players has been recognized as an all-state/provincial team selection which is unprecedented and speaks to the depth of this class. There are even more prestigious honors, including a high school honorable mention All-American, three conference players of the year/MVPs and a Canadian Junior National Team try-out invitee. It's hard to not speculate on how good this group will be and what their impact on the Niagara University Volleyball program will be as their careers unfold. Not to be overlooked is how academically dedicated and accomplished this group of students is. They will make Niagara University proud."
Molly Carges | 6-foot-2 | Middle/Outside Hitter | Syracuse, NY | Cazenovia High School
A three-sport athlete (volleyball, track, lacrosse) at Cazenovia High School, Carges was a four-year member on the volleyball team where she earned all-league honors all four years. Carges helped the Lakers win over 60 matches in her four years while winning the division the last three seasons. She was a two-time All-State and All-CNY selection. Carges was instrumental in Cazenovia's run to the 2016 New York Public High School Athletic Association Class B Regional Championship match. Carges finished her senior season as the 2016 Onondaga High School League (OHSL) Liberty National Co-Player of the Year. Carges, who was a two-time scholar-athlete recipient and four-time honor roll member, intends to major in hospitality and tourism.
"Molly comes to us with size and experience at the New York State High School Championship level," Ozols said. "We cannot wait to get her on campus and have her assume her key role with our program."
Sarah Dobinson | 6-foot-1 | Outside Hitter | Whitby, Ontario | Thompson Rivers University
Dobinson joins Niagara after spending the 2016 season attending Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia. Dobinson was considered to be one of the top high school recruits in Canada while playing for club teams DRVC and Pakmen in Ontario. While playing for DRVC, she helped the team claim back-to-back Silver medals at the 16U and 17U Volleyball Canada National Championships, and earned All-Tournament accolades. Dobinson was selected to play for Team Ontario at the 2015 National Team Challenge Cup, an elite provincial team tournament in Canada, where the team finished second. Dobinson was invited to try-out for the Canadian Junior National Team in 2016.
"Sarah is a heavily recruited impact player with power and physicality," Ozols added. "She has competed at Canada's highest level and she is in a position to contribute to our team the moment she steps foot on Monteagle Ridge."
Rachel Hall | 5-foot-7 | Setter | Huntington Beach, CA | Cal State Fullerton
Hall comes to Niagara after spending the 2016 season at Cal State Fullerton where she averaged 7.89 assists per set and 1.88 digs per set in 28 matches in her freshman campaign. She had six double-doubles and had double-digit assists in 26 out of 28 matches including a career-high 43 assists twice (The Citadel and San Jose State). In Niagara's 3-1 win over Cal State Fullerton last season, Hall had 35 assists to share game-high honors with future teammate Alexis Gray. Hall was a three-year varsity member at Huntington Beach High School in Huntington Beach, Calif. She earned Sunset League MVP honors during her junior and senior seasons. As a senior, she was named First Team All-Orange County, First Team All-CIF as she averaged 10.4 assists and 4.6 digs per set, helping to lead the Oilers to a 28-9 overall record. She earned All-American honors and was also a scholar athlete, earning honorable mention.
"Rachel is a decorated, talented and dynamic setter with a proven ability to lead a team at the highest level," Ozols said. "We are very excited to have a player of her abilities and accomplishment join our team and her impact will be felt here for years to come."
Grace Hetterscheidt | 6-foot-3 | Middle Blocker | Columbus, OH | Bishop Watterson High School
Hetterscheidt was a four-year varsity starter at Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio. Hetterscheidt improved each season playing for the Eagles, earning the team's most improved player award in 2013. She was a two-time recipient of the +200% Efficiency Award and was named the team's best offensive player from 2014-16. Hetterscheidt captained the 2016 Bishop Watterson Eagles during her senior season en route to being named player of the year. She finished the season earning Columbus Central Catholic League First Team honors for the second straight season, Central District First Team accolades, and All-Ohio Honorable Mention status. Bishop Watterson was runners-up in the league and in the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) District in 2015 and 2016.
"Grace is a wonderful combination of size, strength and mobility," Ozols said. "She has a superb volleyball background and she is a natural leader which will allow her to step into a significant role for all of her years at Niagara."
Jaycie Roberts | 5-foot-7 | Outside Hitter/Defensive Specialist | Carson City, NV | Carson City High School
Roberts had a decorated high school career at Carson City High School where she compiled 1,008 kills, 160 blocks, 712 digs and 71 aces. Roberts, a four-year varsity member and three-year captain, was a three-time Northern Nevada AAAA Sierra League All-League First Team selection and a two-time Northern Division I All-Region First Team member. Roberts helped Carson to the 2015 Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) Northern Region Championship match. The Las Vegas Review-Journal listed her on its Best of Nevada Preps list. Roberts entered her senior season on the 2016 Under Armour All-American Watch List and was named first team Nevada All-State. She finished the season as the Northern Nevada 4A Sierra League Co-Player of the Year. Roberts was third in the state with 447 kills (4.7 per set) and finished with a .415 hitting percentage. She was selected to the Las Vegas Review-Journal Media's All-North team. In the classroom, Roberts was a three-time recipient of the Carson High School Academic Award and was named to the Nevada All-State Academic team three times.
"Jaycie comes to us with a versatile set of offensive and defensive skills and the potential to immediately make herself invaluable to our team," Ozols said. "Her skill and force of competitive character will make us a better program immediately."