April 24, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane's volleyball program rounded out its roster for the 2013 season by signing Miah Diirell (Everett, Wash.) and Annie Shurtz (Moraga, Calif.) to letters of intent, while adding Lauren Etta (Cold Spring, N.Y.) and Makenzie Frieden (Friendswood, Texas) as walk-ons and Amy Lanski (DePaul) as a transfer for the 2013 indoor season.
The five join Ally Frank (Saskatoon, Canada), Tea Juric (Republic of Croatia) and Sarah Strasner (Houston) who signed with Tulane in late November.
"We are very pleased with the way this class turned out," said Tulane volleyball head coach Sinisa Momic. "We will be looking for big things from this group in the fall. This class is going to give us more depth by giving us more competition at every position. We won't have to shuffle people around to play positions that they aren't comfortable in playing. With different players, you are adding different characteristics to the team, and I think that this class will mesh well with the players that we have.
Diirell is a 5'9" outside hitter who can also play libero. She prepped at Jackson High School in Everett, Wash., and she competed at the USA Volleyball Junior Olympics in 2007, 2008 and 2010. In 74 sets during her season season at Jackson, Diirell notched 248 kills, 158 digs and 17 blocks while compiling a hitting percentage of .325.
"Miah is a dynamic player," said Momic. "She is an explosive jumper and a good hitter, so we are looking at her to compete at both outside hitter and libero. With solid work, we can utilize her on the back row."
Shurtz hails from one of the top volleyball powerhouses in Northern California: Campolindo High School. The 6'1" outside hitter was named the East Bay Girls Volleyball Player of the Year in helping lead her squad to a 30-5 record. In the North Coast Section Championship match, she notched 22 kills. All in all, Shurtz finished her senior campaign with 500 kills, 54 blocks and 49 aces.
Frieden is a defensive specialist who played for one of the top teams in Texas this past season in Friendswood High School. During the 4A State Championships semifinals game, Frieden came up with 27 digs. During the 42-5 season put together by the Mustangs, Frieden paced the club with 555 digs.
"Makenzie is an all-state player from Texas who is quick and dynamic on the back row," said Momic. "We kind of came into contact with Makenzie when we were recruiting Sarah Strasner. The two of them played on the same club team."
Etta led Haldane High School to the 2012 New York state championship and earned all-state recognition. She was named the MVP of the New York State Class D tournament in 2011 while leading her squad to their first state championship since 2007. She appeared in 60 sets this past fall, compiling 244 assists, 247 kills and 57 digs.
"Lauren is one of the better players in the state of New York," stated Momic. "We think that with time and practice, we can develop her into one of our key setters. She has the desire to work hard, and we believe that she will be a really good player for us."
Lanski, originally from Ventura High School in Ventura, Calif., played her freshman year at DePaul University as an outside hitter. She led the Blue Demons in kills with 271. She competed in 98 sets - third-most on the team - and finished with 28 total blocks. As a senior in high school, she recorded 319 kills, 236 digs and 41 service aces. She redshirted last season due to a shoulder injury.
"Amy had a really good freshman year at DePaul, so we know that she can contribute right away offensively," said Momic. "Looking at her potential development, she can be a major contributor from the start for us."
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