Nov. 30, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University volleyball team added a trio of talented newcomers as setter Ally Frank (Saskatoon, Canada), outside hitter Tea Juric (Republic of Croatia) and middle blocker Sarah Strasner (Houston, Texas) inked Letters of Intent to play for the Green Wave during the NCAA's Early Signing Period, head coach Sinisa Momic announced on Friday.
The three signees will join the Tulane team for the 2013 season with the full allotment of eligibility and will join a team expected to return nine letterwinners from 2012. Last year's team battled injuries as well as ups and downs en route to a 6-21 season. Seven of the Green Wave's losses came in five sets and 20 of Tulane's 70 single-set losses came by three points or less.
"We are very excited to have Sarah, Ally and Tea joining our program," Momic said. "As early signees, they will be a part of a great class of players that are joining the team in the fall and will help this team in so many different ways. They will contribute to this program greatly and will represent it well on the court and in the classroom. My assistants, Alan Segal and Stephanie Serna, have done a great job in recruiting since their arrival and I am excited about us taking the next step as a program."
A four-year starter at Marion Graham Collegiate Institute, Frank was voted team captain and helped lead the Falcons to a pair of city championships and a bronze medal at the high school provincial championship the last two seasons. She was named the school's Athlete of the Year and claimed multiple tournament MVP honors, including the Mustang Volley Tournament and University of Saskatchewan Tournament.
Frank claimed Spike/Setter Contest at the Mustang Volleyball Tournament and was named to the All-Star Team both years her team competed in the event. She was a two-year Provincial Team Player, won beach championships at the U14 and U16 age divisions, and represented Saskatchewan at the Canadian Beach National Championship.
"Ally is a talented young setter that has a very high ceiling at that position," Momic said. "She is recognized as one of the top young setters in her province in Canada and will only get better because she has the right mentality and the leadership skills."
Juric attended Secondary School of Health Care and played for Marina-Kastela Volleyball Club from 2003-12. She was a member of the Croatian Youth National Team from 2009-10 and the Croatian Junior National Team from 2011-12. Last year, she was voted MVP of the Croatian Junior Championships and the Youth Sports Games.
"Tea will bring this team international experience and maturity as a volleyball player," Momic said. "She is very talented, with a very high volleyball IQ and is capable of playing multiple positions. Tea will definitely impact this program in a big way."
Strasner, meanwhile, earned three varsity letters at Clear Lake High where she helped the Patriots to a combined 104-39 record, including 39-5 mark in district play. For her career, she has tallied .371 attack percentage (894 kills, 207 errors, 1854 attempts) and averaged 2.38 kills, 0.8 blocks and 0.73 digs per set to go with 159 aces in 376 sets.
As a senior, Strasner claimed Texas Girls Coaches Association All-State and All-Star honors after averaging 3.41 kills, 1.12 blocks, 0.47 service aces and 0.46 blocks per set while leading Clear Lake to a 32-10 overall record, an undefeated 12-0 district showing and a second-straight trip to the regional finals.
"Sarah has the skill as a middle blocker to bring immediate improvement with her net game," Momic added. "I think she has the potential to be a very strong player for us with her size, good arm swing and very solid blocking game. She had a steady high school and club career, and she showed steady improvement through that time."