Women of Troy Sign Abercrombie, Dunn, Gillis, and Wheatley|
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Nov. 20, 2013
LOS ANGELES - The USC women's volleyball team has signed Brittany Abercrombie (Carlsbad, Calif. | La Costa Canyon HS), Jordan Dunn (Corona, Calif. | Corona HS), Lauryn Gillis (New Castle, Ind. | New Castle HS), and Taylor Wheatley (Villa Park, Calif. | Orange Lutheran HS) to National Letters of Intent to join the Women of Troy in 2014 head coach Mick Haley announced on Wednesday, Nov. 20.
"We're really excited about this whole group," said Haley. "We feel this foursome helps strengthen the program in areas that we'll need to improve upon when 2014 begins. Every one of these players has the potential to play all the way around. They each have tremendous skill and can play multiple positions and are particularly strong in the position that they have been playing. Players of this caliber can elevate a program to the level of competing for national championships and we have high hopes for this class when it arrives on campus."
USC, which has consistently brought in some of the most highly-touted recruiting classes in the nation, will again produce one of the top five groups in the country as ranked by PrepVolleyball.com.
A 6-2 outside hitter, Abercrombie was named a 2013 preseason All-American by MaxPreps and is the No. 4-ranked Senior Ace by PrepVolleyball.com. She was also recently selected to the Under Armour Girls High School All-America First Team. A rare find as a left-handed opposite, Abercrombie plays for Coast VBC under Ozhan Bahrambeygui and prepped at La Costa Canyon HS for Pat McDougall. LCCHS also produced USC All-Americans Katie Fuller and current senior captain Natalie Hagglund. Abercrombie has an arsenal of shots and can find ways to score in any system. Her athleticism makes her a prime candidate to become as lethal as a blocker as she is a hitter. Abercrombie was a finalist for the ESPNHS Sophomore of the Year award and was also one of PrepVolleyball's Top 50 Juniors. She has been selected for all-county, all-league, and all-state awards among her numerous personal accomplishments and has consistently helped her teams contend for and win championships.
"Abercrombie is a tall blocking right-side attacker," said Haley. "She hits for a high percentage and is a very smart player who has been starting for her club teams for the last three or four years. She has really started to get physically stronger during her senior year of high school and we look for her to come in here and challenge for a starting position."
Dunn is a 6-3 middle blocker who was rated the No. 25 Senior Ace by PrepVolleyball.com. She may be one of the quickest middles in the country and has quick feet with a strong one-foot approach. Dunn plays for Mavericks VBC under Lance Stewart. She was named one of Volleyball Magazine's Top 30 Underclassman to Watch and led her high school squad in kills, digs, and blocks in both 2012 and 2013. Dunn was twice chosen to the Big VIII All-Conference first team and was a member of the 2013 VolleyballNow Southern California All-Star Team. Her athleticism makes her an asset in the passing game and will add another dimension on defense for USC.
"Dunn is being brought in as a middle blocker but she really is a multiple-position player," said Haley. "She could play right side and also has a strong arm and a great platform for passing. We think she could be a six-rotation player and can definitely play at any of the three front-row positions. She might be a late-bloomer, but we think she's a really exciting prospect for us because we can see her really improving a lot this spring."
Gillis is a 6-2 outside hitter who is widely regarded as one of the best prep outside hitters in the country. She is PrepVolleyball's No. 7 Senior Ace and was chosen to the 2013 Under Armour Girls High School All-America First Team. Gillis plays for Munciana VBC under head coach Mike Ligenfelter and prepped at New Castle High School under Mike Dodrill. She is the just the third USC recruit ever to come from the state of Indiana and is from the same club that produced 2006 Trojan captain Kimi (Freeburg) Olson. A power hitter in the front row, Gillis is an exceptionally talented athlete who can be effective in all six rotations. She was the 2012 Gatorade Indiana Volleyball Player of the Year and is highly coveted for her superior ball-control skills. She helped Munciana to remarkable runs in the 2011 and 2012 AAU Championships where she earned All-America honors. Gillis was named the best varsity-playing freshman in America as a member of the 2010 PrepVolleyball Frosh 59 and was a first-team All-Conference and All-Area selection.
"Gillis has been touted as one of the best players in this class," said Haley. "She is a magnificent left-side passer-hitter who is very tenacious and competes hard. What we love about her is that she is very driven to be successful and we're hoping she can provide some of that same spark that Natalie Hagglund has given us in the last four years."
Wheatley is a 6-2 outside hitter with some deep USC roots. Her two older brothers (Brent and Bob Jr.) are pitchers on the Trojans' baseball team, her father Bob Sr. played basketball for the Trojans and her mother Julie was a USC Song Girl. Wheatley plays for Club Troy VBC under head coach Tim Nollan and prepped at Orange Lutheran under Andrew Mabry. She is a ball-control expert who is a dangerous attacker on the outside. She was an Under Armour Girls High School All-America honorable mention and was named one of PrepVolleyball's Senior Aces. Wheatley was a 2012 CIF First Team selection and has been chosen for all-league and all-tournament honors throughout her career.
"Wheatley just keeps getting better," said Haley. "She has two brothers on USC's baseball team so she should have a pretty easy transition into the university. We hope that her upcoming spring season is a breakout one for her in which she becomes a dominant left-side hitter for her club. Her backcourt skills and her passing are exemplary for a 6-2 player and she recently served eight consecutive service aces in a high-school playoff match."
The Trojans will lose senior All-American libero Natalie Hagglund, middle blocker Alexis Olgard, and outside hitter Sara Shaw following the 2013 season but are confident that the incoming class will live up to the high standards of excellence at USC.
"We lose an awful lot of passing in Hagglund and Shaw but will have brought in two exceptional passers in Gillis and Wheatley," said Haley. "Both are highly accomplished serve-receiving passer-hitters. They each have great size and they move very well. In the middle, Dunn may be a little smaller than Olgard, but she is very athletic. We're very excited to see her grow and we think she is going to be a very dynamic hitter. To add to our right-side attack, Abercrombie can pass serve and boosts our left-handed scoring potential as a six-rotation player. We couldn't be more excited to welcome this foursome into the Trojan family."
The eighth-ranked Women of Troy (22-5, 12-4 Pac-12) welcome Arizona (Nov. 22) and Arizona State (Nov. 24) to the Galen Center for a pair of matches this weekend. With just four regular-season matches left on the schedule, the Trojans look to secure their 23rd consecutive bid into the NCAA championships; the program's 31st overall. Last year, USC advanced to the Regional Championship in Austin. In 2010 and 2011, the Trojans finished in the final four for the national title. For more information and a complete schedule, please visit USCTrojans.com.