Xavier Volleyball Inks Three Nationally-Recognized Players
Nov. 14, 2013
CINCINNATI - Three players ranked in Prep Volleyball's Top 250, including two ranked in the Top 100, have signed their National Letter of Intent (NLI) to play volleyball at Xavier. Kristen Massa, Jesse Earl and Lauren Frilling will join the team in the fall of 2014. Although recruiting class rankings for volleyball aren't typically released until the spring, Xavier's class of Massa, Earl and Frilling are sure to garner accolades.
"We are excited to finally announce the arrival of Jesse, Lauren and Kristen," said head coach Mike Johnson. "We targeted all three of these players very early in the process and actually had each atop our recruiting board relative to position. There is no question that recruiting is vital to our program. We have a special culture here within the Xavier Volleyball family and we are diligent as we go through the recruiting process. In short, we identify talent, but we recruit people."
"Jess, Lauren, and Kris are all tremendous athletes," continued Johnson. "Each had incredible high school and club careers. More importantly though, this class is full of tremendous people who fit with the values and beliefs that our program stands for. I am thrilled to know that they are now Musketeers."
Massa and Earl are ranked in Prep Volleyball's Top 100, marking the first time in program history that Xavier has signed two recruits ranked that highly. In fact, Xavier has had only one Musketeer in program history who earned a Top 100 distinction.
Massa is a product of Saint Ursula Academy in Cincinnati. The 6-foot-1 outside hitter was named 2013-14 Under Armour Second Team All-America, First Team All-Ohio and Greater Girls Catholic League Player of the Year. Volleyball Prep has Massa ranked as the 75th-best player in the class of 2014.
"Kristen may be one of the best pure scorers I have ever seen coming out of high school," said Johnson. "Playing above the rim with a rocket of an arm, Kristen plays high enough to carve around blocks when she can and is strong enough to blow through blocks when she can't. Time and time again I watched as entire defenses would set themselves to slow Kristen to no avail. She is a tough, hardworking, fun competitor who is willing to do whatever it takes to win at the highest level. Beyond that, Kristen has continued the trend of keeping Cincinnati's elite talent here at home. Winning the recruiting battles in our own backyard was a benchmark we have set from the beginning and keeping a local All-American here in town makes today a great one in the growth of our program."
Earl comes to Xavier from Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, Ind. The 5-foot-8 libero, who converted from outside hitter this year, was ranked 85th by Volleyball Prep. Earl was listed as the No. 5 libero in the nation. Earl was tabbed all-state second team as a junior and has already earned all-conference and all-county honors as a senior.
"Jesse had never actually even played the libero position when we first identified her," said Johnson. "That she has already progressed to the point where she earned national recognition for a position she has only played for a year speaks volumes to her work ethic. We hold our defensive specialists to an incredibly high standard in this program, both in terms of their technical ability but also in terms of their toughness. The very first thing I noticed when I saw Jesse was competitiveness and a passion for greatness. She is blessed with incredible quickness and body control and really has all the makings shared by the elite liberos. Jesse is driven to be the very best and that mindset will mesh beautifully with the mindset of our team."
Frilling closes out Xavier's stellar class. The Columbus, Ohio (Bishop Watterson) native was named to Prep Volleyball's Top 250 list. In addition to Prep Volleyball's honor, the 6-foot-2 middle blocker has received multiple all-district accolades and was a four-time MVP of the Newark Invitational. Frilling led her club team to back-to-back appearances in the Junior National Championships.
"Lauren is a fantastic athlete who offers great versatility," stated Johnson. "She has spent much of her career training in the middle. In her time there, she has shown the coveted ability of being able to quickly slide off of one foot. That said, she is also explosive jumping off of two feet and can play at one of the outside pins. Just as important though, Lauren has always had a selfless, team-first attitude and has shown a willingness to go wherever her team needs her. Some people are capable of playing anywhere. Lauren will. As someone who can get up and touch the basketball rim, Lauren is a strong, physical kid who has incredible promise. Her work ethic combined with her many talents will fit well into our fast paced offense."