Defending champ volleyball team adds three signees to ’09 roster

Defending champ volleyball team adds three signees to ’09 roster

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Defending Ohio Valley Conference volleyball champion Tennessee Tech has added three more signees to its 2009 roster, head coach John Blair announced this week.

The three newest Golden Eagle signees are Heather Asplund from Winnebago (Ill.) High School, Katrina Dvorken of Ridgewood (N.J.) High School, and Kelsey Gray from Newark (Ohio) High School.

A week ago, Blair and softball coach Tory Acheson jointly announced the signing of Stacey Butts from Greenfield, Wis., who will compete in both sports for the Golden Eagles.

“These women will come in and make an immediate impact on the team,” Blair said. “They have many years of playing experience that will make the transition from high school to college easier.

“This is a solid class, and we’ve filled the holes we needed to fill,” Blair said.

A 6-foot outside hitter, Heather Asplund is the sister of recent Tech standout Jessica Asplund, and the daughter of Wayne and Debbie Asplund. She plans to study psychology.

A three-year starter for coach Brian Lunden at Winnebago High School, she was a unanimous pick for all-conference honors in her freshman, junior and senior seasons, and earned all-state selection as a junior.

As a senior, she collected 275 kills, 257 digs, 52 aces and a hitting percentage at .428. During her career, she served up 113 aces and had more than 500 kills and 500 assists.

“Heather is an outside hitter with a very strong skill set,” said Blair. “She’s very efficient and a powerful attacker. She should catch up to the speed of the college game quickly and make an early contribution.”

Katrina Dvorken is a 6-foot-3 middle blocker out of Ridgewood High School who plans to major in health sciences. She is the daughter of Greg and Josie Dvorken, who both competed in athletics in college.

She was a three-year starter for her high school team, serving as team captain her final two years. Among the highlights of her club career with Team Digs, she helped with the GEVA Regional Championship and participated in the U.S. Junior Olympic Championships.

“We first saw Katrina with her club team in one of the national qualifiers,” Blair said. “We liked her size and her aggressiveness. She has good basic mechanics, and we really feel she has a huge ‘upside’ and a chance to become an outstanding player on a regional level.

“She came for a visit and fell in love with Tennessee Tech,” he said. “She’s a strong blocker and she will shore up our defense at the net. She can be an immediate presence with her net play.”

A four-year starter for coach Ruth Sunkle at Newark High School, Kelsey Gray earned several awards as a middle blocker. The daughter of Raymond Gray and Deidre Walter, she plans to major in business. A member of the All-Ohio Capital Conference team four years in a row, the 6-foot-2 Gray was named team’s Most Valuable Player during her junior and senior seasons.

“We also saw Kelsey with her club team, the Central Ohio Volleyball Club, at a National Qualifier, “ Blair said. “We’ve had several players from that team, such as Anne Morrow, and we know they get excellent coaching and will come to Tech with solid fundamentals. Kelsey is an excellent student and she should be an immediate presence, both on offense and on defense at the net.”