ANCHORAGE – Seeking his program’s sixth straight NCAA Tournament berth, Alaska Anchorage volleyball coach Chris Green has bolstered the Seawolves’ 2018 roster with five new signees, announcing the addition of incoming freshmen Katie Hoeffner, Talia Leauanae, Hannah Pembroke and Maggie Schleuter, along with junior-college transfer Julia Izquierdo, on Tuesday.
“We went with a youth movement in this year’s recruiting,” said Green, who has led the Seawolves to a 212-83 record and eight NCAA Tournaments in his 10 seasons. “With great experience coming back with our seniors (Chrisalyn Johnson, Taylor Noga and Tara Melton) and (junior) Vanessa Boyer (formerly Hayes), we think some of our newcomers can step in immediately and play effective complementary roles.”
A 5-4 libero, Izquierdo had a standout career at Pierce College in her native Los Angeles, helping her team to a combined 53-12 record and back-to-back playoff appearances. She averaged 2.51 digs and 0.57 aces as a freshman for Pierce’s CCCAA State runner-up team, and improved to 3.11 digs and 0.65 aces per set as a sophomore in 2017. Izquierdo also enjoyed a solid prep career at Eagle Rock High School, where she was a CIF L.A. City Section All-City Team performer.
Hoeffner, a 5-8 outside hitter/libero, comes north after a 4-year varsity career at Appleton North High School in Appleton, Wis., where she led her team to 101 victories over her final three seasons. A two-time second-team All-Fox Valley Association selection, she averaged 2.53 kills, 2.23 digs and hit .234 as a junior for a Lightning squad that went 36-5 and made the state quarterfinals, and she posted 3.04 kills per set, .220 hitting and 2.77 digs per set as a senior.
Leauanae, a 5-7 outside hitter/libero from Kula, Hawaii, is coming off an outstanding senior season at Kamehameha High School, where she was the 2017 Maui Interscholastic League Div. I Player of the Year and led the Warriors to their first MIL title since 2013. In addition to her senior accolades, she produced more than 4.0 digs per set as both a sophomore and junior.
A 5-8 outside hitter, Pembroke was a 4-year letterwinner at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, Calif., helping her team to consecutive Northern Section Div. II titles her first three seasons. She was a first-team All-Eastern Athletic-Sac River League selection as a senior in 2017, averaging 3.15 kills per set on .326 hitting, and lifting the Vikings to the EASRL co-title and a second-round state tournament berth.
Schleuter, a 5-8 setter and defensive specialist, was a versatile performer at Round Rock Christian Academy, leading the Crusaders to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools 3A State title her final season. The Georgetown, Texas, native averaged 5.35 assists, 2.15 kills, 2.06 digs and 0.60 aces as RRCA took nine of 10 sets as the 2017 state tournament, and she helped her team to a TAPPS state runner-up finish as a junior in 2016.
The 2016 NCAA Div. II national runners-up, the Seawolves are coming off a 19-11 record in 2017, returning seven letterwinners from that squad.