Texas A&M Volleyball Inks Three on National Signing Day

By  | 

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli announced the signing of three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to play volleyball for the Aggies. All three signees are slated to graduate high school in December and enroll at Texas A&M in January.

NAME
POS.
HT.
HOMETOWN
HIGH SCHOOL
CLUB TEAM
London Austin-Roark
MB
6-4
Weatherford, Texas
Weatherford HS
Club Texas Volleyball
Camryn Kotlarz
OH
6-3
Baytown, Texas
Goose Creek Memorial HS
Asics Willowbrook
Kaitlyn Rogers
S
6-2
Weatherford, Texas
Weatherford HS
Club Texas Volleyball

"This collectively is one of the tallest groups we’ve ever brought in, which is really important with the way the game is being played now,” Corbelli said. “The game is so much higher above the net and you either have to have the height or the jump or both to continue to excel at this level and they all come in playing the game at 91/2 to 10 feet. They will join last year’s class that came in with similar heights to form what will probably be the tallest Aggie volleyball team we’ve ever had.

“It’s also so important that they will all be starting with us in January. We learned that with this year’s freshman class (which began at Texas A&M in the summer). Here we are in November and we’ve been coaching them a total of 12 to 13 weeks, and that’s not very long for collegiate competition. So to be able to have this class begin preparing for the 2018 season in the spring and summer and not just two-a-days, it’s just hard to really measure and explain how great the added benefit is.”

Austin-Roark, a 6-4 middle blocker, and Rogers a 6-2 lefty setter, have been teammates since they first began playing volleyball, and they are four-year members on the varsity volleyball team at Weatherford High School. Last year the pair helped lead the Lady Kangaroos to a District 3-6A co-championship and the program’s first playoff appearance since 2009. This season the senior duo, coached by Nicholas Gay, has led the Lady Roos to a 40-6 record and a berth in the UIL state regional semifinals, where they will face two-time defending state champion Lewisville Hebron on Friday.

“London and Kaitlyn have been playing together for so many years,” Corbelli said, “and that really adds a dimension with more fluid connections when they arrive as opposed to having to work through the timing that next year.”

Austin-Roark and Rogers also were standouts for coach Christi Steward at Club Texas Volleyball, which qualified for the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships each of the last three years. This past season the team earned the club’s first Open Division bid in club history, and in 2016 Rogers was named to the all-tournament team after quarterbacking the team to a fifth place finish in the GJNC 16 USA Division. Meanwhile, future A&M teammate Kotlarz was named the tournament MVP after leading Asics Willowbrook 16 Gold, coached by Gabriela Carbone, to the 2016 GJNC 16 USA national championship title.

Austin-Roark was named Collin Street Bakery/Texas Sports Writers Association (TSWA) Class 6A All-State honorable mention as a junior. In addition, she earned 2016 District 3-6A Hitter of the Year and Parker County Most Valuable Hitter accolades, and her .471 hitting percentage ranked No. 34 in the nation according to MaxPreps. As a sophomore, Austin-Roark was named to the Class 4-6A All-District first team as well as the Parker Country first team.

“London is really athletic and really mobile as a middle blocker and she has played with Kaitlyn, so that connection is already really strong,” Corbelli said. “She is equally good both in front of and behind the setter, and she brings great size to our net. The power and speed is there, too, so it’s a great combination.”

Rogers, a member of the PrepVolleyball.com - Class of 2018 Senior Aces: “The 150”, was the district setter of the year as both a junior and a sophomore and was named to the all-district second team as a freshman. She also was named to the academic all-district team as a junior and currently is ranked in the top seven percent of her graduating class.

“I’m really excited about the dimension that a tall left-handed setter brings,” Corbelli said. “We’ve had really great success with it in the past. She attacks well, and she has good location with her setting. She obviously plays very high above the net, and she’s also capable of being an attacker. It allows us to look at a 6-2 offensive system which becoming a strong possibility, as well as a 5-1 that we’ve been playing for so many years. She’s an awesome competitor and she loves the game and Texas A&M. She is going to be a huge addition.”

Kotlarz, a 6-3 outside hitter from Baytown, Texas, was a member of the 2017 USA Volleyball Women’s Junior A1 National Training Team that competed at the 2017 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships, as well as a member of the 2014 USA Volleyball Girls Youth A2 Invitational Team Program. Her 2017 Asics Willowbrook team won the bronze medal in the USA Division at the 2017 GJNC.

A three-year varsity starter at Goose Creek Memorial High School, Kotlarz, who did not compete for the Patriots as a senior, was named to both the Texas Association of Volleyball Coaches and TSWA all-state first teams as a junior, and she was the district offensive hitter of the year for the second consecutive year. Named to PrepVolleyball.com’s Soph 79 list as a sophomore, Kotlarz was selected to the 2015 Texas Girls Coaches Association (TGCA) all-state team and was named TSWA Class 5A all-state honorable mention after leading the Patriots to their first district championship with a 14-0 district record. As a freshman, Kotlarz was named the District 22-5A Newcomer of the Year, and she made her first of three consecutive appearances on the academic all-district team.

“Camryn used to be in the middle and has now been playing at the outside position for her club for a couple of years,” Corbelli said. “She is very involved in High Performance and a top Texas club team, which combined gives her many, many hours of high-level club play. At 6-4 she is able to hit over blocks, and she hits really hard. She brings a lot of speed and power to her attack, and it’s a nice addition to have a 6-4 left side blocker that is defending that side of the court that teams are running so fast. She’ll be a great benefit to our program.

“All three of our signees are really talented athletes and incredibly strong students. I love that they have a passion for the game and they love Texas A&M. I can’t dismiss the fact that there also are four or five walk-ons who are incredibly talented and have committed to us, so it’s a win-win for all of us.”

The Aggies will be losing four seniors at the conclusion of the 2017 season: PrepVolleyball.com honorable mention All-American outside hitter Kiara McGee; libero Amy Nettles, the school record holder for consecutive sets played and digs in an SEC career; defensive specialist Gabby Litwin and opposite hitter Ashlie Reasor.

Visit 12thMan.com for more information on Texas A&M volleyball. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M volleyball team on Facebook and on Twitter and Instagram by following @AggieVolleyball.