Texas A&M Volleyball Signs Three

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COLLEGE STATION, TX -- Texas A&M volleyball coach Laurie Corbelli has announced the signing of three highly touted student-athletes to national letters of intent.

Player Pos. Ht. Hometown (High School) Club Team
Victoria Arenas L 5-6 Cypress, Texas (Cypress Woods) Houston Juniors
Emily Hardesty OH/RS 6-3 Plano, Texas (Trinity Christian Academy) Instinct/Skyline Juniors
Kaysie Shebeneck S 6-1 Racine, Wis. (Burlington) Milwaukee Sting

“With the four-year cycle we are constantly looking to replace talent,” Corbelli said. “Sometimes it’s really hard to know what you are going to need, but these three are ideal position-wise coming in right now and there is a lot of balance in this class. We have an outside who also can play on the right if needed. We have a setter who is going to be really comfortable stepping in and competing hard next year as well as the following years, and we have an accomplished libero who will be thrilled to be at Texas A&M and she is enrolling in January.”

All three signees are listed in PrepVolleyball.com’s Senior Aces, a list of the top 250 volleyball recruits in the nation, with Hardesty receiving a No.81 ranking. In addition, Shebeneck was the 2011-12 Gatorade Wisconsin Volleyball Player of the Year, while both Arenas and Hardesty are on the first team of the 12-member 2012-13 All-Texas Team published by LoneStarVolleyball.com.

Arenas, whose older sisters Cristina and Daniela play collegiate volleyball at Alabama and Rice, respectively, was a four-year member of the varsity team at Cypress Woods High School and was recently named the most valuable libero in District 17-5A for the third consecutive year.

“Having had the chance to work with Victoria at volleyball camp and seeing how natural she was in her defensive play, her ball handling and her speed to the ball, it was evident that she would definitely be high on our recruiting list,” Corbelli said. “When we compared her to the others we were looking at, she certainly stood out. She is from a volleyball family and has been in the game a long time. She is a hard worker and will add a lot of intensity to our practices and matches. Her position is to serve, pass and dig, and she does all three really, really well.”

Hardesty has been a standout for Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, Texas, and led the Trojans to the TAPPS 5A-1 state title in 2011. She played club ball for Instinct, where she was coached by former Brazilian Olympian Cilene Drewnick. Hardesty was named MVP of the American 17 Division at the 2011 USA Volleyball Junior National Championship after leading Instinct to the national title.

“Emily fits the mold of a complete outside hitter,” Corbelli said. “She not only is a smart and powerful attacker, but she also can block and play floor defense very well for her age. Even at 6-foot-3, she is very keen with her passing and gets a great touch on the ball. She just is a naturally gifted player and a very well-composed competitor who instinctively gets it. She also is a reliable go-to player who wants to be the one to get the ball, especially when the pressure is on and it really counts.”

Shebeneck, Corbelli’s first signee from Wisconsin, has received numerous national, state and local honors throughout her illustrious four-year high school career.

“The first thing that stood out to me the first time I saw Kaysie play was her command of the court,” Corbelli said. “For a 16-year old to be able to show that kind of leadership, confidence and poise was really remarkable. She also has a great feel for the location of the set and can make the adjustments. In addition, she is a great blocker. That is one of the things she does almost as well as she does setting, and that is exciting. She loves to play defense and block, and setting is her specialty.”

Shebeneck joins a strong corps of setters in Allie Sawatzky and Mariah Agre, who both complete their eligibility following the 2013 season.

“Kaysie will be the freshman coming in and will be competing hard when she gets here,” Corbelli said. “She is used to running the show, and she is looking forward to competing with two very talented setters with Allie and Mariah. Even though she’ll be a freshman and new to the college game, I can only imagine, with as talented as Kaysie is and going up against and competing every day and learning from the experienced setters every day, how much fun it is going to be to see her develop and see her growth in the program. It is going to be great for the program, especially after 2013 when she becomes the only setter for a while. We are just really excited for her to come in. She is an exception person and setter and student, too.”

Texas A&M loses five senior starters following the 2012 season: Alisia Kastmo (6-4, opposite), Tori Mellinger (5-10, outside hitter), Lindsey Miller (6-2, middle blocker), Stephanie Minnerly (6-2, middle blocker) and Megan Pendergast (5-6, libero).

The Aggies (21-5, 13-4 SEC) close out their regular season home schedule on Friday against Missouri. First serve is at 6:30 p.m. at Reed. The five seniors will be honored following the match.

2013 Texas A&M Volleyball Recruiting Class:

Victoria Arenas, L. 5-6, Cypress, Texas (Cypress Woods High School)
2012-13 AVCA Under Armour Honorable Mention All-America
2012-13 LoneStarVolleyball.com All-Texas First Team
Three-time District 17-5A Most Valuable Libero (2010-12)
2012 AVCA Under Armour All-American Watch List
PrepVolleyball.com Senior Aces (No. 101-250)
All-Greater Houston third team
ESPN Vype Magazine All-Greater Houston 2012 Preseason Team
Greater Houston Volleyball Coaches Association Top Preseason Team (2010-2012)
CFISD Academic All District (2009-2012)
AVCA Academic Award Winner (2009-2011)
Seven-time participant in USA Volleyball Junior Nationals

Emily Hardesty, OH/RS, 6-3, Plano, Texas (Trinity Christian Academy-Addison)
No. 81 in PrepVolleyball.com’s Senior Aces
2012-13 LoneStarVolleyball.com All-Texas First Team
2011-12 TAPPS 5A-1 volleyball All-State First Team
2011 TAPPS 5A-1 State Champions
2011 All-State first team
2011 TAPPS 5A-1 State Volleyball All-Tournament Team
2011 District MVP
2011 USA Volleyball National Champions and MVP (17 American Division)

Kaysie Shebeneck, S, 6-1, Racine, Wis. (Burlington High School)
PrepVolleyball.com Senior Aces (No. 101-250)
2012 AAU National Silver Medalist
2012 AAU All-American 17 Open Division
2012 State of Wisconsin Division One Gold Medalist
2012 State of Wisconsin Division One All-Tournament Team
2012 State of Wisconsin First-Team All-State
2011-2012 Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year
2012 First Team All-County
2012 First Team All-Area
2012 All Area Co-Player of the Year
2012 First Team All-Conference
2011 State of Wisconsin Division One Gold Medalist
2011 Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association First Team All-State
2011 All-County Player of the Year
2011 First Team All-Conference
2011 Wisconsin Sports Net MVP State Tournament
2011 State of Wisconsin All-Tournament Team
PrepVolleyball 29 National Junior of the Year Finalist
PrepVolleyball 2011 High School All-American
2010 PrepVolleyball Soph 79 (one of the 79 best high school sophomores in the country)
2009 PrepVolleyball Frosh 59 (one of the 59 best high school freshmen in the country)

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