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Chokio-Alberta's Nicole Gillespie among Cougar volleyball 2010 recruits

Coming off an improved and competitive 2009 campaign, the University of Minnesota, Morris volleyball team adds nine first-year players to the 2010 roster.

Head coach Chad Braegelmann, entering his third season, is excited and eager to have the new talent and depth.

"We are in the enviable situation where we didn't lose any starters from last year's playoff team, but we brought in some talented players at every position on the court that will be pushing for, and most likely will get, some playing time for us this fall," said Braegelmann. "One of our recruiting goals was to target players with a lot of energy, heart and enthusiasm out there on the court and I believe we did that. It will be very fun to see how these new additions gel with our returning players to try and form a team that can compete for this year's Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament Championship and the UMAC's NCAA DIII tournament automatic bid. With only four seniors/juniors on the roster the future continues to be extremely bright for the Cougar volleyball program."

The Cougars finished the 2009 season with a 15-15 record and an appearance on the post-season UMAC tournament.

New Recruits

Nicole Gillespie (Graceville, Minn.) Chokio-Alberta HS

Major: Biology/Pre-Nursing

Awards/Honors: Senior Varsity Captain, State Qualifier, All-Conference, All-Tournament player at Duluth Tournament

Coach Braegelmann's comments: "Nicole is a "home-grown" player that we are welcoming to UMM to play volleyball. She has a very well rounded game and a wealth of volleyball knowledge and IQ as her mom was her high school coach. Nicole has great shot selection on offense and anticipates very well on defense. She could help us out in the front row and back row with her skills and we are looking forward to coaching her." Mandy Allman (Nevis, Minn.) Nevis HS

Major: Elementary Education

Awards/Honors: All Conference, State Consolation Winners

Coach Braegelmann's comments: "Mandy helped set her Nevis team to the 2009 State Tournament in her first year as a setter. Mandy has a great feel for the game and we will look for her to train as both a setter and a defensive specialist for us in the fall."

Kaylie Clark (Garden Plain, Kan.) Garden Plain HS

Major: Sports Management

Awards/Honors: Kansas 3A State Champions 2008, Kansas Volleyball Association (KVA) 1st team all-state 2008, KVA All-State Tournament Team, KVA All-State Honorable Mention 2007, KVA All-Academic Team 2008 and 2006

Coach Braegelmann's comments: "Kaylie is our only out-of-state player and we are very excited to have her here at UMM. She is coming off an ACL repair and missed her senior year of high school but in her junior year she helped her team to a state title in Kansas and a 40+ win season while playing for her mom who was the high school coach. She plays very hard with a great feel for the game and is a very talented all-around player. We could be using her in the front or back row and she is itching to get back on the court."

Alyssa Haugen (Alexandria, Minn.) Jefferson HS

Major: Education

Awards/Honors: MVP, Spirit Award (twice)

Coach Braegelmann's comments: "Alyssa helped her Alexandria team to the 2009 state tournament as a front-row player that has seen time at all three positions. Alyssa plays the game with a lot of passion and will be a valuable asset as someone we can play anywhere in the front row."

Kelsey Heisler (Bemidji, Minn.) Bemidji HS

Major: Biology/Pre-Med

Awards/Honors: "Sister" Award 2008, "Most Solo Blocks" Award 2008 "High Service Percentage" 2007, 4th highest record for Career Hits at Bemidji at 465, 5th highest seasonal record hits and 210.

Coach Braegelmann's comments: "Kelsey is a very good attacker off 1-foot and we look for her to add depth for us at the middle blocker position. Her lateral quickness and jumping ability will be great additions and we are excited to see how she stacks up against our returning all-conference middles."

Emily Irey (Woodbury, Minn.) Woodbury HS

Major: Biology/Pre-Med

Awards/Honors: Senior Varsity Captain, State Qualifier, All-Conference, All-Tournament player at Duluth Tournament

Coach Braegelmann's comments: "Emily plays the game with a lot of energy and excitement. She is a talented setter with a lot of volleyball experience and training, including time with the M1 Club out of the Twin Cities. Her defensive skills are also very good and she may get some time as a defensive specialist for us as well."

Hannah Knott (Raymond, Minn.) MACCRAY HS

Major: Math

Awards/Honors: Most Improved (2007)

Coach Braegelmann's comments: "Hannah brings a great blocking presence into the gym with her height and athleticism as a middle blocker. She is a powerful attacker and we are looking forward to getting her into the gym to see how she will compete and stack up with and against college players."

Anna Peterson (Moorhead, Minn.) Moorhead HS

Major: Undecided

Awards/Honors: Most Dedicated award (2008), team captain (2009)

Coach Braegelmann's comments: "Anna played all the way around in high school but we will be looking to utilize her more in the back row in college where her defensive prowess and intensity can best be utilized. She plays with a lot of heart and energy and isn't afraid to sacrifice her body to make the play."

Shannon Stinchfield (St. Paul, Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall HS

Major: Business

Awards/Honors: East Coast Champions, Most Enthusiastic Player, Most Prestigious Hitter with 172 kills, All-Conference, Suburban East Conference Champs, State Participant

Coach Braegelmann's comments: "Shannon is another one of our outside hitters that may be able to help us out in the front row and back row. She comes from a Cretin-Durham Hall program that played in the 2008 State Tournament and is a very vocal and intense player on the court. Shannon plays with an aggressive reckless abandon on defense and we are looking for her to continue that intensity here as a Cougar."