BOULDER - The University of Colorado volleyball team has signed three prep standouts to continue their education at CU as part of the 2013 class, head coach Liz Kritza announced on Thursday.
Katelyn Cuff (San Diego, Calif.), Joslyn Hayes (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Makayla Lundin (Eagle, Idaho) have each signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Buffaloes next season.
"We are excited to welcome all three of these young women to our Colorado volleyball family," Kritza said. "Not only are they talented athletes, but outstanding individuals who are also accomplished students in the classroom. This 2013 recruiting class is off to a strong start with this announcement and with the enthusiasm and work ethic these players have, we look forward to working with them, and Buffs fans will enjoy watching them excel."
Position: Middle Blocker
School: Torrey Pines High School (San Diego, CA)
Club: Encinitas Wave
Cuff is a six-foot, two-inch middle blocker for Torrey Pines High School, coached by Brennan Dean. TPHS was the preseason No. 1 team in the country and held that ranking through October. Current Buff Kerra Schroeder also played her high school career with the Falcons.
TPHS has recorded a 29-4 record through the second round of the California Interscholastic Federation. Cuff is leading the Falcons in hitting percentage, blocks and service aces. The 2012 team captured the Durango Tournament title (one of the nation's top high school tournaments) and was invited to play in the Nfinity Battle on the Plains. Cuff played her sophomore and junior seasons at Santa Fe Christian High School and finished with 24-13 (2010) and 25-12 (2011) records. She led her team in kills, kills percentage, and blocks for both years as well.
Cuff started her prep career at TPHS and was the first freshman to make the varsity team in the program's history and started all season; helping the squad to a 24-11 record and a runner-up finish at the CIF San Diego Section (Division 1) Tournament. Cuff has garnered multiple Union Tribune Athlete of the Week honors, all-tournament team, first-team all-league, county and CIF awards and was named as a PrepVolleyball.com Senior Ace for 2012.
"Katelyn works hard every day, has all the intangibles and is fun to be around on and off the court," said Dean.
Cuff has played club volleyball for Orlando Volleyball Academy and won a Bronze Medal in the open division at the USA Volleyball Junior Olympics in 2008. Upon moving to the San Diego area, she played for both of the top clubs in the area, Coast Volleyball Club and Wave Volleyball Club.
Ozhan Bahrambeygui, Club Director for Coast Volleyball Club, said, "After experiencing a series of physical setbacks, no one has worked harder to get back into peak athletic shape, nonetheless Katelyn Cuff has arrived as southern California's most physical player. A larger than life competitor, 'Cuffy' has an appetite for big matches. At 6-3 she not only asserts her will with an athletics style of play, but fills the gym with a big personality. This kid is ready to take over."
In 2009, the Wave team was the No. 1 ranked team in southern California and placed third in the open division at JOs. The following year, the Wave finished fifth in the open division at JOs. Playing for the Coast in 2011, her team took first in the Martin Luther King tournament. Cuff will complete her club volleyball career at Wave this club season playing for Brent Hilliard and Jud Buechler.
"Having had the opportunity to coach Katelyn previously, and knowing her since she moved the San Diego area, the thing that really stood out was her physical presence, especially at such a young age. She was so impressive that I gave her the nickname the Beast (a nickname that she still embraces today). How many 14-year-old girls would embrace such a name and their own physical ability? She was, hands down, the best blocker I had seen at that age. She made great moves to the outside and had good body positioning, likely from the coaching she had received early on in her development from her mom. The perseverance Cuff has shown, with her hard work and hanging in there while battling through injuries, says a lot about her of character. She is back, and better than ever. I am so happy to see her back on the court, smiling and dominating play. She is an incredible kid with incredible character and I am lucky to have coached her and just to have been able to be around her as a person," said Jud Buechler, retired NBA star and former NCAA men's volleyball All-American who has coached Cuff on previous occasions and will coach her again this club season.
"Katelyn is the top middle blocker in San Diego right now; an area that is rich in talent, need I say more," Brent Hilliard, Wave Volleyball Club Head Coach said.
The San Diego, Calif. native is the daughter of Bob and Jennifer Cuff. Her mother played collegiate volleyball at Nevada as both a middle blocker and right side hitter. She was a four-year starter and earned the program's first All-Big West Conference first team honors. Cuff's younger sister Lexi is also a volleyball player for the Wave VBC. Cuff intends to major in business with an emphasis in marketing and is also interested in journalism.
"As a volleyball player, Katelyn has a good combination of athleticism, intelligence, and playing experience," Kritza said. "As a person, she has a brilliant personality and emotional maturity well beyond her age. She will add a great deal to our program in the middle and with her playing experience, she can make a quick transition to the college game. She has played with and against the top players in the nation and meets any challenge with remarkable poise and strength. Being successful in the top league in the country requires some grit, determination, and the ability to overcome obstacles; and this kid has it. She fought her way through injury to get back onto the court at the top level and will continue to work as hard as she needs to in order to be successful. She will be a fan favorite with her energetic style of play and is a fierce competitor. Cuff has an insatiable desire to be a champion and it translates to an intense work ethic in everything she does, she will be a great Buff."
Cuff was recruited by many of the top NCAA Division I programs such as Cal, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Notre Dame, Texas and Florida. She chose Colorado because she saw herself "becoming an integral part of the program while helping them continue to compete in one of the toughest conferences in the country."
Position: Middle Blocker/Outside Hitter
School: Santa Monica High School (Santa Monica, Calif.)
Hayes is a six-foot-three middle blocker at Santa Monica High School under coach Liane Sato. The 2012 Samohi squad finished the season with a 12-3 record after playing in the CIF semifinal match. A four-year letterwinner at SMHS, Hayes was named first-team all-league freshman, sophomore and junior seasons (this year's honorees have not been announced).
"Samohi Athletics and the Samohi volleyball program are so proud of Joslyn's accomplishments during her four years," said Sato. "She has been an integral factor in the success of our team. We are very excited for her to continue her academics and volleyball career at Colorado."
SMHS has produced some top quality volleyball players and touts eight Olympians, including her high school coach, Sato, a two-time Olympian. Many others have gone on to have successful volleyball careers including Liz Masakayan who has played and coached several Olympians.
Hayes played for the Santa Monica Volleyball Club for her first three years on the club scene before switching to Sunshine Volleyball Club, one of the top clubs in southern California. She has played for Sunshine for two years where she was coached by UCLA men's volleyball standout Brennan Prahler, and will complete her club career this year under coach, Mike Campbell, who has ties to both the men's and women's programs at UCLA. As a member of the 18-open-division last season the team qualified for USA Volleyball's Junior Olympic Championships. Additionally, ESPN Rise names Hayes as one of 10 stars at the Southern California qualifier last year and was in excellent company with some of the nation's top prospects.
The Santa Monica, Calif. native is the daughter of Luke and Janine Hayes. She has one older brother, Luke Jr., and two younger sisters, Hannah and Megan. She intends to major in psychology or child development. She is also interested in communications.
"We are adding a versatile athlete with great size and ability with Joslyn Hayes," Kritza said. "She has done exceptionally well in her relatively young volleyball career and she has what it takes to make an impact in this league. She is physical enough to compete with the top level players and has a determined mentality and work ethic that will allow her to develop the necessary skills. She is tough minded and is a tremendous competitor. Jos is a delightful young woman and a diligent student, who has an uncanny ability to not only reach her own successes but bring everyone around her along as well. We are excited that she will be on our side of the net."
Hayes was also recruited by Utah, CSU Fullerton, Cincinnati and Miami (Fla.). She decided on CU because, "even when talking to the coaches on the phone she felt a closer connection with them than anyone else. They are actual genuine loving people who don't just want a good player, but a good person."
School: Bishop Kelly High School (Eagle, Idaho)
Club: Club Idaho
Lundin is a five-foot, eleven-inch setter from Bishop Kelly High School, coached by Deborah King. The Knights advanced to the state tournament three straight years (2010-2012) and this past season they finished with a 24-9 record. The team also won districts twice during her tenure. As a senior and junior, Lundin was named a first-team all-conference selection, and a second-team selection as a sophomore. She was also named to the all-state team as a senior. Lundin played seven seasons for Club Idaho and had strong showings last year in both AAU National Championships and USA Volleyball Junior National Qualifiers.
"Makayla is a great leader on the floor," Club Idaho Club Director Joyce Fahnestock said. "She works hard everyday for her team to succeed. She is a smart player and loves to compete. She is excited to be a part of a great volleyball program at CU and will be a great asset to the team with her dedication and determination to be the best."
"Makayla will provide us with another strong setting option on the roster, but she also can do a lot more," Kritza said. "She plays defense well, has the full complement of volleyball skills, and competes aggressively all the time. She just plays the game completely. She is a strong athlete and a well-rounded, competitive player, who does not have a lot of holes in her game. She will do well in our gym with her strong work ethic and love of competition, and will be able to draw on her previous experiences and intelligent approach to the game to help us take the next step as a program."
The Buffs (14-14 overall, 4-12 Pac-12) are back on the court this weekend for a pair of matches. They will face Arizona on Friday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. and on Sunday the Buffs will take on Arizona State at 6 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz.