Rohlfing excited about latest recruiting class at SOU

Josh Rohlfing's pipeline to southern Oregon prep volleyball has paid off again.

Southern Oregon University's second-year head volleyball coach, who brought in former Ashland High setter Lindsey Stone last year, released his latest recruiting class last week and the list includes two more Rogue Valley standouts.

Former Ashland High outside hitter , who helped the Grizzlies win a state title in 2005, and former North Medford middle blocker Megan Bartling, who helped the Black Tornado advance to the state championship match in 2007, both will be playing for the Raiders starting this fall.

Holgen transferred from University of Oregon after taking a year off from volleyball, while Bartling opted to join the Raiders after leading North to a second-place finish in the 6A state tournament. Both will be incoming freshmen.

The duo highlights a nine-player recruiting class that also includes Azusa Pacific transfer Leanne Stennett, a sophomore outside hitter/libero, former Roseburg outside hitter Kalista Harrison and outside hitter/libero Becky Johnstone of Lake Arrowhead, Calif.

"I think this year's group is exceptionally deep and solid in some specific areas, one of them being the outside hitter position," Rohlfing said.

Holgen's decision to return to Ashland should bolster SOU's overhaul at that position after the graduation of both Shanna Claflin and Jaclyn Hamilton-Smith. The 5-foot-10, two-time all-state player who has a 30-inch vertical leap decided to attend U of O after graduating from AHS in 2007 but stayed in contact with Rohlfing. That connection paid off for the Raiders in the spring.

"She and I have talked a little here and there and since I got the job last April I kept telling her, 'You have a place here, don't give up on your volleyball because you are a great volleyball player,'" said Rohlfing.

Holgen agreed to visit the school during a recruiting weekend, a trip that ultimately convinced her to join the Raiders.

"She loved it, loved the girls and it seemed to be the right fit at the right time for her, and it's definitely the right fit for us," added Rohlfing.

The other SOU recruits for 2008 are: Corynn Jorgensen of Roseburg; Katelyn Peer of Napa Valley, Calif.; Angela Spieker of Kitsap, Wash.; and Natalie Wilson of Caldwell, Idaho.

Bartling, who stands 6-1, was a four-year letter winner at North Medford, where she led the Black Tornado to a stunning upset of Jesuit in the state tournament last fall.

"She was their go-to middle, their big gun there," Rohlfing said of Bartling. "What she adds to the table at this level starting with is her blocking. She's an exceptional net player."

Harrison starred for Roseburg two years ago and was recruited by Western Oregon. According to Rohlfing, Harrison attended two practices at WOU before deciding to transfer out. She contacted Rohlfing in December and has received clearance to leave the Wolves.

The 5-10 former all-state player possesses exceptional arm speed and will also help shore up the Raiders' outside hitting position.

Stennett, who stands 5-11, is probably the most accomplished player in the Raiders' 2008 recruiting class. She played in 83 of 116 games last season for Azusa Pacific, one of the top NAIA volleyball programs in the nation, and was named the Junior Olympic MVP in 2005.

"She has great skills in every aspect of the game and her court awareness is beyond her years," Rohlfing said of Stennett.

The Raiders recently wrapped up their spring practices and won't reunite on a court again until summer practices kickoff Aug. 5. They are coming off a 26-6 season that included a 19-1 Cascade Conference regular season championship run. SOU was ranked No. 10 in the final NAIA poll.

Sports editor can be reached at 482-3456 x 224 or joe.

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