Women's Volleyball Announces 2009 Freshman Class
June 1, 2009
Stanford, Calif. - Head coach John Dunning has announced the four freshmen that will join the team this fall and help it contend for a fourth consecutive Pac-10 championship, a fourth straight trip to the Final Four and the program's seventh NCAA title. Hayley Spelman (Las Vegas, Nev.), Charlotte Brown (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Karissa Cook (Santa Cruz, Calif.) and Hannah Benjamin (San Diego, Calif.) will join 10 Cardinal veterans to form the 2009 team.
Spelman is considered one of the top-three recruits in her class, coming in at No. 3 on PrepVolleyball's list. The 6-6 opposite hails from Durango High School in Las Vegas, Nev., where she was the two-time Nevada Gatorade State Player of the Year. A two-time PrepVolleyball All-American and 2008 Gatorade National Player of the Year finalist, she set the Nevada state kills record in 2007 (714), then bested that mark with a new record a year later (864). She was a two-time Southwest Sunset Division MVP and led her team to the Nevada state title match as a junior. She has played club for Nevada Juniors and TCA SoCal and was selected to compete with the USA Junior National Team at the World Championships in Mexico in July. Last summer, she was a member of the USA Junior National Team that took home a gold medal at the N.O.R.C.E.C.A. Championships.
Brown, who was also listed among the nation's top 20 recruits (No. 19), is a 6-5 middle blocker from Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek. A two-time All Contra Costa Times pick, she was a four-time Diablo Foothills Athletic League selection, and the 2007 league MVP. She has played club for the Golden Bear and Vision volleyball clubs and has spent time training with the British Women's National Team.
Cook, who was deemed the nation's No. 25 recruit by PrepVolleyball, is a 5-11 setter from Harbor High School in Santa Cruz. A four-year letterwinner, she led her Harbor team to two Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League Championships, two CCS runner-up finishes and a pair of state tournament appearances. She was a four-time first-team all-league pick, the 2005 SCCAL Freshman of the Year, the 2006 SCCAL Sophomore of the Year and the league's 2007 and 2008 MVP. She competes for Main Beach Volleyball Club.
Benjamin, a four-year letterwinner at Francis Parker School in San Diego, is a 5-10 defensive specialist/libero. During her prep career, she led her team to the 2005 Division IV State Championship, two CIF San Diego Section Championships and three Coastal League titles. She was a three-time All-CIF San Diego Section First Team pick, a four-time CIF All-Coastal League Second Team selection and a two-time San Diego Union Tribune Player to Watch. She has played club for Encinitas Wave Volleyball and Coast Volleyball and was a member of the USA Junior National Training Team earlier this year.
In addition to the four newcomers, the 2009 Stanford squad will include two-time All-American outside hitter Alix Klineman and three additional starters who led the Cardinal to the 2008 NCAA title match - libero Gabi Ailes, middle blocker Janet Okogbaa and setter/hitter Cassidy Lichtman. Seniors Joanna Evans and Alex Fisher, sophomores Stephanie Browne, Katherine Sebastian and Katherine Knox and redshirt freshman Jessica Walker round out the roster.