Volleyball Signs Three More To National Letters Of Intent

April 23, 2002

SEATTLE - Washington head volleyball coach Jim McLaughlin has announced the signings today of three high school seniors to national letters of intent. Defensive specialist Candace Lee (Eugene, Ore.), middle blocker Darla Mhyre (Victoria, B.C.) and outside hitter Jessica Veris (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) will help make up UW's class of 2006.

'This is the largest recruiting class that I've had in my 12 years as a head volleyball coach,' McLaughlin said. 'It's as talented a class as any I've had, however, the true quality will be determined as these student-athletes mature and become familiar with the way we do things at the University of Washington.

'I specifically like this class for three reasons. First of all, they are very athletic and very quick. Second, they are committed and have a competitive desire to push the University of Washington to the top of the Pac-10. Third, they are also very concerned about their own academic standard. This class complements our returning players and adds quality depth, so that we will have some options next season..'

An honorable mention all-state selection as a senior, Lee helped Churchill High School to a league title in 2001, earning first team all-conference honors twice and team MVP honors three times.

'I was very impressed with Coach McLaughlin, especially with his knowledge of the game,' Lee said about her decision to attend the UW. 'Academically, Washington is a very good school and the campus is beautiful. The location was also a big part of my decision, because I wanted to stay in the Northwest.'

A member of the Webfoot Juniors Volleyball Club, Lee excels in the classroom, posting a 4.0 grade-point average since her freshman year and is a member of the National Honor Society. Lee also is a four-year letterwinner in tennis at Churchill, placing third in the state in doubles competition her sophomore and junior seasons.

'Candace has a very strong court presence,' McLaughlin said. 'She likes to take control, is very aware and has a very fast first step. I also like her range defensively, but more importantly, she has the ability to receive serve at a high level over time.'

Mhyre, a member of the Canadian Junior National Team, led Belmont Secondary to the British Columbia High School AAAA Championship as a senior, earning tournament MVP honors.

'Darla can become a very special player,' McLaughlin said. 'She has the speed and quickness to play at the highest level, but what I like most about her is her drive. She wants to become a great player at the highest level and will do what it takes.'

The 6-2 middle blocker also played for Canada's Juvenile National Team and currently competes for a pair of club teams in Victoria KOA and Victoria, which finished second at provincials earlier this year.

'I first visited Washington two years ago, and I knew then, that I wanted to come to school here,' Mhyre said. 'Another reason I chose Washington was because of the coaching staff. When I made my visit, they impressed me a lot with the way they talk to the team, how positive they are and their knowledge of the game.'

A member of the honor roll, Mhyre attended Francis Kelsey High School in Duncan, B.C., her freshman and sophomore seasons, before starring at Belmont.

The team's lone signee from the state of California, Veris was a two-year letterwinner at perennial powerhouse Mira Costa High School.

'Jessica has a nice skill level at this point in her career, but what separates her and what I like most, is her arm speed,' McLaughlin said. 'It's tough to become an elite player at this level, but I believe she will make the commitment necessary to do the things that she must do to develop as a player.'

As a senior, Veris helped the Mustangs to the school's first trip to the state finals since 1989, recording a team-best 23 kills to earn a spot on the all-tournament team. The 6-1 outside hitter, who plays for Asics Volleyball Club, also earned first team all-conference and all-CIF honors in 2001.

'The coaches were very friendly and straight-forward,' Veris said. 'I just knew I would be able to get a good education here and have a fun time playing volleyball.'

Last November, both outside hitter Carolyn Farny (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and setter Chelsey Garrett (Overland Park, Kan.) signed letters of intent, giving the Huskies five incoming freshmen for the 2002 season.

A year ago, Washington finished with the program's most wins since 1997, tallying an 11-16 record and a 4-14 mark in the powerful Pac-10 Conference. The Huskies are set to open their 2002 campaign on Friday, August 30, in Miami, Ohio.

University of Washington Volleyball 2001-02 Signees - Class of 2006
Name Ht. Pos. Hometown/High School
Carolyn Farny 6-1 OH Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran HS
Chelsey Garrett 6-1 S Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley North HS
Candace Lee 5-7 DS Eugene, Ore./Churchill HS
Darla Mhyre 6-2 MB Victoria, B.C./Belmont Secondary
Jessica Veris 6-1 OH Manhattan Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS

Now on Pac-12 Network
4:30 AM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network