Volleyball Signs Three Highly Touted Recruits For 2003

Nov. 18, 2002

EUGENE, Ore. - Three highly touted Oregon volleyball players have signed letters of intent to join the Duck volleyball program for the upcoming 2003 season, Oregon head coach Carl Ferreira announced today.

Two of the recruits - Heather Madison (5-8, Setter, Gresham) and Kristen Bitter (6-4, Middle Blocker, Roseburg) - will stay within the state to play for the Ducks, while Sarah Mason (6-3, Middle Blocker, Hilo, Hawaii), comes out of Ferreira's hometown and currently plays at the high school Ferreira attended.

'Since I got to Oregon, the number one goal has been to recruit the top players within the state of Oregon,' Ferreira said. 'These players are very athletic and will make an instant impact next season much like the freshmen we have this year. I know the top players in Oregon can compete at a top-20 level, and getting these players has been based on relationships we've created.'

All three players were recruited by other Pac-10 schools, including Arizona, USC and Oregon State. Mason chose the Ducks over the Wildcats, which are currently ranked 16th in the nation, while Madison had been in contact with USC as well as Notre Dame. The Trojans have secured no less than a share of the Pac-10 title this year and had been ranked No. 1 during the season.

Mason, a 2001 All-Star All-State first team selection, has helped St. Joseph's High School to two consecutive league titles, including a 15-0, 15-0 win in this season's championship match. St. Joseph's is currently No. 1 in the state heading into the state tournament. Last season, St. Joseph's finished fourth at the state tournament and Mason went on to earn second-team all-BIIF honors as well as the team's Most Outstanding Player award.

'I see a lot in Oregon's future,' Mason said. 'I really liked the coaches and the campus was beautiful. I had never really seen anything like it. The team is rebuilding and I want to make an impact and improve the team.'

Madison, who played for Jim Hartner at Gresham High School, led the Gophers to their second-consecutive state championship this year and was named Player of the Year in the Mt. Hood Conference.

'This is a Carl Ferreira-type of athlete,' Hartner said. 'When the game gets tougher, Heather gets tougher. She's a warrior.'

As well as being named the league's player of the year, Madison also earned first-team all-tournament accolades at the state tournament and was the squad's Most Valuable Player. As a junior in 2001, Madison was a first-team all-league selection.

'I'm so excited to come down and be a part of the Pac-10,' Madison said. 'Oregon is on the verge of being great and I want to be the player that pushes them over the edge and makes a difference.'

The Ducks' third addition, Bitter, was a first-team all Southern Oregon Conference selection as well as team MVP this season after leading Roseburg High School to a second-place finish in the conference. Bitter, who Ferreira says will make an immediate impact next season, finished 2002 with 157 kills and 324 total blocks, according to her head coach, Bruce Myers.

'Kristen has a very strong presence in the middle,' Myers said. 'Teams are going to have to go around her and make adjustments.'

Bitter was a second-team all conference selection following her sophomore and junior seasons and was Roseburg's Most Improved Player both seasons.

'Oregon is on the rise and up and coming,' said Bitter who narrowed her choices to Oregon and Arizona. 'I wanted to play in the Pac-10 because it's the highest level. I don't think one person can change a program, but I want to contribute as much as I can to help the team reach our goals.'

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