Five Accomplished Prep Players to Join Cougar Volleyball

April 17, 2009

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Three student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent and two more have accepted offers in join the Washington State University volleyball team in the Fall of 2009, Cougar Head Coach Andrew Palileo announced Friday.

The trio of NLI signees are Oceana Bush from Spokane, Wash., Conley Kipp from Newport Beach, Calif., and Rachel Todorovich from Walla Walla. The invited walk-ons are Liz Haskey from Puyallup, Wash. and Natalie Stewart from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

'I am thrilled about our first recruiting class at Washington State. I think that it will change the direction of the volleyball program,' Palileo said. 'As I looked at the needs of our program, I wanted to accomplish three things with this class: add size and depth at the hitting positions, bring in local kids who can play at the Pac-10 level, and bring in player who will fit the vision and mission of WSU Athletics and the Cougar volleyball program. These players will represent WSU with the utmost passion and intensity required to compete at this level. I am pleased with our recruiting efforts and I commend Associate Head Coach Brian Lamppa and Assistant Coach TeAna Tramel for their hard work in fulfilling our goals.'

Bush is a 5-5 outside hitter from Lewis & Clark High in Spokane who will play as a defensive specialist at WSU. She was the 2008 Greater Spokane League most valuable player and runner-up for the Washington state Gatorade volleyball player of the year. The LC Tigers won the 2008 state 4A team championship, where Bush was named the tournament MVP, and were the state runners-up in 2007. Bush also played on the Spokane Splash Club team that won the Open Gold bracket of the Pacific Northwest Qualifier and were the AAU National Champions in 2007. Her older sister Shayla played volleyball at Rutgers and Ivy will be a senior on the Morgan State volleyball team this fall. Oceana plans to pursue a career in education at WSU.

'Oceana will have an immediate impact on our team as we look to improve our ball handling skills to run our system,' Palileo said. 'She is a highly intense and passionate player which will be great for the players around her. Playing for Coach Kydd and Coach Westlake on the Spokane Splash, a nationally competitive club team, will help Oceana make the adjustment to playing in the Pac-10.'

Kipp is a 6-4 middle blocker who has lettered all four years at Corona del Mar High. The Sea Kings volleyball team claimed the Pacific Coast League championship three times during her career. She was named first team all-league twice and second team once. Kipp was also selected to the All-Orange County second team, the Daily Pilot 2008 Dream Team, and the senior ace. She has been actively involved with many charity events through her school and church. Kipp's older sister, Kasey, plays on the UC Santa Barbara volleyball team.

'Conley fulfills our need for depth and height at the middle blocker position without losing athleticism. She will have the opportunity to compete for playing time right away as we look to build experience at that position as we move towards conference season,' Palileo said. 'Her experience playing for one of the top volleyball clubs in the nation (TCA) and Coach Mason will prepare her well for the rigors of the Pac-10 season.'

Todorovich is a 6-2 right side hitter from Walla Walla High School who was a first team All-Columbia Basin Big Nine League selection as a hitter in 2008 and second team pick as a setter as both a junior and senior. Todorovich was named to the 2008 all-area team as a hitter. She was the team's most valuable player as a junior and senior. She led the Columbia Jrs. 18-Black club volleyball team to a seventh-place finish at the 2008 National Volleyball Festival, the top Northwest club team last summer. For the past two years on the club circuit, the Columbia Jrs. team has taken third place at the CEVA Power League. This spring Todorovich's club team has finished 27th at the Las Vegas Classic tournament out of 264 teams which was the second-best finish by a Northwest club team. Her older sister, Sara, is a middle blocker who is transferring from Arizona State to play at Eastern Washington University this fall.

'Rachel has the ability to be a very good player for the Cougars,' Palileo said. 'I see a very high ceiling for her as she develops into a right side attacker. As a left-handed hitter we will be able to use her in various sets within our system and provide a different look for opponents. Playing for Columbia Juniors and coach John Lengphounpraseut, who is very familiar with the Pac-10-level of competition, will give her the experience and knowledge of what it takes to compete at this level.'

Also joining the WSU team in the fall are Liz Haskey, a 5-2 defensive specialist/libero, from Puyallup High, and Natalie Stewart, a 5-10 setter from Coeur d'Alene High.

Haskey was named the 2008 South Puget Sound League most valuable player, as well as first team all-state as the Vikings took eighth place at the 4A championships. She plays on the Puget Sound Volleyball club team. Haskey holds a 3.96 grade point average and plans to study bioengineering/pre-medicine.

Stewart is a two-time All-Inland Empire League first team selection and was named league MVP for the 2008 season. She also garnered All-North Idaho honors as a junior and senior in addition to being honored as a finalist for High School Female Athlete of the Year from both the North Idaho Hall of Fame and the Spokane Regional Sports Association. Stewart was the NIAAA Idaho Scholar-Athlete of the Year and is the Cd'A High Valedictorian for the 2009 class and

'Liz will give us needed depth at the DS/L position. Her passion and attitude for the game will be an important contribution at WSU. Natalie brings a winning attitude to our program and she will have the opportunity to compete for the setting position,' Palileo said.

The Cougars will open the 2009 volleyball season hosting Portland, UC Davis and Montana State at the Nike Cougar Invitational tournament, Aug. 28-29, at Bohler Gym.

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