Colorado Adds Three To 2021 Signing Class
BOULDER – The University of Colorado women's volleyball team announced Thursday the addition of three future student-athletes, a middle blocker from Denver and two defensive specialists/liberos from Washington and Minnesota.
"We are extremely excited to welcome Bella, Emilea and Emma to the Buff family," said head coach Jesse Mahoney. "All three are talented volleyball players and students and will represent Colorado Volleyball well on the court and in the classroom. Along with Taylor Simpson and Jahara Campbell we expect great things from the 2021 class."
Bella Simkus joins the Buffs from Denver East High School where she helped her team to a 20-7 record as a sophomore and a 10-14 mark as a junior. Simkus helped lead her team to state in just her second year playing volleyball. She was named All-Conference honorable mention as a sophomore and improved to All-Conference First Team her junior year.
"Bella is a long, lean explosive athlete with a ton of upside as a middle blocker," said Mahoney. 'She plays over 10 feet and has improved her game immensely over the last year. I'm excited to see her compete and learn from our current group of middles."
Simkus joined the Buffs for being a great school with amazing athletic teams and great academics. She intends to major in education and hopes to one day travel the world teaching. She was also recruited by Arkansas Tech, Ohio State, Brown and DePaul.
Emilea Stepaniuk helped her team to a perfect 30-0 record her junior campaign and a 22-3 record as a sophomore. Both season the team finished as the 2A Washington State Champions. She also had a 23-6 record as a freshman, compiling a 85-9 prep record. She was named Second Team All-State and First Team All-League in both seasons as well.
"Emilea will add depth to an already deep libero/DS core within our program," said Mahoney. "She has great instincts and range as a defender and is a very natural platform passer. She's brings great energy to the floor and I'm excited to see her game progress at the collegiate level."
Stepaniuk intends to major in integrative physiology in hopes to get into medical school. She was also recruited by CSU but chose Colorado because it felt the most at home.
Emma Torstenson joins the Buffs from Minnesota where she has over 1,400 career digs, 146 aces and 183 assists for Northfield where she competes for her father. As a junior her team went 28-2 as she recorded 364 digs and 43 aces. During her underclassmen campaigns she went 24-7 and 28-3 with 408 digs as a sophomore and 340 as a freshman. She was honored by being named First Team All-State as a junior and three times was named to the All-Conference First Team. Competing for Mizuno Northern Lights Club she has three third place finishes at the AAU Nationals in Orlando.
During her senior season in the fall of 2020, Torstenson and her team went 13-0 without losing a single set. Torstenson had 52 aces and 216 digs.
"Emma comes from a great background having played for her father in high school and one of the top 18's club teams in the country at Northern Lights," said Mahoney. "She has all the tools we look for in a libero but what sets Emma apart is her ability to read the game at a high level – she makes plays look easy by being in the right spot at the right time. Emma is highly regarded as one of the premier liberos in the nation."
Torstenson is interested in the medical field and is ambidextrous, writing and eating with her left hand but serving and hitting with her right. She is also the daughter of Kari Franz who played for the University of Minnesota. Torstenson was also recruited by Iowa State, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wake Forest, but chose CU for the atmosphere, volleyball program and Boulder.
"We are still actively recruiting for the 2021 class and we will be announcing another addition to our roster this summer," added Mahoney.