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Colorado Adds Five Buffs On Signing Day

Nov 9, 2022

BOULDER  — Colorado women's volleyball signed five student-athletes Wednesday, head coach Jesse Mahoney announced. 

The Buffs added outside hitter Sydney Jordan from Houston Texas, and pinhitters Ana Burilovic and Lily Dwinell. Dwinell grew up in San Clemente, Calif., while Burilovic hails from Split, Croatia and is the one international student-athlete in the group. Middle blocker Cayla Payne of Carlsbad, Calif., and outside hitter and libero Avery Bolles from Andover, Minn., round out the versatile class.

"We are thrilled to welcome such a deep and talented class of student-athletes to Boulder in 2023. With this group we've added great size, skill and athleticism to our program while adding talent and depth at nearly every position," said Mahoney. "Each are exceptional student-athletes who will represent the University of Colorado well on the court, as well as in the classroom and the Boulder community." 

"This class will form the bedrock of our program for years to come and [the class] makes me excited for the future of Colorado volleyball," Mahoney stated. "We will be adding to this outstanding class in the spring."

Sydney Jordan

Jordan is a 6-3 outside hitter from Houston, Texas, and will be joining CU this spring to get an early start on her Buff career. She helped lead Ridge Point High School to four district championships and two State Final Four third place finishes (2021 & 2019). Jordan is only the second player in Ridge Point school history to achieve 1,100+ kills and 1,200+ digs during her career. 

"Sydney is one of the premier six-rotation outside hitters in the 2023 class. With her size and athleticism, she has the potential to be an elite scorer at our level," said Mahoney. "But what really separates Sydney is her volleyball IQ and her ability to play in all phases of the game. Sydney is highly motivated, and we are excited to have her joining us next January to get a head start in learning the collegiate game."

Jordan comes from a highly athletic family. Her father was a First Team All-American soccer player at Clemson and went on to play professionally for 15 years. Her mother played varsity volleyball at the University of North Carolina and was also an All-American. Her brother is a sophomore in high school and plays volleyball as well. 

According to PrepVolleyball, Jordan is currently ranked 40th for all positions in the 2023 class and was named a 2022 AVCA All-American. She was also a part of the USA Volleyball National Team Development Program. 

Jordan intends to study business and earn a minor in journalism during her time at CU. After college, she aspires to play volleyball professionally, but ultimately wants to be an anchor for a major sports media corporation. 

The outside hitter was recruited by Utah, Pitt, Louisville, North Carolina, Pepperdine, University of San Diego, Illinois, and Oregon, but chose Colorado for her next chapter because it felt like home to her, she loved the beautiful campus and athletic facilities, and because she wanted to play in the Pac-12.

 

Lily Dwinell

Dwinell is a 6-2 pinhitter from San Clemente, Calif. She played all four years at San Clemente High School, and she helped her team achieve a 24-10 record this past season. One of the biggest moments of her high school career was winning league MVP her senior year. While playing club, Dwinell earned an Open Junior National Championship in 2019.

"Lily is one of the most dynamic attackers in the 2023 class. She has a heavy arm, attacks from a very high point, and has experience playing on both the left and the right pin," Mahoney said. "We look forward to continuing her development as an attacker while also focusing on training Lily to become a future six-rotation player at the collegiate level."

Dwinell was a part of the USA Volleyball National Team Development Program. In addition to playing indoor volleyball, one of Dwinell's main pastimes is going to the beach and playing beach volleyball while there. 

Dwinell plans on studying business at CU. She was also recruited by the University of Indiana, but she ultimately chose to become a Buff because she loved the culture of the team and the beauty of the campus.

 

Cayla Payne

Payne is a 6-4 middle blocker from Carlsbad, Calif. She played at Carlsbad high school all four seasons and helped lead her team to a D1 second place finish her junior year. Payne stated this was one of her favorite moments of her high school career. Payne also teamed up with Dwinell during the past club season at Wave Volleyball Club. Additionally, the middle was nominated for the AVCA's Best and Brightest Award along with being named an AVCA All-American.

"Physically, Cayla is a prototypical Pac-12 middle blocker," Said Mahoney. "She has great size at 6-4 and is explosive both laterally as a blocker and vertically as an attacker. She is very skilled; she's comfortable attacking in front of the setter as well as behind off of one foot on the slide. But what I'm most excited about regarding Cayla is her motor and high level of competitiveness. Cayla gets after it on every play, and that's what will make her an elite player at the middle blocker position."

Payne chose CU because she felt like it was an excellent fit almost as soon as she stepped onto campus. The coaching staff and the campus culture, along with her future teammates, helped the middle blocker make her decisions. 

While at Colorado, Payne also plans on studying business. In addition to playing volleyball, she loves to surf, crochet, and be outdoors.

Ana Burilovic

Burilovic is a 6-0 pinhitter from Split, Croatia. She was a national school volleyball champion for the 2021-22 school year and achieved seventh place on the World school volleyball championship the same year. She has played in the Croatian premier league for four years. This year, she won a U20 National Championship, earned the "Best Spiker Award" for the third year in a row, and achieved the MVP award for the fourth consecutive year.

"Ana has all the tools to be an elite six-rotation outside hitter. She's an explosive athlete with a heavy arm and range at both pins," Mahoney said. "With her experience playing at the highest levels within Croatia, as well as her experience representing Croatia internationally, we feel Ana will be able to transition into the collegiate game and compete early in her career."

Burilovic's favorite playing moment occurred when her team was playing in the national finals. They'd lost the first set, and were losing 17-10 in the second set, but they managed to come back, win the second set, and go on to win the match in three. With the victory, her team earned the opportunity to represent Croatia in a tournament in Brazil.

The outside hitter selected Colorado because she saw it as an excellent place to develop academically and wants to major in either geology or biology. 

Outside of volleyball, Burilovic plays the piano, loves to solve Sudoku or crossword puzzles, and speaks four languages. She enjoys traveling and hopes to visit every country someday.

 

Avery Bolles

Bolles is a 5-10 outside hitter and libero from Andover, Minn., who will be joining the Buffs this spring season. While at Andover High School, Bolles earned 1,100+ kills and 1,200+ digs. She helped her team achieve a 22-8 record this season and was named to the Andover All-Region Team. Additionally, Bolles was a 2022 Minnesota Ms. Baden Nominee and made 2022 All-State.

"Avery has played the majority of her career as a dynamic, but undersized outside hitter who has more than held her own at an elite level of competition.  I'm looking forward to her maintaining that aggressive mentality as she transitions into the libero role," Mahoney stated.  "Avery has a natural platform, exceptional athleticism and great defensive instincts; all the ingredients needed to become an elite libero. Along with Sydney, Avery has chosen to get a head start on her training and will be joining the program in January."

Both of Bolles' parents attended Bemidji State University. While there, her father played hockey and her mother played volleyball. Her sister is a sophomore in college and is a competitive spikeball player. Bolles and her sister played high school volleyball together. 

Bolles was also recruited to UND, North Dakota State University, Campbell, Mississippi State, and Charleston College, but she chose CU because she felt at home with the coaching staff, campus location, and team environment. 

She plans on majoring in elementary education and speech pathology. She's scuba certified, has a dog named Hank (who has a learning disability), and enjoys crafting.