SAN ANTONIO (June 29, 2020) – The Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) volleyball team is proud to announce its biggest recruiting class ever since the inaugural season in 2007. Thirteen student-athletes, including two transfers, will join the 2020 squad. The program will return several key pieces from last season including All-Conference honorees Anissa Tamez (JR/San Antonio, Texas), Kalani Ketchens (JR/San Antonio, Texas), Alyssa Marquez (SO/Albuquerque, N.M.), Sadie Ballesteros (FR/San Antonio, Texas) and Tijana Kruta (SO/Bar, Montenegro).
The program will have a lot of new faces, but that does not concern second-year Head Coach Scott Mattera. "Sure, we are bringing in a big class, and we've certainly expanded the roster, but for us, it's about opportunity and culture. We have the capacity to offer this unique student-athlete experience that is OLLU volleyball to more young ladies. So if we can do it without sacrificing the culture that we are building, why wouldn't we?"
To accommodate the increased roster size and offer more opportunities for development and playing time, OLLU will be adding a series of junior varsity matches in the fall against various schools, including teams from the Alamo Colleges system, Mattera commented, "While this [adding a JV class] is pretty new in Texas, many areas of the country have been doing it for years. It's a win-win for everyone. In the past, if you signed a raw freshman, they would sit for a long time and only have practices to develop. Now those players will get to represent OLLU on the court as they develop."
The 2020 class carries high school and club accolades along with impressive classroom accomplishments. "We were up against several NCAA Division 2 programs and even Division 1 for some of these players, and we won those battles. There is serious talent in this class who can help us right away on the court, and their average GPA is over 3.5. Three of the players were top 10 in their entire graduating classes," Mattera said.
The recruiting class features 12 of the 13 new additions from the San Antonio area, and the other is from the Corpus Christi area. Connecting with the local volleyball community has been a goal for Mattera since he arrived at OLLU last spring. He said, "We are certainly active in other areas, but San Antonio has so much talent and a lot of it wants to stay closer to home. We were able to take advantage of that, and while it may seem like our geographic footprint is small with the class, the diversity of schools and backgrounds we drew from is a major point of pride."
The new group will fit in with the established core of returners, according to Mattera. "We make sure that our current players are heavily involved in the recruiting process of potential new additions. I solicit their input, and they do a great job of protecting our program. They've gotten to interact with the recruits before we even made offers, and they are already connecting with them this summer. Does it mean more competition? Of course! But we compete with each other, not against each other, and we all learned last year the importance of having depth in the program."
The 2020 class is as follows:
|Anastasia Brown||Aransas Pass||CC Storm||OH/M/RS||Freshman|
|Daisy Cantwell||Johnson||SA Force||OH/RS||Freshman|
|Madalyn Gonzalez||Providence||SA Warriors||M/RS||Freshman|
|Cassidy Haller||Steele||SA Force||RS/S||Freshman|
|Megan Montalvo||Churchill||SA Force||S/DS||Freshman|
|Ashleigh Ramirez||Business Careers||SA Force||OH/DS||Freshman|
|Jaalin Rosser||Veterans Memorial||SA Hornets||OH/DS||Freshman|
|Skyla St. Clair||Jefferson||SA Empire||U||Freshman|
|Maddie Strzelczyk||East Central||Tri-County||S/DS||Freshman|
|Anna Sujo Hernandez||Stevens||SA Titans||S/DS||Freshman|
|Savannah Cassiano||Burbank/Schreiner Univ.||MC/RS||Junior|
|Alyssa Gallardo||Southside/Temple College||DS||Junior|
The Saints are scheduled to open their 14th season in September. Most home matches will be live-streamed and all will feature live stats.