DURHAM, N.C. – The ACC Champion Duke volleyball team has signed four high school seniors to National Letters of Intent to join the program for the 2011 season, 12th-year head coach Jolene Nagel announced on Tuesday.
The group includes 6-1 outside hitter and middle blocker Brittney Balser (Grafton, Ohio), 6-2 setter and hitter Maggie Deichmeister (Whitehall, Pa.), 5-11 outside hitter Jeme Obeime (Carmel, Ind.) and 5-11 setter Kelsey Williams (Pleasanton, Calif.).
“We are excited to welcome our incoming 2011 class to Duke,” Nagel said. “They are all highly motivated academically and athletically and will help us continue to compete at the highest level.
It seems like we have waited forever for their arrival. We look forward to having them join us in Durham and working with them on a daily basis. They are going to contribute immediately to the academic and athletic work ethic the team has established and add to the fun of the journey.”
Those four will join a Duke team that won its third ACC Championship in the past five years in 2010 and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight where they fell 3-1 to eventual NCAA Champion Penn State in the University Park, Pa., NCAA Regional Final.
Balser is a three-year letterwinner and a Prep Volleyball Senior Ace out of Magnificat High School in Grafton, Ohio, who set the school’s single-season and all-time records for kills. She averaged 4.9 kills and 1.7 blocks per game as a senior on the way to her second straight All-Ohio first team award. Balser has also competed nationally with the USA Women’s National Junior A2 Team and on the club level with the Cleveland Volleyball Company, which she led to the 17-U National Championship in 2009. Balser is also a member of the National Honor Society.
“Brittney Balser brings size, athleticism and excitement to our team,” Nagel said. “She plays high and is an excellent blocker. She’s hungry to take swings from all over the court and committed to continue to develop her game.”
Deichmeister is a four-year letterwinner and two-year team captain at Whitehall High School in Whitehall, Pa., where she earned Pennsylvania All-State honors twice and was named a Prep Volleyball Senior Ace. As a junior, Deichmeister played three positions and totaled 199 kills, 105 blocks and 241 assists while hitting .317. She also competed with the Court Authority Volleyball Academy and the Synergy Volleyball Club, helping Synergy advance to the AAU National Championship match in 2009. Deichmeister graduated fifth in her class and is a member of the National Honor Society and a four-year member of the honor roll.
“Maggie is a talented, athletic setter who has also been a hitter for her high school and club, which was runner-up in two National Championship tournaments last year,” Nagel said. “We have wanted her to come to Duke for a long time, and we feel she can be a force as a 5-1 or a 6-2 setter/hitter. She is an excellent blocker with natural instincts.”
Obeime is a four-year letterwinner and three-time all-state selection out of Brebeuf Jesuit Prepatory School in Indianapolis, Ind. As a senior, Obeime averaged 4.0 kills per game while hitting .438 and posting 63 blocks and 118 digs. A former club teammate of current All-ACC Blue Devil Christiana Gray, Obeime helped the Munciana Samurai capture two National Championships and was named an AAU All-America in 2010. Obeime, whose sister is a sophomore outside hitter at nationally-ranked Indiana, is also a member of the Student Council and received High Honors for her academic success.
“Jeme is a gifted athlete with exceptional quickness off the floor. Her quick arm, jump and excellent blocking ability will help make our gym more competitive immediately. She has trained at the highest level of club volleyball in our country and will easily transition to the demands of Division I volleyball.”
Williams is a four-year letterwinner at Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, Calif., and a former high school teammate of current Blue Devil outside hitter Sophia Dunworth. A team captain as a senior, Williams twice earned All-East Bay honors and was a three-time all-league choice. She led her club squad to the NVCA Regional Finals as a 17-year-old and to the Junior Nationals twice. Also a high jumper on the track team, Williams is a four-year honor roll selection and a two-time Principal’s List honoree.
“We are fortunate to welcome Kelsey to our Duke volleyball team as a setter,” Nagel said. “Duke is an excellent match for her and we look forward to having her bring her talents into our gym to help us make a better team.”
6-1, Outside Hitter/Middle Blocker
Grafton, Ohio (Magnificat High School)
High School: Three-year letterwinner at Magnificat High School…two-time All-Ohio selection with first team honors as a senior…holds Magnificat’s all-time kills record and single-season kills record…named a Prep Volleyball Senior Ace…led her Cleveland Volleyball Company club squad to the 2009 17-U National Championship…competed with the USA Women’s National Junior A2 Team in 2009 and 2010…led Magnificat to Ohio State Semifinals as a junior and to the Ohio Regional Finals as a sophomore and senior…averaged 4.9 kills and 1.7 blocks per game as a senior…her 347 kills as a senior broke the school single-season record she set as a junior…posted 292 kills as a junior, averaging 4.1 per game…averaged 2.2 blocks per game during the same season and registered kills on 64 percent of her attacks…as a sophomore, averaged 2.9 kill and 2.14 blocks as a middle blocker…pursuing a Black Belt in Taekwondo…member of the National Honor Society…served on the Junior Council on World Affairs…given the French Award…took second place in the Maison Francais French Speaking Competition as a junior…participated in the French Exchange Programs.
Personal: Born Brittney Nicole Balser on August 25, 1993 in Cleveland, Ohio…the daughter of Brian and Cindy Balser…has a sister, Cayley.
Whitehall, Pa. (Whitehall High School)
High School: Four-year letterwinner and two-year captain at Whitehall High School…AAU All-American as a junior...named to Pennsylvania All-State Team as a sophomore and junior…a Prep Volleyball Senior Ace…earned LVC All-Star Team honors as a junior and LVC second team honors as a sophomore…missed senior year due to knee injury…as a junior, totaled 199 kills, 105 blocks and 241 assists…posted a .317 hitting percentage that year with averages of 1.99 kills, 1.53 blocks and 2.45 assists…competed with the Court Authority Volleyball Academy for two years and with Synergy Volleyball Club for two years…helped Synergy win the 17-U Regional Championship and advance to the AAU National Championship Match…collected AAU All-American honors…helped that squad qualify for the Junior Olympic Nationals…team won silver medal after her knee injury forced her to miss the rest of the competition…member of the National Honor Society…involved with Key Club, Mu Alpha Theta and Student Council…member of the LVIAC Student-Athlete Character and Sportsmanship Council…volunteered with the Special Olympics for three years…four-year member of the High Honor Roll…nominee for Cohen Feeley Best of the Best Award as a senior…graduated fifth in her class.
Personal: Born Margaret Marie Deichmeister on Feb. 25, 1993 in Allentown, Pa. …the daughter of Fred and Beth Deichmeister…has a brother, Marc, and a sister, Corinne.
5-11, Outside Hitter
Carmel, Ind. (Brebeuf Jesuit Prepatory School)
High School: A four-year letterwinner at Brebeuf Jesuit Prep…a three-time all-state selection, earning first team honors as a senior and second team honors as a sophomore and junior…also an all-county selection…led Brefeuf to the 2009 Indiana State Championship…as a senior at Brebeuf, averaged 4.0 kills per game on a .438 hitting percentage…posted 43 solo blocks and 20 block assists while picking up 118 digs…as a sophomore, averaged 3.24 kills… played with current Blue Devil Christiana Gray with the Munciana Samurai club and won two National Championships…named an AAU All-American in 2010...competed with Team Indiana Volleyball in 2007 and 2008, leading the group to back-to-back runner-up finishes at nationals…received the Mental Attitude Award as a senior…threw the discus and shot put on the track team as a freshman and advanced to regionals…member of the Student Council and Kenya Club…received High Honors for her academic work…served as a tutor at Kaleidoscope Youth Center and Greenbriar Elementary School.
Personal: Born Jeme Christine Obeime on June 2, 1993 in Indianapolis, Ind. …the daughter of Christopher and Mercy Obeime…has a brother, Jalu, and a sister, Ivie…sister Ivie is an outside hitter on the nationally-ranked Indiana volleyball team.
Pleasanton, Calif. (Amador Valley High School)
High School: A four-year letterwinner at Amador Valley High School…captained the team as a senior…named All-East Bay as a junior and senior…a three-time all-league choice, earning first team honors as a junior and senior…led her 16-U club team to the bronze medal in the Junior Nationals Open division…led the group to the NVCA Regional Finals as a 17-year-old and to the Junior Nationals Open twice…also lettered one year on the track team in the high jump…four-year honor roll selection…appeared on the Principal’s List as a junior and senior…involved with the National Charity League for four years.
Personal: Born Kelsey Elizabeth Williams on July 22, 1993 in Raleigh, N.C. …the daughter of Jeff and Melissa Williams…has two sisters, Avery and Marin.