DURHAM, N.C. - The 10-time ACC Champion Duke volleyball team has signed five high school seniors to letters of intent to join the program for the 2012 season as announced by head coach Jolene Nagel Tuesday, May 22.
The Class of 2016 includes 5-11 outside hitter Breanna Atkinson (Ashburn, Va.), 6-2 middle blocker Elizabeth Campbell (Parker, Colo.), 6-3 outside hitter Emily Sklar (San Jose, Calif.), 6-4 rightside hitter and setter Christina Vucich (Morrisville, N.C.) and 5-10 outside hitter and defensive specialist Laura Williams (Western Springs, Ill.).
"It is with great excitement that we anticipate the arrival of our 2012 recruiting class in Durham," said Nagel. "This group brings both size as well as athleticism to our team. All five incoming freshmen represent the balance between dedicated student and talented volleyball player; they are all highly motivated with a great passion for the game and for Duke. We look forward to a fun and successful four years with our new Blue Devils."
The five incoming freshmen will join nine returning letterwinners, including All-ACC selection Christiana Gray and ACC Defensive Player of the Year Ali McCurdy, from last year's 20-9 team, which advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 17th time in program history and for the ACC-record seventh consecutive year.
Atkinson is a four-year letterwinner and Prep Volleyball Senior Ace out of The Madeira School in McLean, Va. The VISAA Division I Player of the Year, she also earned first team AVCA Under Armour All-America honors after leading Madeira to the program's first state title. She averaged 5.1 kills per game while posting a hitting percentage of .520 on the way to her third straight all-conference recognition. Atkinson also competed nationally with the USA Women's National Junior A2 Team and on the club level with the Virginia Elite Volleyball Club.
"Breanna has demonstrated her commitment and dedication through years of hard work developing her game," said Nagel. "She has had the opportunity to compete with and against the best players in the country in her age group through her continued experience with the U.S. High Performance programs. She is a fun player to watch with great athleticism and she has a strong desire to be great. "
After earning three letters at Wakefield High School in Raleigh, N.C., Campbell led Chaparral High School (Parker, Colo.) to the Colorado Girls' Volleyball 5A State Championship her senior season. A second team AVCA Under Armour All-American, she totaled 335 kills 242 digs, 104 blocks and 89 aces in 2011. Campbell, a member of the 2011 USA Girls Youth National A1 Training Team, also competed with the NC Elite Volleyball Club and the Front Range Volleyball Club.
"Elizabeth is an extremely versatile player with nice size," said Nagel. "She displays a great passion for the sport and has trained at an elite level through a highly demanding club program. Her ability to play left, middle or right side will prove to be a wonderful addition to our team. She's a dedicated student and loves to train."
A three-year letterwinner at Presentation High School, Sklar picked up 2011 California Gatorade Player of the Year honors after leading the Panthers to the Division II state championship. She totaled 584 kills, an average of 4.6 per game, and amassed 487 digs, 61 blocks and 33 aces as a senior en route to AVCA Under Armour, Max Preps, ESPN Rise and Volleyball Magazine All-America honors her senior season. A Prep Volleyball Senior Ace, she also played for the Vision Volleyball Club, leading the squad to numerous tournament titles.
"Emily brings athleticism and size as well as skill and experience sharpened through her time competing at the highest level of club volleyball," Nagel added. "She is a great team player with extraordinary talent. Emily is capable of becoming a dominant outside hitter for us as we continue to strive for a national championship."
Vucich is a four-year letterwinner and three-time all-conference selection out of Green Hope High School in Morrisville, N.C. A 2011 honorable mention All-America selection and two-time team captain, she totaled 413 kills, 173 assists, 161 digs, 73 blocks and 63 aces as a senior, setting school records in both blocks and aces. A Prep Volleyball Senior Ace, Vucich competed national with the Women's Junior National A2 Team in addition to playing with the Triangle Volleyball Club.
"Christina is a special athlete, a 6-4 left-handed player who is capable of both setting and hitting," said Nagel. "It's been much too long since we've had a lefty in Durham and we welcome this new dimension Christina brings to our team. It's wonderful to welcome a nationally recognized player who is also from the Triangle area."
Williams is a four-year letter winner and three-time all-state selection from Lyons Township High School in Western Springs, Ill. In addition to earning three all-conference nods, Williams also garnered all-area accolades all four seasons. Selected to Prep Volleyball's Dandy Lions list all four years, she amassed 648 digs, 118 aces and 141 blocks her final two seasons. Williams played club volleyball with 1st Alliance Silver, helping the team to a No. 8 national ranking.
"Laura is a wonderful player with a high volleyball IQ and an excellent set of skills," said Nagel. "She has proven her love for the game and has played at the highest level for many years. Laura brings a complete game to our program."
5-11, Outside Hitter
Ashburn, Va. (The Madeira School)
High School: Four-year letterwinner at The Madeira School ... led team to a 29-2 record and the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I state title as a senior, collecting tournament MVP honors ... garnered both AVCA Under Armour First Team All-America and VISAA Division I Player of the Year recognition in 2011 ... named Prep Volleyball Senior Ace ... three-time all-conference pick, securing conference MVP honors her senior season ... 2011 team captain ... twice earned DC All-Metro accolades with a second team selection in 2010 and first team nod in 2011 ... as a senior, recorded 458 kills, 257 digs, 86 service aces and 36 blocks, while posting a hitting percentage of .520 ... also broke her own school record in kills set the previous season ... as a junior, totaled 361 kills, 112 digs and 74 aces ... member of the 2011 Girls' Youth National Team ... played on the 2011 USA Youth National A2 Team ... led Chesapeake High Performance Team to the Girls' Youth Division title at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships in 2010 ... helped VA Elite qualify for nationals with Chesapeake regional crowns as a freshman, sophomore and junior ... invited to USA Youth Holiday Camp in 2010 ... volunteered with Special Olympics D.C. ... member of the Student Council, Community Service Committee, Madeira Snails Athletics Committee and Spanish Club ... completed an internship with Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) in 2010 ... earned High Honors all four years.
Personal: Born Breanna Erin Atkinson on October 2, 1994 in Fairfax City, Va. ... daughter of Ken and Bridget Atkinson ... has a younger brother, Conner ... father was a member of the track and field team at Brigham Young University (1980-85) ... mother played both basketball and softball at Hope College.
6-2, Middle Blocker
Parker, Colo. (Chaparral High School)
High School: Lettered one season at Chaparral High School in Parker, Colo., and three seasons at Wakefield High School in Raleigh, N.C. ... collected first team Continental League and second team AVCA Under Armour All-America honors as a senior ... 2011 All-Colorado Team selection ... led Chaparral to the Colorado Girls' Volleyball 5A State Championship senior year ... four-time academic all-conference choice ... picked up Cap 8 All-Conference and Wakefield team MVP honors as a junior ... named to the Cap 7 all-conference team as both a sophomore and a freshman ... totaled 335 kills, 242 digs, 104 blocks and 89 aces as a senior ... her junior season, averaged 4.3 kills per game, amassing 393 kills, 121 digs, 117 blocks and 98 aces on the year ... played with the Front Range Volleyball Club (Black) ... led club team to first place finish at the 2011 Colorado Crossroads 18 Open and top-three finishes at both the Northern Lights 18 Open and AAU's Women's Volleyball 18 Open ... helped Front Range qualify for nationals with a third place showing at Far Western National Qualifier Tournament ... member of the 2011 USA Girls Youth National A1 Training Team and an alternate for the 2011 USA Girls Youth National Team ... Helped USA Girls Youth National Team to first place at the 2011 High Performance Championships.
Personal: Born Daniela Elizabeth Campbell on April 26, 1994 in Valencia, Venezuela ... daughter of John and Carla Campbell ... has two brothers, Joshua and Frederick, and one sister, Carla.
6-3, Outside Hitter
San Jose, Calif. (Presentation)
High School: Three-year letterwinner at Presentation ... named the 2011 California Gatorade Player of the Year ... garnered AVCA Under Armour, Max Preps, ESPN Rise and Volleyball Magazine All-America honors her senior year ... two-time West Catholic Athletic League MVP and team MVP ... Cal-Hi Sports Player of the Year ... Prep Volleyball Senior Ace ... led Presentation to a 34-1 record and Division II state championship as a senior, picking up tournament MVP honors ... named Mercury News Player of the year her junior and senior seasons ... In her final season, averaged 4.6 kills per game for a total of 584 kills ... also accumulated 487 digs, 61 blocks and 33 aces ... named Division II Player of the Year in 2010 ... earned Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions MVP accolades junior year ... posted 370 kills and 244 digs as a junior ... played for Vision Volleyball Club ... led team to SoCal qualifier title in 17s, placing fifth at Junior National Championships ... In 18s, guided squad to titles at the Las Vegas invitational, Colorado Crossroads, SoCal qualifier and Reno Qualifier ... traveled to Ecuador in 2009 on service learning trip ... coached junior high volleyball ... volunteered at the Second Harvest Food Bank.
Personal: Born Emily Morgan Sklar on November 15, 1994 in San Diego, Calif. ... daughter of Dale and Michelle Sklar ... has one younger sister, Sophia ... father played baseball at the University of Michigan ... grandfather, Stephen Sklar, was a member of the basketball team at the University of Buffalo ... uncle, Paul Griffiths, played football at California State University, Chico.
6-4, Rightside Hitter/Setter
Morrisville, N.C. (Green Hope High School)
High School: Four-year letterwinner at Green Hope High School ... picked up AVCA Under Armour All-America Honorable Mention in 2011 ... listed as one of ESPNHS' top-25 volleyball players in the Class of 2012 ... selected Prep Volleyball Senior Ace ... named to Class of 2012's top-50 recruits, presented by Nfinity ... earned first team all-conference honors as a freshman, junior and senior ... served as team captain her junior and senior seasons, garnering team MVP accolades ... three-time Green Hope Player of the Week senior year ... totaled 413 kills, 173 assists, 161 digs, 96 blocks and 63 aces as a senior, setting school records in blocks and aces ... set the school standards in both kills (771) and kill percentage (.536) ... garnered both Prep Volleyball FROSH 59 and SOPH 79 Highest Honorable Mention accolades ... named a USA Youth Olympic Team alternate, competing at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore ... competed with the Women's Junior National A2 Team in 2010 ... member of the Triangle 18 Black club team, leading the squad to the Junior Nationals 18U Open Division ... helped team to first place at the 2011 Carolina Regional Junior Beach National Qualifier ... placed third at the 2011 USAV National Beach Tour Championships in Chicago ... "A" Honor Roll student all four years ... member of the Spanish Honor Society ... Junior Marshall and National Merit Scholar.
Personal: Born Christina Lynn Vucich on September 8, 1993 in Rockville, Md. ... daughter of Joseph and Lois Vucich ... has two brothers, Derek and Bryant, and a sister, Victoria ... mother played golf both at the University of Alabama (1982-87) and professionally (1987-90).
5-10, Outside Hitter/Defense Specialist
Western Springs, Ill. (Lyons Township High School)
High School: Four-year letterwinner and starter at Lyons Township ... earned both all-state and all-conference honors as a sophomore, junior and senior ... also garnered all-area accolades all four seasons ... named to Chicago Sun-Times' list of area's top-50 volleyball players ... amassed 272 digs, 78 blocks and 53 aces as a senior ... junior season, totaled 376 digs, 65 aces and 63 blocks to go along with a .424 kill percentage ... named to USA Volleyball 17 Open All-Tournament Team ... selected to Prep Volleyball's Dandy Lions list as a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior ... helped club team to a No. 8 national ranking ... member of the Spanish Honor Society as a junior and senior ... National Merit Commended Student ... member of the Astronomy Club ... Honor Roll student all four years.
Personal: Born Laura Kelsey Williams on November 28, 1993 in Chicago, Ill. ... daughter of Robert and Kimberly Williams ... mother played basketball at Adrian College (1983-84).