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Volleyball Inks Four for 2011 Season
Head Coach Ian Blanchard
BALTIMORE—UMBC volleyball head coach Ian Blanchard announced today that Megan Groess, Tanaeri Santiago, Hannah Schmidt and Dalton Tolliver have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Retrievers in 2011.
“This is the most physical class that we’ve brought in since I’ve been here,” Blanchard said. “The beautiful thing about this class is that even though they are physical, they will still help us improve in terms of speed and ball control, two things we thrive on.”
Groess, a 6-0 outside hitter from Encinitas, Calif., helped lead her club team, Wave Volleyball Club, to gold at the 2009 U.S. Junior Olympics in the National Division. She also helped La Costa Canyon High School to the 2008 California Division 1 State Championship, as well as the 2008-10 Avocado League and San Diego CIF crowns. Also an excellent student, Groess was named to the San Diego Union Tribune All-Academic Team.
“We’re really excited about Megan because she brings great experience playing for a perennially nationally ranked high school in La Costa Canyon and playing for an outstanding club team in Wave Volleyball Club,” the coach said. “We love the combination of size and skill with the experience and it should make it easier for her to make the transition to collegiate volleyball.”
Santiago, a 5-8 outside hitter from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, earned gold at the 2010 AAU Junior Olympic Beach Volleyball 18-and-Under National Championships as well the 2010 Puerto Rico 18-and-Under Beach National Championships. Named Most Valuable Player of her high school, American Military Academy, as well as a Puerto Rico High School Athletic Alliance All-Star all four years in high school. Helped lead Borinquen Gardens Coqui to the silver medal at the 2010 Philadelphia Invitational Tournament.
“Tany comes to us with a wealth of experience being coached by the Youth National Team coaching staff and has a great volleyball IQ,” Blanchard said. “She’s a smooth player, has a high level of athleticism and is a very hard worker.”
Schmidt, a 6-0 outside hitter from Catonsville, Md., helped lead Mount de Sales to three straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Division Championships from 2008-10 and was named an IAAM A Division All-Star in 2009 and 2010. Also led Sailors to back-to-back North Caroline Bulldog Classic crowns in 2009 and 2010 and was named the Best Attacker of the 2010 Capitol Hill Classic. A pre-season AVCA All-American Player to Watch in 2010 and Baltimore Sun Player to Watch in both 2009 and 2010, Schmidt is a member of the National and National English honor societies and is a Maryland Distinguished Scholar Honorable Mention.
“Hannah has earned the first full scholarship that we’ve given out to a Maryland player since I’ve been here,” the coach said. “She is the most physical incoming freshman we’ve ever had and is a complete volleyball player - being able to hit all across the front row, is a formidable blocker and has great ball control. We are extremely excited to have her join us in next Fall.”
Tolliver, a 6-1 outside and middle hitter from Pontiac, Mich., was named to the 2010 All-Michigan First Team, as well as earning All-Academic All-Michigan, All-County First Team, Michigan All-League and Michigan All-Catholic honors. She was honored on the 2010 American Volleyball Coaches Association Under Armour All-American Honorable Mention Team and was selected as one of the MaxPreps/AVCA High School Players of the Week, for the week of Sept. 27, 2010. Tolliver also earned All-Academic All-Michigan, as well as All-Michigan Honorable Mention, Michigan All-League and Michigan All-Catholic honors as a junior.
“Dalton has a extraordinary arm and has a high level of versatility across the front row,” Blanchard said. “She has a great attitude, is a very good blocker and is excited about the prospect of facing her sister (Destiny) at New Hampshire.”
The Retrievers reached the America East Championship game for the second time under Blanchard in 2010 and will return six of seven starters for 2011.