Wolverines Sign Trio to NLIs in Early Period

Nov. 15, 2009

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan volleyball head coach Mark Rosen announced the signings of three high school standouts to National Letters of Intent during the November early signing period. Middle Blocker Jennifer Cross (Scarborough, Ontario/Birchmount Park Collegiate), outside hitter Lexi Erwin (Spring, Texas/Woodlands College Park) and outside hitter Molly Toon (Middleton, Wis./Middleton) will don the Maize and Blue in 2010.

"We couldn't be happier about the group we have coming in," said Rosen. "I think that Amanda (assistant coach Amanda Ault) did a great job of recognizing the areas we needed and filling those areas with great kids who are great volleyball players. We are graduating four seniors and we believe that these three can step in and make an impact to fill those voids."

Cross, a 6-4 middle blocker, becomes the first Canadian import for Michigan in the Rosen era. A 2008 member of the Canadian Junior National team, she was named Birchmount Park Collegiate Institute's Female Athlete of the Year three times while earning volleyball MVP honors. Cross helped lead her squad to three Toronto city championships and a pair of OFSAA Silver Medal awards. Cross is also a standout on both the club and beach scene in Canada, leading the Durham Attack U18 Black indoor club team to gold medalist status at the 2008/09 Tier 1 Nationals while earning tournament MVP honors. Cross has also represented her country on the Canadian Beach National Team at the U21 World Beach Tournament.

"Jen brings the full package with her to Michigan," stated Rosen. "She has great size, is very athletic, fast, has a quick arm and is very mobile. She has all those things going for her and the part I am most excited about is she still has a ton of room to get better. When it is all said and done, Jen has a shot to become an elite player at her position."

Erwin, a 6-1 outside hitter, is the first Texan to sign with the Wolverines. A three-year letterwinner at Woodlands College Park High School, Erwin eclipsed 1,000 career kills as a senior and is ranked No. 53 on Prep Volleyball Magazine's Senior Aces list. A two-time team MVP, Erwin helped lead the Cavaliers to back-to-back district championships and the 2009 Region II 5A quarterfinals for the first time in school history. Erwin finished her senior campaign with 471 kills, 441 digs and 43 blocks.

"Lexi reminds me of some of our great all-around players of the past," Rosen said. "She is a six-rotation player who is great all the way around the court. She also brings great intangibles to the team. She is a great kid from a great family and a great student. She really fits the mold of what we look for."

Toon, a 6-0 outside hitter, is a four-year letterwinner at Middleton High School. The daughter of former Wisconsin and NFL great Al Toon and sister of Wisconsin freshman volleyball standout Kirby and football wide receiver Nick, comes to the Wolverines after earning second team all-state honors while compiling 452 kills, 377 digs and 47 blocks as a senior. Toon helped lead her squad to the state tournament and a fourth-place finish while earning first team all-tournament honors. Toon finished her prep career with 963 kills and 641 digs. Toon was also a member of the 2007 USA Junior Olympic 15U team, earning all-tournament honors.

"Molly is maturing really well right now," Rosen said. "In the last year, she has really come around both physically and mentally as a volleyball player. She is very athletic and an extremely physical player. I think she is just scratching the surface of how good she can be, which is great news for us."

Michigan next takes on Michigan State in a Wednesday night (Nov. 18) clash televised nationally on the Big Ten Network before hosting Minnesota (Fri., Nov. 20) in the final regular-season home match of the year.

Michigan Volleyball Early Signees (as of 11/12/09)

Name Pos. Ht. Hometown (High School)
Jennifer Cross MB 6-4 Scarborough, Ontario (Birchmount Park Collegiate)
Lexi Erwin OH 6-1 Spring, Texas (Woodlands College Park)
Molly Toon OH 6-0 Middleton, Wis. (Middleton)

Contact: Matt Fancett (734) 763-4423


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