Nov. 18, 2013
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - University of Michigan head volleyball coach Mark Rosen announced today (Monday, Nov. 18) the signing of Claire Kieffer-Wright (South Pasadena, Calif./South Pasadena), Caroline Knop (Pasadena, Calif./LaSalle), Adeja Lambert (Rockford, Ill./Keith Country Day) and Katherine Mahlke (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove North) to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period.
"I think it's a really strong class," Rosen said. "It's a very athletic class and I think it's going to bring some great athletic components. But they're also very competitive and very bonded. This class, somehow, connected very well through the recruiting process. Maybe because two of them were teammates in club, that helped. I know that they have already talked as a group about the things they want to bring to the program and the things that they want to achieve while they are here and experiences they want to have as a class. Last year, when we went on that Final Four run, they were right there. Two of them were at the regional finals watching us play. The connection they had with our team even two years ahead of time, before they came here, was great. They have a high ambition, but they also have high abilities and that's a great combination to have."
Kieffer-Wright, a 6-foot-1 middle blocker, was named an Under Armour Second Team All-American her senior season at South Pasadena High School in South Pasadena, Calif. She was named the No. 24 Senior Ace and a Top 50 Junior Recruit by Prepvolleyball.com. She helped the Tigers to a Rio Hondo League championship for the first time in 31 years and a berth in the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section 2AA playoffs. Kieffer-Wright was named Most Valuable Player of the Arcadia Volleyball Invitational and was named to the Crescenta Valley All-Tournament team in 2013. As a junior, she was named to the Pasadena Star News and the San Gabriel All-Area first teams and helped the Tigers to the CIF playoffs. Kieffer-Wright earned All-Rio Hondo League first team honors as a sophomore and second team accolades as a freshman. She plays club volleyball for San Gabriel Elite and played on the first travel team from 2009-14. Kieffer-Wright was on the All-Tournament team and helped her club to a third-place finish in the 17s open division at the USA Junior Nationals in 2012. Kieffer-Wright also competes in track and field at South Pasadena and was the CIF Division 3AA high jump champion and the Star News Female Athlete of the Year as a junior. She finished third in the USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships and fourth in the Junior Pan Am Games in the high jump in 2013.
Knop, a 5-8 defensive specialist, helped LaSalle High School in Pasadena, Calif., to league championships all four years and a CIF Southern Section Division 1A championship her junior season. Her team currently is in the Division 1A playoffs. Knop was a MaxPreps All-California first team selection in 2012 and an All-Area first team honoree by the Pasadena Star News. She was named the No. 59 Senior Ace and a Defensive Dandies second team her sophomore year by Prepvolleyball.com. Knop was named an All-Area first team selection by the San Gabriel Valley Newspapers in 2011 and has played in the San Gabriel Private vs. Public All-Star Game her sophomore and junior years. Knop plays four sports (volleyball, basketball, softball and golf) at LaSalle, earning all-area honors in softball (first team) and basketball (second team) and second team all-league honors in golf her junior season. Knop played club volleyball with Keiffer-Wright at San Gabriel Elite and was a captain of the bronze medalist team at the USA Volleyball Junior National Championships in 2013. Knop is a member of LaSalle's National Honor Society.
Lambert, a 6-2 outside hitter, helped Keith Country Day High School in Rockford, Ill., to back-to-back state championships as a junior and a senior. She is the No. 42 Senior Ace and was a Top 50 player her first three seasons by Prepvolleyball.com. Lambert was named to the All-St. Viator Tournament team this season and guided Keith Country Day to a conference title in 2013. Lambert plays club volleyball for Fusion and was an AAU All-American in 2012. She helped her team to an AAU national championship in the 16 open division and a third-place finish in the AAU Nationals as a freshman. Lambert is an Honor Roll student and started Keith Country Day's M.D. Club.
Mahlke, a 6-2 opposite, was a four-year letterwinner for Downers Grove North High School in Downers Grove, Ill. She was a team captain as a senior and helped the Trojans to a sectional semifinal berth and a regional championship. Mahlke was named the No. 68 Senior Ace by Prepvolleyball.com and was a Top Junior Recruit and a High Honorable Mention as a sophomore by the website. She was named to the All-Area team by the Daily Herald, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Downers Grove Reporter and Voyager Media and was a Sun-Times Athlete of the Month nominee and one of its Top 50 players. As a junior, Mahlke was named as one of 30 "Underclassmen to Watch" by Volleyball Magazine and earned all-area honors from the Daily Herald and Voyager Media as well as All-West Suburban Silver Conference accolades. Mahlke played club volleyball for Lions Juniors and 1st Alliance, helping the latter to second-place finishes at the JVA World Challenge and the Spring Classic Extravaganza and a trip to the USA Volleyball nationals in Dallas, Texas. Mahlke has been on the High Honor Roll each of her four years at Downers Grove North and is currently a member of the National Honor Society.
Michigan returns to Cliff Keen Arena to start a three-match homestand this Friday (Nov. 22) against Minnesota. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Mark Rosen
On Claire Kieffer-Wright ... "I think Claire is a really unique recruit for us because she is somebody who comes with a really high level of athleticism. Being a multi-sport athlete, she is somebody who can high jump at a world class level and at the same time be a really, really good volleyball player and really committed to volleyball. It is exciting to have somebody like that, who comes in and her skill set from high jumping is that she's a jumper, she's a big jumper but she's really good off one foot because that's the skill in our sport. When we see her play in the middle, her biggest strength is being able to accelerate and elevate off of one foot on a slide attack. She's really fast, everything she does, a whip of an arm swing, she gets off the floor really fast. She just has a lot of speed. I am very excited about those kinds of athletic components but then she's also a great competitor. She is somebody who we stumbled upon recruiting for the first time back when she was a sophomore. I remember being awed by her athleticism and her competitiveness and it was exciting to see her play and now to think that three years later she is coming to our program."
On Caroline Knop ... " CK is actually the reason we stumbled upon Claire, we were going to watch her play. You can't take your eyes off her when you watch her play. She's excitingly athletic, she just plays with so much athleticism. But also her personality, her competitiveness and her bravado is really captivating. She's one of those players that people hate to play against, but then as they get a chance to play with her they love playing with her because she is so passionate and fiery and she wears everything on the outside. She is somebody who is so excited to be at Michigan and she's going to make our program better just because of that excitement. She's a great addition not only physically, athletically, but personality wise. She's going to be a huge impact."
On Adeja Lambert ... "Adeja's a great talent. She's a really talented kid who is an elite athlete. She's a big physical outsider hitter who can terminate like crazy and I think has a huge upside. She is somebody who can continually get better and better. She has the potential to be a six-rotation player. She needs to work on all those things but I think she has the potential to be a passer and a defender but then in the front row be a dominating blocker and attacker. So we are very excited about her addition to our program. I think she's going to fit in with this class really well."
On Katherine Mahlke ... " Katherine's funny, you look at her physically and she doesn't look overly big, she doesn't look overly physical, and then you watch her play and she's got a big jump and a heavy arm. She's got a heavy, heavy arm and being a lefty makes her a little unique that way. As an opposite, as a right side player, I think she has the potential to be dominating and yet you look at her and she doesn't look like a dominating presence. That's what's great about her. And that's not just as an athlete too, as a person, she is highly academic, high motivated in academics and athletics and just a really good kid and a good person. So there is so much more to her than what the surface shows, which I think is awesome. As a coach, we want to recruit people who have great upside and maybe there are some layers to them that other people don't see."
Contact: Kent Reichert (734) 763-4423