June 20, 2003

Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina University volleyball head coach Angell Benson has announced six incoming freshman who have all signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Catamounts in 2003. This freshman class includes Meghan Boyle (Ancaster, Ontario), Michaela Jorgensen (Candor, New York), Heather Koontz (Balsam Grove, North Carolina), Danielle Spitzer (Birmingham, Alabama), Kellyn Thaut (Hastings, Nebraska) and Katie Willard (Chicago Heights, Illinois).

Boyle, a 5-9 setter, is a graduate of St. Mary's HS in Hamilton, Ontario. She played for the Hamilton Seekers Volleyball Club (which did not allow its athletes to play high school ball) from 1997-2003. With the Seekers, she averaged 2.1 blocks per game and recorded a .359 attack percentage. Under the direction of coach Frank Lilliman, the team finished as the 1998 and '99 Provincial Champions as well as the Canadian National Champions in 1999 and 2000. Boyle plans to major in Elementary Education upon entering WCU.

Jorgensen, a 5-11 middle blocker, was a co-captain and team MVP during her senior year for her Candor HS Indians. Additionally, in her final year, she was an All-State first team selection, the All-County Player of the Year, the division MVP and an IAC All-Star first team member. Jorgensen played club volleyball for the Kaepa Southern Tier Eagles for three years under head coach Michael Shorkey. In addition to her volleyball experience, she is her school's high jump record holder and was a co-captain of the track and field team her junior year. She was also a cheerleader and served as a captain her senior year and was a two-time MVP. She plans to major in Athletic Training at WCU.

Koontz, a 5-10 outside hitter, is a local product who played for the Rosman HS Tigers, which claimed the 2002 State 1A Championship as well as the Smoky Mountain Conference and Tournament Championships in 2001 and '02. During her senior campaign, she averaged 17.6 kills per game, 2.2 blocks per game and a 94 percent serving percentage. Koontz was the Asheville Citizen-Times and Hendersonville Times-News Player of the Year as a senior as well as a Mountain Amateur Athletic Club Female Athlete of the Year finalist. She was a two-time all-conference selection and received honorable mention recognition her sophomore year. Koontz also played for the Biltmore club volleyball team for three years and competed on her high school's softball and basketball squads.

Spitzer, a 6-0 middle blocker, is a graduate of John Carroll HS in Birmingham where she was an All-State honorable mention selection as well as a Birmingham News Player of the Week. Her high school squad reached the Class 6A semifinals in 2001. Spitzer played club ball for the Birmingham Volleyball Club under Tien Le. She plans to major in Biology at Western.

Thaut, a 5-9 outside hitter, is a 2003 graduate of Hastings HS where she was a four-year varsity letter-winner for the Lady Tigers. She was a two-time All-State second team selection as well as a two-time all-conference member, two-time All-Tribland first team pick and a two-time Tribland Player of the Year. Thaut received All-State honorable mention recognition during her sophomore year in addition to All-Tribland honorable mention. She was also a two-time all-conference selection with her school's basketball and soccer teams. Thaut played club volleyball for seven years for the South Central Juniors, Nebraska Juniors and Lincoln Juniors.

Willard, a 5-7 setter, played for Marian Catholic HS in Chicago Heights for a program which is steeped in excellent tradition. In her graduating class alone, there were several players who will be going on to play at the Division I level this fall. Willard ran the squad's offense during her senior year with Marian Catholic. She additionally played for the Chicago Blast Junior Olympic club team.

"This is an outstanding freshman class and I expect them to contribute immediately," said Benson. "They are a very talented and diverse group, and I think they will fit in well with our program."