Volleyball Welcomes Class of 2018

PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania’s Kenneth L. Gross Head Coach of Volleyball, Kerry Carr, has announced her recruiting class for the 2014 season. Six women will join the Quakers in August as members of the Class of 2018.

“Collectively, this group of recruits has a chance to make an immediate impact on our young 2014 team. With the improvements the current players have been making in the off-season, and the wide variety of talent coming onto the team in August, I’m excited to make our run at the 2014 Ivy League Championship.”

Despite losing three seniors to graduation – Kristen Etterbeek, Dani Shepherd, and Susan Stuecheli – the Red and Blue return ten letterwinners, two of which earned second-team All-Ivy recognition in 2013 (Alex Caldwell and Alexis Genske).

Meet the Class of 2018.

Kendall Covington – Middle Blocker, 5’11”, Houston, Texas (Katy Taylor/Houston Skyline)

Following in the footsteps of her older siblings, Kendall Covington committed to an Ivy League institution; her sister, Morgan, was an impact volleyball starter at Dartmouth and her brother, Evan, attended Harvard. Covington, a volleyball senior captain and double varsity athlete at Katy Taylor, comes to Penn from a volleyball team that placed fourth in D5A Region 3 District 19 this past year. A first-team All-District (2012) and three-time Academic All-District (2010, ‘11, ‘12), she was named to the 19-5A Academic All-District and All-State teams, and then named 19-5A MVP. Covington was named Female School Winner of Katy Taylor in the Wendy's High School Heisman Award program and was also named Katy Taylor MVP two times (2012, ‘13). She also received the Skyline Award and Top 5 Middle Blockers Award. In 2012, Covington was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Phenom List and Prepvolleyball.com’s Soph 79 list, and also earned the title of MVP.

Coach Carr on Covington: “Kendall is one of the most athletic middle-blocker recruits in the nation’s 2014 recruiting class. She is most impressive when she gets her head and shoulders above the net when she jumps! A highly touted recruit from Texas, I expect Kendall will make an immediate impact in our gym.”

Emily Friedler – Libero, 5’4”, Chicago, Ill. (New Trier/Sky High Jrs)

Selected to play varsity as a sophomore, Emily Friedler comes to Penn from Chicago’s New Trier High School. Starting at libero, Friedler’s teams were runner-up (2012) and semifinalist (2013) in the 4A state volleyball championships. She earned All-Conference honors her junior year, and was a part of a team that broke school records for wins (39-2) and best start/longest undefeated streak in program history (30-0). Her club team last year, Wildcat Juniors, finished 13th in the nation in Open Division at AAU Nationals. Aside from volleyball, Friedler is the record-holder for heaviest female weight lifter (in the max squat) in New Trier history – 2 reps at 255lbs.

Coach Carr on Friedler: “Emmy has always been academically minded, but also applied that same perfectionism to her play as a libero. She is quick and has an incredible ability to read the ball before it comes over the net. She has good anticipation skills and rushes to cover her hitters in good positions. I expect her to be in position to compete for the starting libero spot vacated by All-American Dani Shepherd.”

Morgan McKeever – Outside Hitter, 6’, San Francisco, Calif. (Burlingame/City Beach)

Named first-team All-League (2012) and second-team All-League (2011), Morgan McKeever was named Burlingame High School varsity volleyball captain as a senior. Outside of high school volleyball, McKeever previously played with the top City Beach and Vision club teams. McKeever’s club team had top 5 finishes at Las Vegas Classic Showcase (2013) and Spokane Qualifier (2012) as well as top 20 finishes in various Junior Olympic Open events. She was selected to the Junior Olympics USAV camp and played in the USAV Holiday Invitational in Colorado Springs.

Coach Carr on McKeever: “Morgan’s ball control is amazingly good for a 6'+ outside hitter, and as an offensive attacker, she nails the 2 set in the middle straight down. I would consider her one of the top outside hitters in Northern California, a strong volleyball area. She could help us with passing, hitting, and defense, while being a consistent back row attack.”

Hayley Molnar – Outside/Rightside Hitter, 6’, Arlington, Va. (Yorktown/Virginia Elite)

A basketball player turned volleyball player, Hayley Molnar quickly grew to love volleyball, earning All-Met Honorable Mention, second-team All-Region, and first-team All-District in 2012. She also earned All-District in 2012 for basketball. In 2011, Molnar was All-District Honorable Mention. MVP in 2012, Molnar also was awarded Best Attacker Capitol Hill.

Coach Carr on Molnar: “Hayley is a late bloomer in the volleyball world. Originally a basketball stud, she fell in love with volleyball her junior year. She has played almost every position, but where she shines is as an outside or right side pin hitter. By playing with one of the best clubs in the DC area, Virgina Elite, she is progressing exponentially every time I watch her play. Hayley is a huge competitor and will be a driving force on and off the court for our team.”

Sydney Morton – Setter, 5’10”, Atlanta, Ga. (Woodward Academy/A5)

Named AAA Player of the Year in Georgia as a junior, Sydney Morton’s high school team was ranked seventh in Georgia by MaxPreps. A GVCA Senior All-Star, she helped lead Woodward Academy to a Region Championship (2013). A three-time All-State player and 2012 All-State Player of the Year, Morton helped her team to the AA semifinals (2013), two AAA semifinals (2011, 12), and the AAA state title (2010) in high school. A two-time first-team All-Area (2011, 12) and 2012 All-Area Player of the Year, Morton was also a two-time high school MVP (2011, 12), and was noted on PrepVolleyball.com’s Sophomore 79 list. Morton was also named to the All-Tournament team at the USAV American National Championships.

Coach Carr on Morton: “Sydney is a strong setter out of the Atlanta club A5. She is 5’10”, which is tall by a setter’s standards, and a lefty, which is a huge advantage in her position. She showed huge leadership ability when she was placed as the setter and captain on an older-aged club her junior year, which is very hard to do. Yet she had no problems running the systems and demanding the best out of her teammates. She is truly a diamond, both academically and athletically, and should help our team grow more competitive immediately.”

Aimee Stephenson – Outside/Rightside Hitter, 6’1”, San Diego, Calif. (Torrey Pines/Coast)

Previously described by PrepVolleyball.com as “one of Division I’s most hotly sought after recruits,” Aimee Stephenson hails from Torrey Pines High School, where the volleyball team has won the state championship the last three years. Stephenson’s high school team’s national rank was as high as 10th and her team’s California rank was 5th, according to Maxpreps (2013). Her high school team reached the DI quarterfinals this past season, won the Durango Fall Classic two years in a row, and won the CIF and league championships. Stephenson is a three-time scholar athlete and received the AP Scholar Award. Stephenson played with Wave’s club team last year, before switching to Coast, and won the 2013 SoCal qualifier.

Coach Carr on Stephenson: “Aimee can play in a variety of positions, since she has played outside, middle and right side positions all very effectively. She will complement our diverse recruiting class, but will also most provide depth and be able to challenge on the outside or right-side hitting positions immediately.”