NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Coming off a Big West championship season and a second round appearance in the NCAA Tournament, Cal State Northridge women's volleyball has added an impressive recruiting class for the 2014 season.
Co-Big West Coach of the Year Jeff Stork has announced the signing of Lauren Conati (Scottsdale, Ariz./Horizon HS), Nada Dragovic (Zemun, Serbia/Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary HS), Brianna Johnson (Irvine, Calif./Irvine HS) and Katie Sato (Calabasas, Calif./Agoura HS) to National Letters of Intent.
"We are extremely happy with the four incoming 2014 student athletes," said Stork. "Each possess the character and abilities our coaching staff is looking for to make our team better. All four have demonstrated a high level of success and commitment to their respective high school and club teams. Lauren, Brianna, Nada and Katie will make our team better and we are looking forward to having them in our gym, as well as helping them earn a meaningful degree."
Conati, a 6-1 setter from Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., is coming off a 2013 season in which she was named Division I first team in Arizona. The 2013 team MVP, she led the Huskies to the state Final Four and a Division I Sectional championship. She posted 987 assists and 53 aces as a senior. In 2012, she helped her team to a 48-3 record and the state championship. Also setting for the USA High Performance Club team, her squad finished third in the National Division at the Junior National Qualifier in Dallas, Texas.
"Lauren can compete at a very high level," said Stork. "Whether in high school or club, Lauren has proven over and over that she is a winner. To combine these qualities with the setting position is a hugh plus and she will fit very well into our system of play."
Dragovic, a 6-2 outside hitter who hails from Zemun, Serbia, prepped at Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School in Montebello, Calif. She was a three-time All-State honoree as well as a two-time Most Valuable Player (2012, 2013). In earning all-league and all-city accolades as a senior in 2013, Dragovic pounded 475 kills while hitting .475 on the season. The Cardinals finished 23-6 under coach Jessica Bakkers in 2013.
"Nada has a tremendous all-around ability and an outstanding volleyball IQ," said Stork. "She also brings a great appreciation for the opportunities she is given and has earned, which makes her a consummate team player. Because of her abilities and understanding, we can utilize those talents in a variety of ways. It is always great to have players who are multi-faceted."
Johnson, a 5-11 middle blocker from Irvine High School in Irvine, Calif. is the third member of the 2014 recruiting class. Johnson played both middle blocker and outside hitter for the Vaqueros earning second team All-Pacific Coast League honors in 2012 and 2013. She was also named to All-Tournament at the 2013 Junior Olympics while playing for Saddleback Valley Volleyball Club. Johnson comes from an athletic family, her father Frank played collegiate baskteball at the University of Oregon.
"Brianna is a dominate player at the net and is working very hard on her back court skills," said Stork. "Each year we have watched her, she has been given more and more responsibility from her coaches. She is quick learner and has a very high upside. Brianna will fit well into our current systems and I look forward to developing her skills."
Sato, a 5-6 libero/defensive specialist from Agoura High School in Agoura Hills, Calif, is the fourth member of the 2014 class. She was a three-time team Most Valuable Player for the Chargers (2011-2013) and earned first team All-Marmonte League honors in 2011 and 2013. As an outside hitter, Sato helped Agoura HS to 41 wins over the 2012 and 2013 seasons under coach Brock Redmond. She comes from a volleyball family as her father Gary coached the U.S. 1985 World Cup gold winning team and was also an assistant coach at the 1988, 1992, 2012 Olympic Games. Her aunt, Liane Sato and uncle Eric Sato also played for their respective U.S. National Teams.
"I have known Katie for a very long time as her father coached me," said Stork. "She has grown up in the sport, which gives her a unique understanding of volleyball. She anticipates and reads the game extremely quickly and because of these skills, Katie will make plays that will make a difference throughout a point, set and match."
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