Mesa State’s Fleming stocks volleyball recruiting class with solid athletes

When volleyball season ended last fall, Mesa State College lost a lot of offensive firepower.

Coach Dave Fleming hopes he’s found more in his 2010 recruiting class.

“Even though we graduated all of our pin hitters, Kelly Regimbal was pushing Bria (Lovato) to play and Meagan Bosch could have started at almost any school, she was just behind Tessa (Andrews),” Fleming said. “We’ve got good kids coming back and we’ll be solid in the middle.”

The Mavs lost four-year standout Ali Tompkins and Lovato at outside hitter and Andrews on the right side, as well as libero Meredith Dolny.

Fleming, though, signed five high school players and added a junior college transfer at the semester break to go along with a dozen returning players.

Celest Alofipo, a 5-foot-10 outside hitter who was at Sheridan Junior College, was on an extended tryout this spring and was added to the roster.

Four of the five prep players signed can or have played outside hitter, and most have a secondary position.

Central High School’s Haleigh Higgins was an outside hitter until her senior year, when she moved to setter for the Warriors. The 5-11 Southwestern League player of the year could push for playing time right away, depending on her position.

“Haleigh can play, we just have to figure out where,” Fleming said. “If she decides to set, it’s going to be tough to beat T (Tara King) out, but she could be our second setter. I think she’s a lot like T, who was a multi-sport athlete in high school and never really had a lot of setter training in club ball.

“If either T or Haleigh had played at a high level in club as a setter, we wouldn’t have had a shot at them; they probably would have gone Division I.”

Fleming signed two other Colorado products, Krista Hilverding (Pomona High School) and Kelley Johnson (Fossil Ridge). Hilverding is a 6-footer who can play anywhere along the front line, but is coming off ACL knee surgery in February.

“She’s a big, strong, physical kid,” Fleming said. “She’s mostly been a middle and switched to outside this year. If she’s healthy she could push to play any position.

“Sometimes you need that year and a half (coming off knee surgery). We’ll wait and see. If she’s one of the best in the gym in August, she’ll play. If she needs the year (to get healthy), we’ll give her the year.”

Johnson is the tallest of the recruiting class at 6-2. The middle blocker could be in the mix to rotate in the middle with Antoinette McCormick and Lindsey (Jefferson) Reed, who had ankle surgery two months ago, but should be ready by August.

Sarah Kemp, a 6-foot outside hitter from Bellevue, Neb., got interest from Division I teams.

“I think we were pretty lucky to get her,” Fleming said. “She can play volleyball. She’s played at a high level for a long time.”

Rebecca Sellers is a 6-1 outside/right-side hitter from Medford, Ore., who Fleming said could be another impact player early in her career. Fleming credits campus improvements in landing the new players, all of whom were on at least one all-state team.

“If you get a kid on campus, they’re going to be interested,” Fleming said. “Sellers wasn’t sure she was interested, and I told her, ‘Just come to campus.’ Once she got here she was very interested, and Grand Junction sells itself.”


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