Nov. 13, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern head volleyball coach Keylor Chan announced the signing of three new Wildcats to National Letters of Intent Wednesday. Symone Abbott (Northville, Mich./Northville), Gabrielle Hazen (Columbia City, Ind./Columbia City) and Taylor Tashima (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) will all join the program for the 2014 campaign.
"We're so thrilled to welcome Symone, Gabrielle and Taylor to our Northwestern volleyball family," said Chan. "All three of these young women embody so many of the qualities that are important to possess in order to succeed on the court, in the classroom and beyond. All three have the potential to jump in here and become critical contributors for the 'Cats right away.
"A tremendous amount of hard work went into bringing these three talented young women into our program," added Chan. "I would like to thank our associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, Kirstine Jensen, and our entire staff for their tireless efforts in making this a truly special day."
Abbott is a four-year letterwinner and team captain from Northville High School in Northville, Mich. The outside hitter is the program's all-time leader in kills with 682 this season to date. Abbott is a two-time All-Region selection and she was an All-State honoree in Michigan in 2012. The future journalism major was rated by the Detroit News as one of the top 10 players in the state prior to this season.
Abbott's senior season is still currently underway. Sixth-ranked Northville H.S. defeated Fenton last night in straight sets to advance to the regional finals against Lakeland tomorrow evening. Abbott tallied 15 kills and four aces in her team's win Tuesday.
Hazen comes to Northwestern by way of Columbia City, Ind. where she was a three-year letterwinner at Columbia City High School. As a middle blocker, Hazen has led the Lady Eagles in both kills and blocks in each of the past three seasons. During her senior season alone, the 6-foot-3 Hazen connected for 364 kills and 75 blocks as she helped Columbia City to 25 wins in 31 matches. The Indiana Elite All-Star has collected First Team All-Northeast Hoosier Conference accolades in each of the last two seasons.
Hazen, who is featured on this year's PrepVolleyball.com Top 150 Senior Aces list, also played on the USA Volleyball HP A1 Team, a squad that won a gold medal.
Tashima is a local product that has prepped at nearby New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill. The setter was recently tabbed the Central Suburban South Conference and the Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year. She has helped the Trevians reach the IHSA Class 4A semifinals for the second year in a row, where they will face Mother McAuley High School this Friday at 9 p.m. in Normal, Ill. Last season. Tashima and New Trier finished as runners-up in the state tournament.
The 6-foot setter was ranked as the No. 11 Senior Ace by PrepVolleyball.com and was named to the 2013 MaxPreps.com Volleyball Player of the Year Watch list.
Tashima brings a wealth of national team experience to Evanston, as well. She served as the team captain for both the 2012 and 2013 USA Girls' Youth National Team. The 2012 squad captured gold at NORECA in Mexico and placed fourth at the European Global Challenge in Croatia. The 2013 team won silver at the World Championships in Thailand, earning the first-ever medal secured by either a U.S. boys or girls team at either the youth or junior level.
|Coach Chan on Class of 2014|
Complete bios for each of the three signees follow:
6-1 - Outside Hitter
High School: Four-year letterwinner at Northville High School ... Team captain ... Helped the Mustangs secure back-to-back district championships in 2012 and 2013 ... Helped the team reach the semifinals of the state tournament in 2012 ... 2012 All-State selection ... Two-time All-Region honoree ... Ranked by the Detroit News as one of the top 10 players in Michigan in 2013 ... Northville's all-time leader in kills ... Plays club with Premier Volleyball Academy ... Also lettered in track and field.
Personal: Daughter of Krystal and Anthony Abbott ... One of five children ... Grandfather, Art, received Masters in Audiology from NU in 1966 ... Chose Northwestern over Georgia Tech, Central Michigan and Florida International ... Anticipated major is journalism.
6-3 - Middle Blocker
Columbia City, Ind./Columbia City
High School: Three-year letterwinner at Columbia City High School ... Led the Lady Eagles in both kills and blocks in each of her final three seasons ... Helped team win 58 matches in three years ... Registered 364 kills and 75 blocks in senior campaign ... Named to PrepVolleyball.com Top 150 Senior Aces list ... Captured a gold medal with the USA Volleyball HP A1 team ... Three-time All-Northeast Hoosier Conference honoree ... First Team All-Area in 2013 ... Indiana Elite All-Star ... Played in the ICGSA North/South All-Star Game in 2012 and 2013 ... Also played with Fort Wayne Volleyball Club ... Helped team win 2011 Bracket championship at AAU Junior Nationals ... Academic All-State honorable mention ... National Honor Society member.
Personal: Daughter of Dave and Kathleen Hazen ... One of four children ... Chose Northwestern over Wisconsin, Ohio and others ... Anticipated major is biological sciences.
6-0 - Setter
Wilmette, Ill./New Trier
High School: Four-year letterwinner and two-year captain at New Trier High School ... Helped Trevians finish 39-2 and as IHSA Class 4A runners-up in 2012 ... 2013 Central Suburban League South Player of the Year ... 2013 Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year ... Ranked No. 11 Senior Ace by PrepVolleyball.com ... 2013 MaxPreps.com Volleyball Player of the Year Watch List ... Has extensive international playing experience ... Served as team captain for 2013 USA Girls' Youth National Team that won a silver medal at the World Championships in Thailand ... Also captained 2012 USA squad that won gold at NORECA in Mexico and a fourth-place finish in Croatia at the European Global Challenge ... Played club with Wildcat Juniors VBC ... Member of Spanish National Honor Society ... Honor Roll student ... Reading and Writing Center tutor.
Personal: Daughter of Jennifer and Paul Tashima ... Mother, Jennifer, was a three-time MVP of Dickinson College's track team ... Father, Paul, played professional beach volleyball ... Chose Northwestern over Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina and Marquette ... Anticipated major is economics.
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