Nov. 15, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern head coach Keylor Chan announced Thursday the signing of three student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. Kayla Morin, Maddie Slater and Rafae Strobos will join the program as the Class of 2017.
"We are thrilled to be welcoming Kayla, Maddie, and Rafae to the Northwestern Volleyball Family," said Chan. "During the recruiting process we were looking for a very particular student-athlete. We value talent, character, and the inner drive of constant self-improvement. I believe all three demonstrate these qualities and will help carry the torch of Northwestern Volleyball during their careers."
Morin will come to Evanston in the fall by way of Portage, Mich. She was a three-year letterwinner and starter for the Portage Northern Huskies. Morin, who spent time as an outside hitter, an opposite and a setter, was named to the All-Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference (SMAC) team, the All-Region Team and was picked as a Second Team All-State selection following her junior season in 2011.
The Michigan native also enjoyed a standout sophomore campaign in which she collected All-SMAC, All-Region and Third Team All-State. Morin was chosen as the team MVP for the Huskies in both seasons.
On the club circuit Morin played for Dead Frog (DFFO). She was also a key member of the USA Women's Junior National Team that won the High Performance Championships and went on to capture a third-place finish at the NORCECA Championships in Managua, Nicaragua. Morin was also a PrepVolleyball.com Top Senior Ace and she achieved highest Honor Roll in all four years at Portage Northern.
"Kayla is a tremendous student-athlete with the background and training necessary to compete for playing time immediately," said Chan. "We believe she has the talent to play in all six rotations and impact the game in many ways. Her time with Junior National team and an elite club will help her compete immediately."
Slater is one of two signees hailing from the Lone Star State. A three-year letterwinner at middle blocker for The Woodlands High School in The Woodlands, Texas, Slater was named to the 2012 Greater Houston Volleyball Coaches Association/VYPE Top 30 list, the 2012 Under Armour Coaches watch list and the PrepVolleyball.com Senior Aces list.
A team captain, Slater helped the Lady Highlanders to the Region II-5A semifinals and a No. 3 ranking in the state. Slater's team became the first in program history to sweep every opponent in league play and just the second to finish the year unbeaten in district play.
Slater plays club volleyball for Asics Willowbrook, a team with which she finished second at Junior Nationals. She is also a standout in the classroom with three consecutive Academic All-District honors to her credit.
"Maddie is a model of the Big Ten middle blockers," said Chan. "She has the height, speed, and strength to control the net defensively and is dynamic enough to score against defenses. I see Maddie challenging our current middles in her first year at Northwestern. We are very excited about her and believe she will find court time early in her career."
Strobos hails from Canyon High School in New Braunfels, Texas. She was named to the AVCA Under Armour All-America team and she helped the Cougarettes to a 38-8 record in 2012 and a trip to the bid district finals. In 2011, Strobos' squad won 39 contests and the District championship.
In 2011 Strobos received numerous accolades including: All-State, All-Comal County, District MVP and First Team All-District. The outside hitter led the region with 632 kills, or 4.72 per set. Over the last two seasons Strobos amassed more than 1,000 kills and 600 digs.
Strobos' club team, Austin Juniors, qualified for the Junior Olympics in the National Division. The native Texan is an Academic All-American with a 4.0 GPA in the classroom at Canyon High School.
"Rafae is a student-athlete that has tremendous potential," said Chan. "She is a six rotation outside attacker that has a quick learning curve. We feel Rafae will grow and develop into a tremendous all around volleyball player and will emerge as a pass to attack player for us. "
The current group of 'Cats open a three-match homestand Friday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena against Michigan. Northwestern will host Michigan State on Saturday, Nov. 17 and conclude the home portion of its schedule on Wednesday, Nov. 21 against instate rival Illinois.
Here are complete bios for all three newcomers:
6'2" - Right Side/Outside Hitter
Portage, Mich./Portage Northern
High School: Three-year letterwinner at Portage Northern High School ... Voted team MVP sophomore and junior year ... Named All-Conference, All-Region and Second-Team All-State junior year ... 2010 Kalamazoo Gazette All-Area Honorable Mention ... 2011 Kalamazoo Gazette All-Area team ... Named to PrepVolleyball.com's Senior Aces List ... Named to Volleyball Magazine's Top 25 Underclassman to Watch list ... Member of USA Women's Junior National Team that won the High Performance Championship in Des Moines, Iowa ... Won 3rd place and a qualification to the 2013 World Championships at Managua, Nicaragua at the NORCECA Championship ... Team ranked 2nd in nation in 2011 with 16 and under division ... won JVA Showcase, JVA World Challenge, Pre-Nationals, Great Lakes Volleyfest Tournaments in 2011 ... placed 3rd in Great Lakes Power League 17/18 division in 2011 ... All-Tournament Team for JVA Showcase in Wisconsin Dells, WI in 2011 ... 17-and-under division team ranked 10th in nation ... Ran track as a freshman ... Conference and Regional Champion in 800 meter run ... Highest Honor Roll student all four years ... Recipient of Daughters of the American Revolution award for Portage Northern ... National Honor Society Member.
Personal: Daughter of Gretchen Kauth and Dave Morin ... Mother, Gretchen, played collegiate volleyball at Minnesota ... Father, Dave, played tennis at Minnesota ... Father is head men's tennis coach at Western Michigan ... Chose Northwestern over Minnesota, Purdue, Ohio State, Kentucky and others ... Anticipated major is undecided.
6'3" - Middle Blocker
The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands High School
High School: Three-year letterwinner and team captain at The Woodlands High School ... 2010 State Finalist ... 2012 Greater Houston Volleyball Coaches Association and VYPE Top 30 List ... 2012 Under Armour Coaches Watch List ... 2012 Preseason All Greater Houston 1st Team ... Named to PrepVolleyball.com Senior Aces list ... Houston Chronicle 2012 All Greater Houston Preseason 1st Team ... 2nd in Junior National's National Division 17 division... 1st in Tour of Texas 17 division ... 1st in Houston Shootout 17 and 18 division ... 1st in Lone Star Regional Qualifier 17 division ... Academic All District three consecutive years.
Personal: Daughter of Jennie and Sam Slater ... Father, Sam, played collegiate football at Weber State from 1980-84 and was drafted to the NFL by the Seattle Seahawks in 1984 ... Chose Northwestern over Louisville and Tennessee ... Anticipated major is undecided.
6'0" - Outside Hitter
New Branfels, Texas/Canyon High School
High School: Four-year letterwinner and team captain at Canyon High School ... 2012 AVCA Under Armour All-American ... First team All-District in 2010 ... All-Comal County Team in 2010 and 2011 ... All-State in 2011 ... First team All-District in 2011 ... 2011 region leader in kills with 632 ... 2011 Express-News Super Team MVP ... 2011 Lonestar Volleyball All-Texas Team Honorable Mention ... Helped team win 2011 District Champions and Area Champions ... 2012 Bi-District team finalists ... Qualified for Junior Olympics in National Division with Austin Juniors club team ... Academic All-American ... Academic All-District ... National Honor Society ... Honor Roll recipient with 4.0 GPA ... Also ran track in high school.
Personal: Daughter of Caroline Batenburg and Semon Strobos ... Brother, Reinier Strobos, plays basketball at MIT ... Chose Northwestern over Rice, Columbia and Cornell ... Anticipated major is undecided.
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