Volleyball Adds Six to 2003 Signing Class

June 11, 2003

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The JU volleyball team has signed six more players to national letters of intent, first-year head coach Courtney Dipert announced Wednesday. Middle blocker Petya Borisova (Sofia, Bulgaria), outside hitter Eva Stoilova (Sofia, Bulgaria), outside hitter Kerstin Erickson (St. Charles, Ill.), middle blocker Shannon Welch (Brentwood, Tenn.), libero Kelly Morrisroe (Jensen Beach, Fla.) and former JU soccer player Vanessa Illanes (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) round out Dipert's first recruiting class and bring the total number to seven in the 2003 class.

"I'm excited about our first recruiting class," said Dipert, who is in her first year as a head coach, after serving as an assistant at her alma mater, Florida State, and Duke. "This class will address many areas which we felt we could improve, and we feel each player can make an immediate contribution.

"August should be intense, because many of the newcomers will be pushing the returning players for time on the court. The addition of so many players, we are going to be a more versatile team."

Senior outside hitter Radka Dimitrova (Sofia, Bulgaria), a First-Team All-Atlantic Sun and A-Sun All-Tournament Team selection last season, will feel more at home with the addition of two more Bulgarians. The six-foot Borisova was a four-year starter at Vasil Levski, where she helped the team compile an 84-21 mark. As a junior, she was named team MVP as she led the team to the national championship. Borisova's high school and club teammate, 6-foot-1 Stoilova has also signed with the Dolphins. Stoilova was a senior when Vasil Levski won the national championship, and she was named the best outside hitter. She also helped the team finish as the runner-up for the national title as a junior.

Dipert, a native of Lisle, Ill., went close to her hometown to find 5-foot-10 Erickson. Erickson was a four-year starter at St. Charles East High School and helped lead the team to the state finals as a junior and the regional finals as a senior. Erickson was a unanimous all-conference selection in her final season and played for the Fusion club team.

The Dolphins have also signed the 6-foot Welch, who helped lead Brentwood High School to four-consecutive state championships. As a senior, Welch recorded 541 kills, 228 blocks and a .410 hitting percentage to garner all-state, all-state tournament, all-mid state, all-region and all-district honors. She also played club volleyball for Impact.

JU stayed in-state to find 5-foot-4 Morrisroe from Martin County High School in the Ft. Lauderdale area. Morrisroe helped lead the Tigers to a 53-12 record in two seasons and their 12th-consecutive district championships and 11th-straight Treasure Lake Conference title. Her senior season, Morrisroe ranked 10th in the region in digs as the Tigers advanced to the regional finals.

Although she is a newcomer to volleyball, the 5-foot-5 Illanes is no stranger to JU after four years on the soccer team. Illanes, who was named the 2002 Atlantic Sun Women's Soccer Player of the Year and a Regional All-American, will join the team as fifth-year senior. Illanes was an outstanding two-sport athlete in high school as she was named the Orlando Sun-Sentinel's Player of the Year in volleyball and the Miami Herald's Player of the Year in soccer.

The six new signees join 5-foot-10 setter Erin Hickman (San Antonio, Texas), who signed during the early period in November. The Dolphins are scheduled to begin the 2003 season by hosting the Hampton Inn/JU Invitational, where they will open with Birmingham Southern on Friday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. at Swisher Gymnasium.