Nov. 16, 2016
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. – Virginia volleyball head coach Dennis Hohenshelt announced Tuesday (Nov. 15) that Sarah Billiard (Matthews, N.C.), Michaela Putnicki (Monument, Colo.) and Alexandra Spencer (Canton, Ohio) signed National Letters of Intent to join the Cavaliers for the 2017 season.
“Right now I believe with these three players we have people who can come in and contribute at a pretty high level right away,” Hohenshelt said. “All three are athletic pin players with the possibility of playing six rotations. I really like all of their attitudes towards the game and think they all play the game in the manner it should be played. This is just the start of this class and more great things are coming down the road in the future.”
Sarah Billiard, an outside hitter, is a five-year varsity starter at Covenant Day School. Billiard helped guide Covenant to two undefeated MAC Championships (2012 & 2013), three-straight NCISAA 3A State runner-up finishes (2013-15) and a CISAA Conference Championship (2015). A PrepVolleyball Top 100 Senior Ace (No. 90), she earned Under Armour High School All-America Second Team honors. A three-time NCISAA All-State Team and CISAA All-Conference Team honoree, Billiard set the Covenant school records for career kills (1,892) and blocks (188). She reached 1,000 kills as a junior and was named the Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly Player of the Year that season. Billiard also played club volleyball with Carolina Juniors.
Hohenshelt on Billiard: “I feel like Sarah will be one of the best all-around athletes we have ever recruited to Grounds. She has had an outstanding high school volleyball career as well as an outstanding basketball career being named to all-state in both sports. I think we will be able to play her on either pin and she is going to be a dynamic attacker and blocker for us from day one. Sarah and her family have always believed in what we were doing here to build our program and I am excited that the whole Billiard family is joining our family.”
Michaela Putnicki is an outside hitter that started as a freshman at Castle View High School, before playing her last three years and starting two at Lewis Palmer High School. A 2016 AVCA Under Armor All-American and First Team All-State Selection, Putnicki helped lead LPHS to two State Championships (2014 & 2016), with perfect 29-0 seasons in those years, and a runner-up finish in 2015. A PrepVolleyball Senior Ace and No. 71 recruit in the nation by the organization, she finished with a team-best 309 kills, .320 hitting percentage and 222 digs as a senior. As a junior, Putnicki earned Pikes Peak Athletic Conference Second Team honors and was First Team Academic All-State. Putnicki played club volleyball for Colorado Juniors.
Hohenshelt on Putnicki: “We are very excited to get a six-rotation player of Michaela’s caliber. She has proven that she can pass, block and attack with the best players in the country. She is a blue-collar kid who comes from a family that believes in hard work and I love that about her. She has had a great senior year and I would expect her to be in the running for the Colorado Gatorade State Player of the Year.”
Alexandra Spencer is an outside hitter from North Canton, Ohio. Spencer is a three-year varsity starter at Jackson High School. She finished with 734 kills on a .304 hitting percentage, 162 clocks, 494 digs and 60 aces. Spencer has earned numerous honors in her high school career as a two-time First Team All-District, two-time First Team All-Stark County and two-time First Team All-Federal League selection. As a senior, she was named to the All-Ohio Second Team, was District 4 Player of the Year, Stark County Player of the Year and Federal League Player of the Year. She was selected to compete in the State OHSVCA Senior All-Star Match as well as the District 4 All-Star match. Spencer played club volleyball with Academy Volleyball Cleveland.
Hohenshelt on Spencer: “We started the recruiting process a little later with Alex. We watched her play a lot last spring and then had her visit Grounds. What we found was an engaging, hardworking and dedicated individual who wants to be great. She attended camp this summer and I thought she was really polished and very competitive in everything that she did. I love her attitude and like how she attacks the game.”
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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