Chris Rushing, head volleyball coach at UTM, announced two players signed national letters of intent to play volleyball for the Skyhawks next season.
Jamie Hollins, from Popular Bluff, Mo., signed, as well as Kirsten Thompson, from Harthorne Woods, Ill.
Hollins played for the Popular Bluff High School volleyball team. She is 5-10 outside hitter/middle. She lettered all four years in volleyball and she is a two-time, all-district and team MVP. She was named all-tournament at a variety of tournaments and was team captain her senior year.
Hollins also lettered in track for her high school team, while earning herself a spot on the school’s honor roll throughout her career. Hollins played one season of club volleyball for the Lady Stings.
Other universities she considered attending included Arkansas State University and Drury University. She chose UTM because of “the team, coach, campus and the past and future success of the volleyball team.”
She is undecided on a major at this time. She is the daughter of Michelle Hollins.
“I am really excited about Jamie and her future potential,” Rushing said.
“She is good now and extremely athletically gifted, yet has so much more to gain as she gets repetitions with our team. She could be the one to watch down the road.”
At 5-11, Thompson played middle for the Lake Zurich volleyball team that earned the regional championship title in 2001 and 2002. With this team, Thompson earned the individual honors of team captain, all-area and all-state honorable mention. She also performed well academically and has been a part of the National Honors Society and all-state scholars.
Thompson played softball for Lake Zurich, and she holds the school record for most home runs. She is also playing club volleyball. This is her first year with a higher level club team — Adversity.
Thompson chose to get her degree and play volleyball for UT Martin because “the girls and the coach were so welcoming.” She is the daughter of James and Susan Thompson.
“Kirsten is another good player who comes to us with a lot of athletic ability,” Rushing said. “She has a good jump and a good arm. Kirsten also has the potential to be one of the top players in the Ohio Valley Conference. With her hard work and competitiveness, who knows how far she can go.”
Joining Hollins and Thompson as newcomers to the 2003 team are four players who signed last November in the early signing period and a couple of players will be walking on.
The signed players are:
•Krissy Neumann from Dower’s Grove, Ill. She is a 5-11 right/outside hitter.
•Trish Schroeder from Darien, Ill. Trish is a 5-7 setter.
•Mandy Krol signs from Lemont, Ill. She is a 6-0 middle.
•Tammy Konitzer from Pleasanton, Calif. She is a 5-7 outside hitter/DS.
Rushing will begin his sixth season as the head coach of the Skyhawks this fall. His squad posted a 3.51 GPA last year, which ranked ninth best of all Division 1 volleyball teams in the country.
In the past few years, he has been named as OVC Coach of the Year twice and has guided the team to a second-place finish and two championship seasons, earning a spot in the NCAA tournament. In his time at UT Martin, Rushing has coached 13 individual All-OVC players and a Verizon Academic All-American second team player.
The 2002 volleyball championship team loses six seniors, all of which played major roles these past few years. However, with the addition of these new players, along with the returning six players, they hope to continue their success.