Three incoming freshmen and a junior college transfer are the first recruits for the University of Alaska Fairbanks volleyball team for the upcoming season.
According to a UAF news release Tuesday, Colleen File, Eden Murchison, AveRee Reynolds and Sophie Schilling signed National Letters of Intent with the Nanooks.
File, Murchison and Schilling will be freshmen this fall and Reynolds will be a junior for the Nanooks, of the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
The 5-foot-7 outside hitter and defensive specialist comes to UAF from Woodinville High School in her hometown of Woodinville, Washington.
File was a King County 4A All-League First-Team selection last season after earning all-league honorable mention as a junior. She also was Woodinville’s most valuable player and team captain in her senior season.
UAF head coach Brian Scott, in the release, said File is going to be a great fit for the Nanooks program.
“She is a talented volleyball athlete that has played in multiple positions and can contribute to improving the competitiveness in our gym in many ways,” Scott said.
“She has a great demeanor and will add to the cohesive nature of our returning student-athletes. She is also an excellent student, who values the effort on the academic side of being an athlete.”
File, who also played for the Washington Volleyball Academy, is undecided on a major at UAF.
The 6-1 outside hitter from Zebulon, Georgia, was a four-year varsity player for Pike County High School. She ended her career as the AAA All-Area Player of the Year in 2018.
Murchison, who Scott described as “a long, athletic athlete with a heavy arm,” was a AAA All-Area Honorable Mention choice in 2015 and an all-area team selection in 2016 and 2017.
“Her size will make her an intimidating block immediately,” Scott said in the release. “In addition to her athletic ability, Eden is someone who takes her studies very seriously.
“She has shown discipline on the court and in the classroom, and been able to excel in both.”
Murchison was Pike County’s team captain in 2018. Academically, she was a member of the National Honor Society and National Society of High School Scholars.
Murchison plans to major in engineering at UAF.
The standout right-side hitter from Eastern Arizona College was an NJCAA First-Team All-American and American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American last season for the Gilas, of Thatcher, Arizona.
The 6-1 native of Petersboro, Utah played in 28 contests last season for Eastern Arizona, averaging 2.31 kills, 3.89 assists, 1.92 digs and 0.98 blocks per set.
Reynolds compiled 106 total blocks in 2018 to rank second in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference. Her 17 solo blocks ranked third in the conference while her 89 block assists were second.
She plans to major in secondary education at UAF.
“AveRee has established herself as a true competitor,” Scott said. “She has excelled as a high school standout and followed it up as an NJCAA All-American.
“AveRee grew up on the volleyball court and it shows in her ability to play. We are excited for the depth and competitiveness she will bring to our gym.”
The 6-foot-1 middle blocker and Berlin native comes from SG Rotation Prenzlauer Berg, the same club program which helped produce Nanooks junior outside hitter Lahra Weber.
Schilling helped SG Rotation Prenzlauer Berg capture the German National Championships at the under-age 18 level in 2015. The club won the U20 national title two years later.
Schilling, who graduated from Berlin’s Schul-und Leistungssportzentrum, plans to major in psychology at UAF. She follows Weber as the second international player to be coached by Scott for the Nanooks.
“Sophie is a standout middle blocker and will be a great addition to our group of middles,” Scott said. “She comes from the same competitive club in Germany as Lahra and should be able to adapt to our level of play quickly.
“Sophie is very good at attacking on the side and we look forward to using that strength.”
The Nanooks start Scott’s fifth season as head coach with the Blue-Gold Game at 7 p.m. Aug. 23 on the Alaska Airlines Court in the UAF Patty Center.
The annual Alumni Game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 31 in the Patty Center and Alaska opens the regular season at the Colorado School of Mines Classic on Sept. 6 and 7 in Golden, Colorado.
The Nanooks play in the D2 West Region Showcase on Sept. 12-14 at California State University Los Angeles, and return to the road for GNAC openers against Saint Martin’s University on Sept. 19 in Lacey, Washington, and Seattle Pacific University on Sept. 21 in Seattle.
The Nanooks have their home openers and GNAC contests in the Patty Center against Alaska Anchorage at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 and Montana State University Billings at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 26.
The Nanooks’ complete schedule is available at bit.ly/318TJa7.
The Nanooks finished 14-13 overall and 12-8 GNAC last season. It was UAF’s most wins in a single season under Scott and most overall wins and first winning season since 2008.
The 12 GNAC wins are the most for the Nanooks since a 13-5 conference finish in 2003.
Sophomores Weber and Cate Whiting (setter) received All-GNAC First Team honors after the 2018 season and junior middle blocker Kim Wong earned All-GNAC Honorable Mention for the second straight year.
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter: @newsminersports.