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Women's Volleyball Feature

Cougars add four recruits to 2017 roster

(Photo by BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU women’s volleyball has signed four new recruits for the 2017 season – Taylen Ballard, Allison Stapleton, Sara Hamson and Sydnie Martindale – head coach Heather Olmstead announced Tuesday.

Ballard, a native of Clovis, California, will play outside hitter for the Cougars.

“Taylen is a physically gifted volleyball player with great size and athleticism,” Olmstead said. “Due to her vision and range, she will have the ability to score in the West Coast Conference. We see her developing into a six-rotation player that Cougar fans will enjoy watching. We can’t wait to get Taylen in the gym and get to work.” 

The Clovis High School senior was named an Under Armour First-Team All-American in 2016 as well as all-conference in 2014 and 2016. Additionally, Ballard has played for the club team Tsunami.

Stapleton, from Richland, Washington, will compete as an outside/opposite hitter for BYU.

“Alli is an exceptional athlete who got a late start playing volleyball,” Olmstead said. “Along with her ability to jump well, she has great size and moves well on the court. She is a versatile player and can play multiple positions. Alli loves the process of getting better, and we’re excited to see how quickly she learns once she gets in the gym.”

The 6-foot-2 Stapleton has been named a First-Team All-Conference outside hitter for two years at her Kamiakin High School. She has lettered for three years in volleyball.

Hamson, from Pleasant Grove, Utah, will play opposite for the Cougars.

“Sara is a tremendous athlete that we anticipate developing into a formidable attacker and defender,” Olmstead said. “She has the potential to be one of the best attackers in the nation, coming at opponents with a high-attack point that they aren’t accustomed to seeing. We’re thrilled to help Sara accomplish her goals of becoming the best volleyball player she can be.” 

Hamson will follow in the footsteps of her older sister Jennifer and compete on both the women's basketball and volleyball teams. In high school, she was named the No. 57 Senior Aces in the class of 2017 by PrepVolleyball.

Martindale hails from Heber, Utah, and is a junior college transfer student from Snow College. 

"We are very excited to add Sydnie to our team as a very experienced junior college transfer," Olmstead said. "Sydnie is a dynamic defender who reads the game well and has a knack for knowing where the ball will go. She is quick and isn’t afraid to get on the floor. Sydnie has done an excellent job of being a leader for her team at Snow College on and off the court. We look forward to having Sydnie in our gym in January to begin working with her."

Martindale has received a handful of awards in the past two years, including being named the Region 18 Defensive Player of the Year in both 2015 and 2016. The junior will play libero/defensive specialist for BYU.

The four new recruits will help replace the four seniors the Cougars lose at the conclusion of the 2016 season.


Taylen Ballard

Hometown: Clovis, California
Previous School: Clovis High School
Position: Outside hitter
Height: 6-3


  • Parents are Bart and Tina
  • Has one brother and one sister
  • Academic major: education

High School:

  • Named the No. 21 Senior Aces in the class of 2017 by PrepVolleyball
  • Named to the All-Valley Team in 2014 and 2016
  • Named All-Conference in 2014 and 2016
  • Named an Under Armour First-Team All-American in 2016


  • Played for Tsunami
  • Participated on the 18-1’s Team


Allison Stapleton

Hometown: Richland, Washington
Previous School: Kamiakin High School
Position: Outside/opposite hitter
Height: 6-2


  • Parents are Dave and Barb
  • Has three brothers and two sisters
  • Sister Andrea high jumps on the BYU track and field team

High School:

  • Lettered for three years
  • Named to the All-Area Academic Team
  • Named a First-Team All-Conference outside hitter for two years
  • Also lettered in track for four years


  • Played for Strike Force


Sara Hamson

Hometown: Lindon, Utah
Previous School: Pleasant Grove High School
Position: Opposite
Height: 6-7


  • Sister Jennifer played volleyball and basketball at BYU (2010-14)
  • Mother Tresa played basketball at BYU

High School:

  • Named the No. 57 Senior Aces in the class of 2017 by PrepVolleyball
  • Named to the 2016 AVCA Under Armour All-American Watch List
  • Added to the All-Region Second Team in 2016
  • Named a 5A Senior All-Star
  • Named the Region MVP in 2015
  • Added to the All-State First Team in 2015
  • Named the MaxPreps Player of the Match four times in 2015
  • Has collected 215 blocks and 612 kills in her career
  • Named to the All-Region First Team in 2014


Sydnie Martindale

Hometown: Heber, Utah
Previous School: Snow College
Position: Libero/defensive specialist
Height: 5-8

High School:

  • Played at Wasatch High School
  • Named a senior captain
  • Averaged 4.5 digs per set in her senior season
  • Also lettered in basketball

Junior College:

  • Named the 2015 Region 18 Defensive Player of the Year
  • Added to the 2015 Region 18 First Team
  • Named the 2016 Region 18 Defensive Player of the Year
  • Added to the 2016 Region 18 First Team
  • Named the Scenic West Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week four times in 2016