PROVO -- Erica Lott, a 6-foot-2 middle blocker from Mountain View High School (Orem, Utah), and Catherine Parker, a 6-foot-2 middle blocker from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (Palos Verdes, Calif.), have signed NCAA Letters-of-Intent to play women's volleyball at BYU.
"Erica and Catherine are both exceptional people as well as tremendous volleyball players," BYU coach Karen Lamb said. "Both like to win, both are good students with excellent on-court awareness and physically each will add unique elements to the team."
Lott, a first-team all-state performer (4A) in 2001 and 2002 (Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune), led her team to a second place finish in the Utah state championships in 2002 and a third place finish in 2001. In July, playing with current Cougar Kim Wilson on the Players Volleyball Club, Lott helped the team win the USA Junior Olympic Volleyball crown in the under-18 division. She had narrowed her choices to BYU, Utah and Stanford before committing to the Cougars.
"I tried my best to be fair in looking at other school in the recruiting process," Lott said. "In the end all the schools had good points, but BYU has everything I want. I love the environment, the volleyball program, the coaches and the team."
Parker, a three-year letter winner, was All-Bay League first team in 2001 in leading her team to the CIF semifinals in 2001. She was a member of the Manhatten Beach Hots Shots club team that finished as the top under-17 team in Southern California in 2002. Parker is equally adept in the classroom where she is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. She was recruited by Hawaii, USC, Utah, Arizona, Georgetown, Washington State and Utah State.
"I had some other tempting scholarship offers, but in the end I knew BYU was the best opportunity for me," Parker said. "I always knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to play at BYU."
Over the course of her first season as head coach of the Cougars, Lamb has been able to discern the strengths and weaknesses of her team as she kept an eye towards recruiting.
"We recruited both players as middle blockers," Lamb said. "With the injuries we've had at the position this year, we felt we needed to shore it up and we have signed two players who can make an impact at this level. They both possess strong offensive skills and at the least will make practices more competitive next year."
Even with the uncharacteristic struggles of the BYU squad this year, Lott and Parker became more convinced of their choice to commit to the Cougars over the course of the season.
"This is a transition year for BYU, and through all the injuries Coach Lamb has done a great job," Lott said. "There's a lot of talent on the team and it's only getting stronger so I'm really excited."
"I just want to go in, work as hard as I can and help the team in any possible way," Parker said. "Eventually I hope to become an All-American."
The two recruits join a young BYU team that has been riddled with injuries this season, but only graduates two seniors. Additionally, next season the team will welcome current redshirts Lauren Richards and Lindsy Lewis into the fold.
"Throughout everything that has happened this year, our team spirit, team attitude, team endurance and team togetherness has never wavered," Lamb said. "Erica and Catherine will fit in very well with this team and they will bring a high degree of intensity and competitiveness with them, which we are looking forward to."
Club: Played for the Players Volleyball Club for four years (1999-2002) ... qualified for nationals in Salt Lake City in 2001 and 2002 ... team finished ninth in 2001 and was USA Junior Olympic Volleyball Champions (under-18) in 2002 ... Junior Olympic all-tournament team (2002) ... member of the Intermountain High Performance Team and competed in Europe (1999, 2001), Park City (2002), and Australia, New Zeland and Fiji (2003) ... coached by Dave and Lori Richards.
High School: A four-year letterwinner at Mountain View High School ... team offensive player of the year in 2001 and most valuable player in 2002 ... named first-team all-state (4A) by The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News in 2001 and 2002 ... also lettered two years in track ... coached by Kayla Walker ... Volleyball Magazine "Fab 50" selection ... she was also recruited by Stanford, Utah, Nebraska, USC, Texas, Arizona State, UNLV and Baylor.
Personal: Parents are Brent and Marla Lott ... she is the oldest of five children with three brothers and one sister ... her father is 6-foot-6 and mother is 5-foot-10; at 6-foot-2 Erica is the tallest child in the family ... started in volleyball with a club team in the eighth grade ... was senior class historian.
Club: Involved with the Manhatten Beach Hot Shots (2002-2003), South Bay ( 2001-2002) and Palos Verdes ( 1997-1999) ... was part of the top 17's team in Southern California (2002).
High School: A three-year letterwinner at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School ... All-Bay League first team in 2001 ... led team to CIF semifinals in 2001 ... team captured Capistrano Valley High School Tournament title (2001) ... team most improved player (2000) ... she is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society ... she is the recipient of the Governor's Scholar award and Principal's High Honor Roll ... coached by Mike Jagd ... recruited by Hawaii, USC, Utah, Arizona, Georgetown, Washington State and Utah State.
Personal: Parents are Jeff and Dianne Parker ... she is the youngest of three children; Mary Claire (24) and David (21) ... both her parents and three of her grandparents attended BYU; her sister will graduate from BYU in May 2003 ... father is the BYU alumni chapter chairman for the Los Angeles south chapter ... cousin Mike Poelman is a junior on the BYU men's rugby team ... got started in volleyball trying out with her best friend in the sixth grade ... born in Torrance, Calif., and raised her whole life in Southern California ... loves the beach and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Mountain View High School Head Volleyball Coach Kayla Walker on Erica
"Erica's a very intense player," Walker said. "She is very balanced offensively and defensively. She understands and knows the game and has tremendous potential to make an impact at the collegiate level."
Karen Lamb Quotes
"Each will be given an opportunity to contribute immediately, but we'll have to wait and see how they progress by the start of next season," Lamb said.