Three Top Recruits Sign for 2001 Season

PROVO -- Two highly recruited Utah high school seniors and a junior college All-American have signed NCAA Letters-of-Intent to play volleyball at BYU, announced BYU Head Women's Volleyball Coach Elaine Michaelis. Lauren Richards of Timpanogos High School, Lexi Brown of Jordan High School and Allison Larson from Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Wash., will join the Cougars for the fall 2001 season.

"I am very pleased with this recruiting class," Michaelis said. "Lauren and Lexi are both very highly regarded high school athletes who were first-team all-state players last year. Lauren has been considered the best player in Utah the past two years and is on the U.S. Junior National Team. We are also excited that Allison, a two-time junior college All-American, has decided to come play at BYU."

Richards, a 5-foot-11 setter/outside hitter from Orem, Utah, was one of six players named to the Volleyball magazine Paul Mitchell High School All-America First Team in March. A four-year starter at Timpanogos, she earned state MVP and Gatorade Player of the Year honors each of the past two seasons and is a three-time first-team all-state selection. She was first-team all-region and team MVP as a freshman. A versatile player, Richards played outside hitter in high school and setter for the U.S. Junior National Team, where she has competed against international competition. Named to Volleyball magazine's annual Fab 50 recruiting list, Richards was tabbed the No. 12 prospect in the nation.

Both Richards and Brown were recruited by numerous national volleyball powers before deciding to commit to BYU. Richards was recruited by national champion Nebraska and top-20 programs UCLA, Long Beach State, Stanford, Colorado State and Utah. Brown was also recruited by Nebraska, UCLA and Utah along with USC, Wisconsin, Arizona State and Tennessee.

Brown, a 6-foot-1 middle blocker from Sandy, Utah, earned first-team all-state honors her senior year at Jordan High School. A four-year starter, Brown was an all-region selection and team MVP her junior and senior seasons and an honorable mention all-region pick as a sophomore. Boasting an international resume, she competed in Europe as a member of the Intermountain High Performance Volleyball Team during her junior year. An excellent student, Brown boasts a 3.9 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society.

Larson, a 6-foot middle blocker/outside hitter, earned junior college All-America status both seasons at Columbia Basin College after being a three-year starter and all-area (Tri-Cities) star at Richland High School in Richland, Wash. At Columbia, Larson became a first-team All-American while leading her team to the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (Oregon/Washington) championship. This past season as a sophomore, she earned second-team All-America honors while hitting a .432 attack percentage and averaging 4.66 kills, 3.79 digs and 1.40 blocks per game.

The three recruits join a BYU team that returns five starters and nine letterwinners from last year's 26-7 team that won the Mountain West Conference Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA regional semifinals (sweet 16).