EUGENE – The University of Oregon volleyball team unveiled the first members of another impressive signee class that signed National Letters of Intent Wednesday.
This year’s initial trio of additions includes last year’s Oregon Gatorade Player of the Year Elizabeth Brenner, and a pair of talented outside hitters from California – Chloe Buckendahl and Savannah Paffen.
Among their lengthy list of honors, all three were pegged to the Under Armour All-America Watch List this fall, and Brenner and Buckendahl were www.Prepvolleyball.com Senior Ace honorees.
“This may be the best class we’ve ever had,” head coach Jim Moore said. “We’re very excited to add this group, and they will have an immediate impact right away, if not start, next season. We’re obviously going to miss having a player of Heather Meyers’ caliber graduate, but their addition will ease her loss.”
Profiles of all three players and individual player comments from Moore follow.
Elizabeth Brenner, 6-1, Portland, Ore., Jesuit HS, Nike Northwest Juniors (Club)
Already a first-team all-state pick as a sophomore and junior, this year’s Metro League Player of the Year is again on a torrid pace, and helped lead her team to its fourth straight league title. This weekend, her team will bid for another state championship after it won the 6A title her sophomore season and staked runner-up honors last year. Later in the 2009-10 season, she added Oregon Prep Athlete of the Year laurels after she picked up first-team all-state honors in the javelin and shot put, and second-team laurels in basketball. As a freshman, she was a second-team all-league volleyball pick, and her squad took fourth in the state tourney. Club-wise, she has played for the Nike Northwest Juniors Air Elite team (2009-10) and Multnomah Athletic Club (2003-08).
“Liz is an exciting player,” Moore said. “She hits the ball harder than almost any other we’ve seen. She has great ball control skills, is a good blocker, and has passed out of the full rotation for her club - so that shows her versatility. She’s a tremendous athlete in several sports, and hasn’t specialized in volleyball so she will continue to get better and better.”
Chloe Buckendahl, 6-0, Vista, Calif., Rancho Buena Vista HS, 951 Elite (Club)
One of Southern California’s top hitters, she has racked up has 1,472 career kills after she paced the San Diego area in kills the last three seasons, and is leading the area in hitting as a senior (.508). A first-team All-CIF pick last year, she was a second-team honoree in ’08 and third-team pick in ’07, and owns career highs of 30 kills, 13 digs, 3 aces. In past years, last year’s league MVP was a two-time All-Avacado League first-team and All-North County pick, and one-time second-team honoree. As a senior, her team is 20-11 (and 5-2 in the Avocado West League), and the Longhorns reached the Division 1 semifinals and won the Avacado League her junior season. In the club scene, she has played three seasons for the 951 Elite club and helped her team to ninth- and 21st-place Junior Olympic Tournament finishes.
“Chloe’s a great all-around player who will have an immediate impact,” Moore said. “She jumps really well and brings a lot of heat. She’s a fun player with good charisma like Heather – that type of personality blends into any team really well. This was her dream school – her dad went here - and she was the first to commit, so there was an instant connection.”
Savannah Paffen, 6-2, Mountain View, Calif., St. Francis HS, City Beach Volleyball Club
A first-team all-league pick this fall, she is the co-captain for the league champions (28-5, 6-0). Two weeks ago, she posted a team-high 16 kills in an upset of the nation’s top-ranked squad, Presentation High School. Last year, she was a second-team all-league selection, and helped her squad finished second in the league. On the club circuit, her City Beach team took third in the Junior Olympic Tournament open division. Off the court, she was a four-year scholar-athlete with a 3.8 GPA.
“Savannah fits into our positions needs right away. She’s still really young, she just turned 17 yesterday. We’re excited about her talent already and know that she will continue to get better and better. She has great size and is a solid player all-around.”
Closer to home this weekend, the Ducks travel to Oregon State for a 7 p.m. match, Friday, November 12. UO is 8-3 in the series under head coach Jim Moore and 52-41-1 all-time.
The Duck-Beaver Civil War match will be televised tape delay locally by Fox Sports Northwest on Sunday, Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 15 at 11 a.m.
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