Freshman outside hitter Courtney Crable is one of six newcomers looking to make an impact for the Tigers in 2014.
Auburn head coach Rick Nold believes the ability to reload and bring in top-tier talent is an essential part of building a program. That is just what Nold and his staff did this past year, locking up a top-15 recruiting class to play a major role for the Tigers in the 2014 season.
Five incoming freshman that comprise a large part of Auburn's 2014 volleyball signing class were ranked the 14th-best group in the nation, according to PrepVolleyball.com's recruiting rankings. The 2014 class, signed by the Tigers, garnered the highest ranking in program history.
"This is a huge step for our program and really shows the direction we are headed," Nold said. "We feel fortunate that we were able to fill needs at every position with a very talented group that has already experienced so much success in their early careers."
The five freshmen joining the Tigers in the fall will be Courtney Crable (6-1, OH, Louisville, Kentucky), Alexa Filley (5-9, S, Louisville, Kentucky), Tate Pember (5-6, DS/L, Kennesaw, Georgia), Macy Reece (6-2, MB, Hendersonville, Tennessee), Kelly Stewart (5-6, DS/L, Houston, Texas).
"We are extremely excited about this incoming class as you would expect," Nold told PrepVolleyball.com. "After being hired in 2011, this is the first group we were able to put a full recruiting cycle into, and we couldn't be happier with the results. We were able to meet many of our program's needs after a big graduating class this past year. I expect this group, along with some talented transfers, to battle for playing time right away."
Auburn was able to fill several holes in its lineup left by six graduating seniors from the 2013 team that finished 19-11 overall, 10-8 in Southeastern Conference play. The majority of the 2014 team will be newcomers as the Tigers return just five letter-winners plus a redshirt freshman from last season.
Filley and Crable - high school rivals at Louisville's Assumption and Mercy Academy - will make a formidable duo for the Tigers. Filley was the Gatorade National Player of the Year as a setter, and Crable was Kentucky's Miss Volleyball and a First-Team Under Armour All-American in 2013.
Reece was named to the USA Today All-USA High School Volleyball third team and was an Under Armour All-America honorable mention selection. Stewart and Pember will bring needed depth and experience to the back row for the Tigers.
Auburn also picked up transfer sophomore middle blocker Breanna Barksdale from Cincinnati after a sizzling freshman campaign for the Bearcats to provide depth with returning sophomore Stephanie Campbell in the front row for the Tigers.
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