Cougar Volleyballer Makes History!
For the first time in the history of South Mountain, a Cougar student-athlete will be transferring and competing next year as an sand volleyball athlete. Brandy Grant has been selected to compete for Grand Canyon University in the Spring of 2014! While Brandy was an indoor volleyball athlete only here at South Mountain for two years, she will now take her talents to the sand and don the purple of the Antelopes!
With college sand volleyball becoming an NCAA sport in the spring of 2011, universities are starting to add sand programs and increase the opportunities for women athletes to play past their high school and club years. This year saw the number of official NCAA programs grow from a handful in 2011 to 32 , and next year will see almost double that number. A small number of schools participating is normal in newly accepted NCAA sports, so we are very happy that Brandy will be one of the pioneers in this increasingly popular sport.
Head Volleyball Coach Pat Mooney is pleased to announce the first 4 signees for the incoming class of 2013. They are Delaney Scanlan from Mingus, Sara Westerman from Sandra Day O Connor, Caitlin Thibodeaux from Desert Ridge, and Marissa Boelter from Joy Christian.
Mooney states: “This group of 4 young ladies has the potential to make a very big impact as freshmen. They are very athletic, competitive, and come from club and high school programs that traditionally have done very well nationally as well as in Arizona. They are diversified as a couple of them play other sports and I feel will fit in with our high standards we have in our program here at South Mountain. I can’t wait for August to get here so I can start working with them!”
Delaney Scanlan: Delaney is a 5’7” setter from Mingus Union High School in Cottonwood AZ. She is a multi-sport athlete and competes in soccer and track as well as volleyball. Her soccer TEAM that has recently completed its season came one goal of a state championship and last spring she was an integral part of her track TEAM that did win a state crown. She is the 2nd graduate (Chelsea Chavez 2008-2010) of Mingus to sign at South Mountain in Mooney’s seven year tenure and 1st setter. Mooney’s quote on Delaney: “I’ve loved Delaney’s competitiveness since I saw her at a tournament here in Phoenix as a junior. She’s very quick and from what I have seen, has a very high level of leadership that is important for her position as a setter. She’s a very driven person and I believe she will be one player in our conference that each of our opponents wishes they had seen before we got to her!”
Delaney’s signing in November: left to right, Coach Pat Mooney, Delaney Scanlan, Mingus Coach Brian Herman, Delaney’s father Patrick Scanlan.
Delaney competing VS Sedona in Fall 2012
The families who became part of the Cougar Family when they signed on January 4th. left to right: Marissa Boelter with mom Christy & dad Alan behind her. Sara Westerman with brother Caleb & mom Pam behind her, Caitlin Thibodeaux with future stepdad Cory & mom Amy behind her.
Sara Westerman: Sara is a 5’8” outside hitter from Sandra Day O Connor in Phoenix AZ. She was a huge part in her high school TEAM’s success this season and She is a player just beginning to come into her own. She has a competitive fire that’s plainly seen from the sideline and that will bring some enthusiasm to the Cougars. She attended one of the summer clinics last summer and really adapted quickly to the technique that was being taught, and that was a huge plus for Mooney. Mooney’s quote: “I can’t thank her club coach (Justin Blake) enough for pointing her out to me last summer. I asked him about a different player’s competitiveness on his TEAM and he replied, ‘you should look at my kid who’s really feisty’. I watched her play for the rest of the tournament and I was sold. She’s got some fire that we really need and we’re leaning on her to bring it!”
Sara prepares to serve an ace at last summer’s Volleyball Festival Club tournament.
Caitlin Thibodeaux: Caitlin is a 6’0” middle blocker from Desert Ridge in Mesa AZ. From a lineage of strong middles at Desert Ridge comes Caitlin as she is the 3rd in a row from that school to sign with the Cougars in the past 4 years. She possesses a very quick arm and when she connects solidly with the ball you can feel it across the gym. She’s got some room to grow & Mooney loves to take good athletes & turn them into great players. She’s presently playing club for Fusion & working on the skills that will increase her chances to crack the starting lineup as a freshman. Mooney’s quote: “While standing next to the court at a tournament last fall I was looking at my notes & felt this thump from the floor as one TEAM was completing their hitting warm-ups. I looked again to see who it was & it was Caitlin. Coaches refer to players just starting to scratch the surface of their potential as having upside & Caitlin’s is immense!”
Caitlin winds up to crush the ball past her opponent.
Marissa Boelter: Marissa is a 5’7” libero from Joy Christian High School in Glendale AZ. While getting ready to attend the Nike Invitational that includes teams from Arizona, Missouri, California and even Chicago Illinois, Mooney was targeting players to evaluate when one of the present freshmen mentioned Marissa’s name and that’s all it took. He saw her confidence & competitiveness, spoke to her coach & his search for a solid libero was over. Marissa is also a dual sport athlete who is getting ready for softball to start & was a big part of her high school TEAM reaching the quarterfinals of the state tournament this year. Mooney’s quote: While she played outside hitter in high school, she will mainly be playing libero here at South & being a well-rounded athlete it will be an easy transition for her. She seems to be a good communicator on the floor with solid passing & defensive skills which is which is where we’re looking to improve this fall. I believe Marissa will come in & really enhance our deficiencies in those areas.
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