Charlotte volleyball announces the signing of three new players for the 2013 season. Head coach Chris Redding has inked outside hitters Abreia Epps and Claire Kreuz and middle blocker Hayden Lucht to National Letters of Intent in the early signing period to play next fall for Charlotte, when the program rejoins Conference USA.
"I am very excited to announce our 2013 signing class," said Redding. "Our staff worked extremely hard in the recruiting process to find not only exceptional volleyball players, but young women who want to be successful in the classroom and also give back in the community. This is the next generation of players for the Charlotte Volleyball program as we enter into Conference USA."
Epps, from nearby Columbia, S.C., played her high school volleyball for the Blythewood Bengals, which finished 14-1, falling in the second round of the state playoffs this fall. They won 4A Region IV with a perfect 10-0 mark and she was named All-Area in the 4A ranks by The State newspaper out of Columbia. She plans on pursuing a sports medicine degree.
"Abreia is an impact player," said Redding. "She will come into the program and her presence will immediately be felt, not only by her teammates, but by opponents as well. She is a long and athletic outside hitter and has the ability to attack at an exceptionally high level. One of the special traits that Abreia will be bringing to Charlotte is her toughness on the court. She doesn't wilt under pressure; she plays better. That is how you know she is going to be a big time player in Conference USA."
Kreuz hails from Boerne, Texas and played for the Samuel V. Champion Chargers, which advanced to the regional finals and finished with a 20-5 overall record this season, after a 13-1 mark and the 4A Region IV District 27 Championship. Kreuz was named to a pair of All-Tournament Teams this season, including MVP honors of the Northside-ISD Tournament this fall. She was a First-Team All-District performer after winning District Newcomer of the year in 2009. She has been the District MVP each of the past two seasons. She plans on majoring in marketing at Charlotte.
"With all the youth in our program, Claire was an important recruit for us. She is a versatile player and will immediately add depth to four different positions on the court. She can pass, set, and attack at both pins and is hands down a highly competitive player. We are going to be able to do a lot more things on offense as a team because of Claire's versatility. But the most important trait that Claire will bring to Charlotte is her leadership, which will be vital for this team."
Lucht played for West Florence High in Florence, S.C. The Knights were 11-8 this season, finishing third in 4A Region VI, bowing out in the opening round of the state playoffs. She plans to pursue a degree in communications.
"When we saw Hayden play, we knew we had found a diamond in the rough," noted Redding. "She is an extremely fast and athletic middle hitter that fits our system of play by putting pressure on opponent's defenses. We feel she will be someone who will continue to get better each day and will bleed Charlotte green."
These three newcomers will join nine returning players for the 2013 campaign as the team changes conference affiliation into Conference USA. The 49ers were a founding member of the league, which started in 1995.