Charlotte volleyball and head coach Chris Redding announce the signing of two future 49ers for next fall on signing day, 2013. Outside/right side hitter Natalie Montini and setter/right side hitter Michaela White have signed commitments to join the squad for the fall of 2014.
“I am excited to announce the first two signees to our 2014 class,” said Redding. “One of the special aspects of this year’s signing class is that we were able to land two high caliber student-athletes from North Carolina. It is very difficult to land student-athletes from North Carolina that can play at this level because there are so many strong volleyball programs across the state and in the region vying for elite level prospects. Having these two student-athletes come to Charlotte is a credit to how hard our staff has worked over the years in the recruiting process within the state.”
Montini hails from Fletcher, N.C. and played her prep volleyball at A.C. Reynolds. The Rockets went from 11 to 14 to 15 wins in her first three years there. They won state tournament playoff games in each of her four years there, and took the Mountain Athletic Conference title this fall. She went from earning honorable mention All-Conference in 2011, to a member of the All-Conference team in 2012 to earning Player of the Year in the league this fall. Her father, Mark, played football at Tulane and her older brother, Mark, walked on the football team at Charlotte, serving as one of the holders on field goal and point-after attempts and backing up the H-backs.
“The first thing that caught our eye about Natalie was her athleticism,” said Redding. “She is a big jumper who can play high above the net and is very versatile. She will be able to play at both pin positions to give us different options and more balance on offense. I see Natalie having the ability to come in and challenge for playing time in multiple positions next fall.”
White is from nearby Mt. Ulla and played at nearby Jesse Carson High in Rowan County. The Cougars won two North Carolina Eastern Regional titles and were state runners-up twice. They have been ranked as high as second in the state by MaxPreps in 2013 and just outside of the top 50 in the nation by the same publication. She is a three-time Rowan County Player of the Year, earning three All-North Piedmont Conference and All-Rowan County selections. She has three sisters who played collegiate softball, including one, Casey, who was a two-sport collegian.
“Michaela is a big time recruit for our program from just up the road,” added Redding. “She is both a setter and hitter who will be able to do whatever we ask of her on the court. Aside of her volleyball ability, Michaela brings a very important trait to our program… her competitiveness. She is one of those few players who has a high volleyball I.Q., is a tough competitor, and is clutch at crucial times in a match. She will be a vital player in helping our program compete at the top of Conference USA.”
The 49ers are hosting their last home match of the season Friday night, when Southern Miss visits Halton Arena for a scheduled 7 p.m. contest on Senior Night. Men’s basketball will hosting a 4 p.m. home game earlier in the afternoon, so fans should be advised of busy parking decks and the possibility of a delayed start to the home volleyball finale.