UK volleyball 300LEXINGTON, KY (11/15/12) – The Kentucky volleyball team has signed three dynamic players for the 2013 season head coach Craig Skinner announced on Thursday.
 
The Wildcats will welcome three highly-touted attackers in middle blocker/outside hitter Sharay Barnes (Swarthmore, Pa.), middle blocker Emily Franklin (Mesa, Ariz.) and outside hitter Anni Thomasson (Newark, Ohio).
 
“Our staff has done a great job putting together this class and it really adds to our size and athleticism,” Skinner said. “This group of athletes not only can play the game, but we are adding phenomenal competitors to help give us an edge as we continue to move this program forward.”
 
Barnes is a 6’2 athlete who can play either the outside hitter or middle blocker position. She attends Strath Haven High School and the Synergy Volleyball Club. Barnes is a two-time all-state performer for Strath in both her junior and senior seasons. PrepVolleyball.com has named her one of the top seniors in the class. As a senior she was named Strath’s Homecoming Queen.
 
“Sharay is one of the best athletes we have recruited here at Kentucky,” Skinner said. “She is a late bloomer in terms of volleyball, but has a natural feel for the game and competition. Her skills are comparable to Whitney Billings and will be an impact player for us. Her enthusiasm for life and competition are going to be contagious for our program.”
 
Franklin is a 6’4 middle blocker from Red Mountain High School in Mesa, Ariz. She plays club volleyball for the Spiral club. PrepVolleyball.com ranks her among the top-50 seniors and she was an all-state honorable mention selection as a junior after earning first-team accolades to the All-Mesa City squad. Furthermore, she’s an honor roll student and a member of the National Honor Society.
 
“Emily is an imposing blocker at the net and will finish her career as one of the best blockers we have had in the program,” Skinner said. “She has a great arm as well, and as she continues to get stronger and grow into her length, she will dominate at the net.”
 
Rounding out the class is Thomasson who is a 6’0 outside hitter from Newark, Ohio, and the Columbus Volleyball Academy. Thomasson is an Under Armour All-America selection, is ranked in the top-60 of PrepVolleyball’s senior aces and was a two-time all-state selection. A three-time Ohio Capital Conference Player of the Year, Thomasson started every match of her four-year career and holds school records for kills and digs. She also ranks third all-time in the state of Ohio with 1,688 career kills.
 
“Anni is one of the most complete players we have recruited,” Skinner said. “There isn’t’ a skill in the game that she can’t execute at a high level. Anni can impact a match in many different ways which will elevate the level of play immediately in our gym. She is a fierce competitor and will have a great career at Kentucky.”
 
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