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Before the 2014 volleyball season has even seen its first kill, the St. Catharine Patriots have received their first commitment for 2015.
Emmalee Fleener, a 5-foot-7-inch defensive specialist/libero from Louisville, has committed to be a part of the St. Catharine College volleyball program.
Fleener began club volleyball at age 8 as an outside hitter/defensive specialist.
She spent six years at the Kentucky-Indiana Volleyball Academy, two years at Union and has now made MidAmerica Volleyball Association her new home. In 2010, Fleener was named an AAU All American and helped her team finish second at the AAU Nationals.
In addition, Fleener helped lead her squad to a Junior Volleyball Directors Association Championship and Bluegrass Pre-Qualifier Championship.
In addition to the success in 2010, 2011 brought third-place finishes at AAU and the JVDA national tournaments. In 2013 her success continued, as Fleener guided her Union team to a fifth-place finish at the Junior Volleyball Association World Challenge.
This past season, Fleener played a level up on Dan Palmer’s MAVA 18 Academy team as a defensive player only.
Her team saw success with top-10 finishes in the Northeast Qualifier and the Kansas Show Me Qualifier. Furthermore, Fleener’s squad earned a bid to the Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships in Minneapolis, where they finished 11th.
Fleener currently attends Holy Cross High School in Louisville, where she was the varsity setter and was appointed to the Louisville All-Catholic team. Fleener helped lead her squad to a district title and a spot in the regional championship game, where they would finish as the runner-up to Mercy Academy, who would eventually play in the Kentucky state championship match.
“I am excited to be a part of the up-and-coming Patriot volleyball program,” Fleener said. “I plan to bring my hard work ethic and dedication to St. Catharine College to help [SCC head coach Jason] McDannold gain national attention.”
While at St. Catharine, Fleener plans to study elementary education with an end goal of becoming a special education teacher and working with and/or coaching in the Special Olympics.
Fleener is the daughter of Ray and Teri Fleener and has an older brother, Alex, who attends the University of Louisville. In addition to volleyball, Emmalee loves music, dancing, photography and cooking.
“Emmalee is a huge commitment,” McDannold said. “Signing her this early is a relief to not only myself but her family; now all she has to do is enjoy her senior season and better prepare herself to become a Patriot.”
The St. Catharine College volleyball Patriots are at it again, signing Texas high school standout Andrea “Andie” Hurt to their 2014-2015 roster.
The Copperas Cove, Texas native will help solidify a loaded Patriots’ roster with her 34-inch vertical leap and athletic capability in the front row.
“Andie will make a big difference for us,” head coach Jason McDannold said. “She is a true athlete that is going to make our front row even better than it already is.”
During her sophomore season in high school, Hurt was voted best blocker and made the academic all-district team.
However, those were just the tip of the iceberg for awards for the 5-foot-9-inch middle hitter; during her junior season, she lead District 5A Texas in blocks, was voted best blocker for a second year and made a repeat appearance on the Academic All-District team.
During her senior season, she was able to lead her team in kills and blocks before leaving to play in the junior college ranks at Paris Community College in Paris, Texas.
“It’s easy to get excited about this type of kid,” McDannold said. “She is talented in both the classroom and on the court, so signing her was an easy decision.”
Hurt will make her Patriot debut when they travel to play Centre College in Danville on August 16 to face the Colonels in their opening contest of the 2014 season.
Aliyah Johnson (Louisville) has become the most recent dual-sport athlete in the St. Catharine College Patriots’ stable.
Johnson, a Presentation Academy graduate, has committed to bring her talents in both softball and basketball to St. Catharine College in August.
“It’s always good to get a kid who’s willing to work hard in two sports,” head softball coach Holly Smith said. “Aliyah is going to bring a youthful energy to our team that is always beneficial.”
The 5-foot-8-inch shortstop will look to help solidify a Patriot infield that could be missing a few key parts with the graduation of Taylor Steff and the absence of a shortstop. However, on the basketball court, the long winged freshman will look to use her talents to battle for a roster spot on a rebuilt and talented Patriot roster.
Johnson will join the softball Patriots first in August when they begin their fall season before making the transition to basketball in October.