April 29, 2013
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona volleyball team has signed high school standouts Ashley Harris (Petaluma, Calif.), McKenzie Jacobson (Fresno, Calif.), Jessika Long (Sandy, Utah) and Penina Snuka (Gilbert, Arizona) to join the Wildcats in 2013, head coach Dave Rubio announced on Monday.
“We needed some size, we got that and we needed some athleticism, we got that,” Rubio said. “We got some kids, who I think, will allow us to take our current team to the next level. You never know until they get here and they’re training everyday but we feel pretty good about the class we have coming in.”
Harris is a 6’8” outside hitter that was a three-year letterwinner at Casa Grande High School and will become the tallest player in U of A history. She was named Under Armour First-Team All-America and was named a “Senior Ace” by PrepVolleyball.com. Harris was also named third-team Mizuno/Volleyball Magazine High School All-American in 2012. In addition, she was just recently named The Press Democrat’s All-Empire Large School Volleyball Player of the Year, while also earning co-MVP of the North Bay League. For her three-year career, she compiled 1,142 kills, 279 digs and 112 blocks. As a senior, Harris had an incredible 526 kills at 6.00 kills per set and a .446 hitting percentage to go along with 189 digs, 41 service aces and 31 blocks to earn First-Team All-Empire. She posted a career-high 31 kills in a 3-0 victory over Montgomery during her senior season. Following her junior season she was named First-Team All-Empire. After her sophomore season she was named First-Team All-Sonoma County and Second-Team All-Empire. She played for the Empire Volleyball Club. Both of Harris’ parents played basketball collegiately at the University of San Francisco and the University of Hawaii.
Jacobson is a 6’6” middle blocker was a two-year letterwinner at Clovis West High School. She was just recently named Under Armour Second-Team All-America. Jacobson was listed as a top-100 senior by PrepVolleyball.com. In addition, she was named third-team 2012 Mizuno/Volleyball Magazine High School All-American. She was named to the 2012 U.S. Women’s Junior National A2 team. Following her senior season, she was named Fresno Bee Volleyball Player of the Year. In 2012, Jacobson led Clovis West to its second straight Central Section Division I title as she recorded 304 kills to go along with 50 blocks on the season, while being named Tri-River Athletic Conference co-Player of the Year. As a junior, Jacobson added 131 kills and 67 blocks. She played for the Central California Volleyball Club.
“I think for the two players that are coming in Ashley Harris and Mackenzie Jacobson, their size and presence that they will have on the court will be something that we haven’t had in quite some time and maybe ever,” Rubio added. “Not only are they just tall, it’s one thing to be tall, but it’s another thing to be tall, skilled, and athletic and I think both those players possess those attributes. With that said, I think it’s going to take some time for them to get up to speed with the system and get strong enough to be able to play at the level that I think they will be capable of playing at. I anticipate they will help us actually quite a bit, be impact players for us, hopefully soon.”
Long is a 5’9” setter that was a two-time team captain and four-year starter at Juan Diego High School. During her senior season, she dished out 721 assists (8.0 p/s) to go along with 223 digs, 114 kills and 81 service aces. Long was on the all-state team, a Utah Gatorade Player of the Year nominee and the Juan Diego Player of the Year. Meanwhile, she was named first-team all-state, first-team all-region and was named to the all-tournament team as a junior. As a sophomore, Long led her squad to a runner-up finish at the state championship. She finished that season on the all-region team after setting a school record with 769 assists, while also earning second-team all-state honors along with being selected to the all-tournament team. Long was also named first-team all-region and honorable mention all-state following her freshman season.
“We recruited Jessika really late, we feel like she’s a terrific athlete, really well skilled kid and feel fortunate to get a player of her level at such a late date,” Rubio said. “She is a player that will be able to help us immediately.”
Snuka is a 5’6” setter that played her senior season at Kahuku High School in Hawaii after spending her first three years at Gilbert High School. She was named to the Volleyball Magazine Fab 50, which is a list of the top 50 high school seniors in the country. Snuka was also ranked No. 34 on PrepVolleyball.com’s list of the top 100 seniors. Following her senior season, she was ranked as one of the top-15 players in the state of Hawaii and was named first-team all-league. In addition, she was named to the Hawaii High School Athletic Association All-Tournament Team. In her junior season at Gilbert, she recorded 349 kills, 272 digs, 76 aces and 39 blocks to lead her squad to the class 5A state championship. She was also named second-team All-Tribune. As a sophomore, Snooka recorded 520 kills, 456 digs, 83 aces and 31 blocks to earn Arizona Central Region Player of the Year. She finished her freshman season with 283 kills, second-best on the team, and added a team-leading 110 aces and 453 digs, which ranked her second behind only Gilbert’s libero. Snuka was an Honorable Mention All-State selection in Class 5A. She played her club volleyball for AZ East Valley Juniors. Snuka is the granddaughter of former professional wrestling superstar Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka.
“I feel pretty fortunate to get a player of her skill level, her athleticism and her competitiveness,” Rubio said. “She’s a pretty significant player for us. I feel like she’s got a chance to be in the same category as Dana Burkholder (former U of A All-American). She’s got that type of potential, so we are very excited about her being in the program. She’s a game changer for us. It’s going to take time for her to get used to the speed and the parts of being in college but we feel strongly that she’s going to be a big part of our success.”
2013 Arizona Volleyball Signees
|Ashley Harris||RS||6-8||Petaluma, Calif. (Casa Grande HS)|
|McKenzie Jacobson||MB||6-6||Fresno, Calif. (Clovis West HS)|
|Jessika Long||S||5-9||Sandy, Utah (Juan Diego HS)|
|Penina Snuka||S||5-6||Gilbert, Ariz. (Kahuku HS)|
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