TUCSON, Ariz. – With the program’s first ever season wrapping up this weekend, the Arizona sand volleyball team is looking forward to the future with the signing of Olivia Macdonald and Hailey Devlin for 2014-15, head coach Steve Walker announced on Tuesday.
Macdonald will come to Tucson from Piopio, New Zealand as a 6’0” net player, marking the first international recruit in program history. She has extensive beach experience on the international level and has twice earned MVP honors on the national level. Macdonald will come to the U of A as a freshman with four years of eligibility.
“Olivia will be a great addition to our ever expanding sand volleyball team,” Walker said. “She’s well-traveled for her age and brings a good deal of international level experience to the roster. She was part of a burgeoning national team program in New Zealand that is very much on the rise and the level of competition she was able to face worldwide will serve her well as she transitions to the collegiate game.”
Macdonald also represented New Zealand at the under-19 World Beach Volleyball Championships last summer in Portugal. Meanwhile, she participated in the U.S. club nationals and been selected in the New Zealand indoor squad without even trialing. She saw plenty of court time in the world indoor qualifiers held in China.
“Having made the transition from the hardwood to the sand just over a year ago, she is a formidable blocker who gets out of the sand with real ease and is really developing an offensive mindset,” Walker added. “We look for Olivia to be a point scorer at the net, be it offensively or as an effective blocker.”
“It is awfully exciting to bring an international student-athlete to our program in only our second recruiting class to date. I think it not only speaks to our department’s level of commitment to sand volleyball, but also to how global this sport really has become.”
Meanwhile, Hailey Devlin is a 6’2” incoming freshman that hails from San Diego, Calif. Devlin was an All-CIF first-team selection and a first-team all-conference selection as a senior at Scripps Ranch HS. She was also a second-team All-San Diego Section selection following her senior season.
“Hailey will be a terrific addition to the team as she is a player with the rare blend of both length and skill,” Walker said. “On the hardwood, Hailey plays in what is considered the most competitive region of volleyball in the country and her team relies on her to play every phase of the game.”
She helped lead her team to a 35-3 overall record and a league title during her senior season, marking the best record in school history. Devlin has plenty of sand experience as she played for the USA Junior National Beach Team.
“She really started to find her timing and rhythm as a player on the beach this past spring and had outstanding summer of 2013, capping it off with a medal in the gold bracket of the USA High Performance Championships in July,” Walker said.
“For a player well over 6-foot in height, Hailey’s understanding of the game, control and timing will serve us really well and I look for her to only get stronger and more dynamic the longer she is in the program.”
Macdonald and Devlin have also spent time as multisport athletes in their prep days. In addition to Macdonald’s four letters in volleyball, she also lettered four times in basketball and five times in netball. Meanwhile, Devlin also competed in track.
The Wildcats will close out the regular season with a rivalry match at Arizona State on Thursday and will host No. 1 USC and Boise State at home on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat sand volleyball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaSandVB and on Instagram @arizonasandvolleyball.