Hazelwood Finalizes 2013 Roster With Quartet Of Standouts
STARKVILLE, Miss. – With just over four weeks remaining until the 2013 Mississippi State volleyball season, coach Jenny Hazelwood has finalized her roster, adding Gabby Litwin, Katlyn Mataya, Kelsey Stommes and Bali Leffall-Young.
Litwin joins the Bulldogs after a stellar prep career at Plano East Sr. High School in Plano, Texas. The defensive specialist lettered three-years and led the Panthers with 515 assists and 51 service aces her senior year as the team’s captain. She also garnered Defensive Player of the Year and Co-MVP honors. After leading her club with 498 digs her junior campaign, Litwin was named the MaxPrep Player of the Year. She also played six years of club volleyball with coach Mike Minnis’ Dallas Premier and Dallas Summit teams.
She is the daughter of former NCAA standouts, John Litwin, who played soccer at UNLV, and Lorrie Litwin, who played volleyball at Appalachian State.
“Gabby comes highly recommended to us by her club coaches and private lesson instructor,” Hazelwood said. “She is a highly skilled defender, passer and server, which will add immensely to our back court and ensure our back court is a force to reckon with in the SEC."
Mataya transfers to MSU after playing her freshman season at Alaska-Fairbanks, where she was named the Nanooks’ Most Valuable Player after leading the team with 887 assists. She also tallied 61 kills, 203 digs and 21 service aces as a setter. During her prep career, Mataya was a four-year letter winner at Burlington-Edison High School in Mount Vernon, Wash., where she led her nationally-ranked squad to a 31-0 record en route to capturing the Washington Class 2A State Championship. She also holds school records for career assists (3,242) and career service aces (243). Following her senior campaign, Mataya was named Gator Player of the Year by ESPN and earned Prep Volleyball All-America honors.
The three-sport athlete was also named Skagit Country Track Athlete of the Year and earned All-Conference Honorable Mention in basketball. She is the daughter of Frank and Sharon Mataya.
"Katlyn comes to us after competing at Alaska-Fairbanks last year where she lead her team in assists and assists per game,” Hazelwood commented. “She is a fierce competitor and has all the skill sets in place to push our offense and our hitters to new heights this fall."
Stommes will join the Bulldogs after playing two seasons at Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minn., where she led her team to the 2011 NJCAA Division III National Championship. The two-time NJCAA All-American prepped at Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Minn., and starred three years for coach Ted Faber’s team. Following her senior campaign, Stommes garnered St. Cloud Times Play of the Year honors and earned All-Conference selections her junior and seniors years. The middle blocker also played softball in high school.
The daughter of Roger and Karen Stommes played three years of club volleyball with Granite City Volleyball, including a trip to nationals in 2007. Stommes also has a brother playing professional basketball in Europe.
"Kelsey brings us additional depth at the middle blocker position along with experience,” Hazelwood said. “Her two years competing at the junior college level, which includes a national championship in 2011, provides us with an additional defensive and offensive threat in the middle.”
Lefall-Young, a 6-2 middle blocker from Cerritos, Calif., starred four years for coach Khan Vo’s squad at Cerritos High School. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year paced her club to the Suburban League Champions title her sophomore and juniors years. Lefall-Young capped her senior campaign with the Coaches Award after leading the Cerritos High School Dons to a 25-8 record. She also played two years of club volleyball with the SoCal Juniors under the direction of Adrianne Spear.
She is the daughter of former Bulldog football player and St. Louis Ram Robert Young and Sonia Lefall.
"The addition of Bali to our team adds another solid blocker to the middle position increasing the competition this fall,” said Hazelwood.
The Bulldogs begin the season on Aug. 30 and 31 hosting Southeast Missouri State and UALR in the Maroon Classic. MSU will play at 1 and 7 p.m. each day.