Volleyball team signs two recruits

The USF volleyball team has added two new players who signed national letters of intent, coach Claire Lessinger announced Thursday.

Stephanie Bradley, an outside hitter, and Kate Verhoff, a setter, will comprise part of a large incoming class for the 2005 season, which looks to rebound from a disappointing 2004 season that ended with a 9-20 record.

Bradley, 6-1, is from Orange Park, played for Middleburg High School and was first team All-State as a junior and senior, not to mention Jacksonville Area Player of the Year her senior season. Bradley was listed No. 81 recruit in the nation on PrepVolleyball.com.

Bradley holds her school’s record in career kills and service aces. She led her team in kills as a sophomore, junior and senior, blocks as a freshman, sophomore and junior and digs and aces as a senior.

“Stephanie brings some new dimensions to our team,” Lessinger said. “We are thrilled to have a dynamic attacker on the outside, who will be a physical blocker because of her size.”

Verhoff, 5-10, played for Elyria High School in Ohio and was named the Morning Journal & Chronicle Player of the Year. She leaves Elyria as the school’s second all-time leading scorer.

“Kate is hands down one of the most natural talents we have ever had in a freshman class,” Lessinger said. “Her natural ability combined with her highly intelligent court sense makes a dynamic duo in the sport of volleyball. We look forward to the impact she will have on this program in the next four years.”

Stephanie Augustavo, who is an early fall signee for the USF volleyball team, will also join the team in the summer. Augustavo was awarded All-America honors from PrepVolleyball.com after leading her Bishop Blanchet High volleyball team to the Class 3A state championship in Washington.

Augustavo — a 5-10 outside hitter from Shoreline, Wash — was also named the Class 3A state player of the year.

The Bulls haven’t had a winning record since the 2002-03 season, when they went 30-7 but lost to Florida 3-1 in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The 2002-03 campaign included C-USA Player of the Decade Michelle Collier, who holds two USF career records in kills (2,729) and digs (1,747), so the Bulls are stacking up on recruits to return to the postseason.

“I can’t say enough about this incoming class as a whole,” Lessinger said. “The current players have worked extremely hard in the off-season to create the new foundation for USF volleyball, and I believe these freshmen will blend right into the dynamics already created. The future is bright.”