FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas volleyball team bolstered its 2014 recruiting class last week with the addition of four student-athletes during the April signing period. With their recent group, the Razorbacks will welcome Bailee Hankenson, Holly Hankenson, Corinne Gajcak and Sam Skinner for the 2014 season. This is the sixth recruiting class at Arkansas for head coach Robert Pulliza.
Coupled with its additions in November, the Razorbacks’ incoming class currently includes eight newcomers. The initial wave of 2014 recruits included Sophie Bethke, Shelby Harper, Krista Kolbinskie and Kori Ortiz. Harper and Bethke were part of the PrepVolleyball.com Top-100 Senior Aces list at No. 93 and 95, respectively. The freshman duo joined the program in January in order to participate in spring workouts.
Bailee Hankenson5-9 || SetterDecatur, Ind. (Bellmont HS)
Hankenson finished her prep career as the all-time assists leader at Bellmont High School in Decatur, Ind. She was a three-time IHSAA All-State performer, earning first-team accolades during her junior and senior years. Hankenson was named to three Northeast Hoosier All-Conference teams with first-team honors in 2012 and 2013 and was twice selected to the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette All-Area Team.
Following her freshman year, she was an Honorable Mention pick to PrepVolleyball’s Frosh 59. As a freshman starter, she helped lead Bellmont to the 2010 Indiana 3A state title and 34-4 record. Hankenson was also part of three Northeast Hoosier Conference team titles. A dual-sport star for Bellmont, she had a top-five finish in the high jump to help the track and field team to a state title at the 2014 Hoosier State Relays. In the classroom, she was an academic all-state performer as senior. She plays with the Fort Wayne Juniors club.
Holly Hankenson5-9 || Outside HitterDecatur, Ind. (Bellmont HS)
Hankenson was a two-time selection to the IHSAA All-State Second Team in 2012 and 2013. She was also a three-time Northeast Hoosier All-Conference pick with first-team honors as a junior and senior. Hankenson also earned recognition on the 2012 and 2013 Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette All-Area teams.
Playing alongside twin sister Bailee, she was named to the PrepVolleyball Frosh 59 Honorable Mention list after helping Bellmont to the 2010 Indiana 3A state title and 34-4 record. Hankenson won three Northeast Hoosier Conference team titles. She plays with the Fort Wayne Juniors club. Hankenson is also a standout in track and field, most recently winning the long jump at the 2014 Hoosier State Relay finals and helping Bellmont to the team title.
Corinne Gajcak5-10 || Libero/Defensive SpecialistLisle, Ill. (Iowa/Naperville North HS)
Gajcak comes to Fayetteville as a sophomore after spending the first year of her collegiate career at the University of Iowa. She saw action in eight matches during the 2013 season including appearances against NCAA Tournament teams Illinois, Penn State and Purdue. During her prep career, she was a three-time captain for Naperville North High School while leading the team in kills and aces as a sophomore, junior and senior.
In recognition of her standout play at Naperville, Gajcak was named to the Under Armour Preseason All-America Watch List and Chicago Sun Times list of top 50 players in the Chicagoland area. She was also selected as one of the area’s top 30 seniors and earned a spot on PrepVolleyball’s Top 251 list. Gajcak led Naperville to two conference titles. She played for Sports Performance Volleyball Club and helped her team to three top-five finishes at the AAU Girls Junior National Championships including a third-place open finish in 2011.
Sam Skinner5-10 || Outside HitterBirmingham, Ala. (UAB/Oak Mountain HS)
Skinner joins the Razorbacks after spending the first three years of her collegiate career at the University of Alabama-Birmingham; she was a redshirt during the 2011 season. With the Blazers, she was a two-time All-Conference USA performer including selection to the First Team in 2013. Skinner was the 2012 C-USA Freshman of the Year and earned a spot on the league’s all-freshman team. During the 2013 season, she finished 28th in the NCAA with 4.22 kills per set and 29th overall with 4.73 points per set.
In her two years at Birmingham, Skinner amassed 624 kills (3.37 k/s), 291 digs (1.57 d/s) and 102 blocks (0.55 b/s). She registered a .252 hitting percentage during her sophomore campaign. Skinner comes to Fayetteville with career highs of 26 kills against Wyoming in 2013 and 16 digs against SMU in 2012. In two matches against SEC teams in 2013, she averaged 20.5 kills per match and 7.5 digs per match.
Pulliza and associate head coach Carol Price-Torok have put together consecutive top-30 recruiting classes including last year’s class which was the top-ranked group in the Southeastern Conference and No. 16 in the nation, the highest ranking in program history. This also marks the first Arkansas recruiting class for first-year assistant coach Ben Boldt. Recruiting class rankings are released by PrepVolleyball.com each spring.
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