FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas volleyball head coach Robert Pulliza has announced the addition of four Texas prep standouts that will join the program in 2014. With Wednesday’s additions, the Razorbacks welcome Sophie Bethke, Shelby Harper, Krista Kolbinskie and Kori Ortiz; Bethke and Harper are scheduled to join the team in January for the spring semester. This marks the sixth recruiting class for Pulliza at Arkansas.
The 2014 recruiting class includes a pair of PrepVolleyball.com Top-100 Senior Aces in Harper at No. 93 and Bethke at No. 95. Over the past three years, Arkansas has now added seven top-100 players to its roster. Along with Bethke and Harper, that list includes Liz Fortado (No. 75/2011), Danielle Harbin (No. 78/2012), Breana Jones (No. 52/2012), Ana Sofia Jusino (No. 79/2011) and Megan Mollett (No. 97/2012).
Sophie Bethke6-0 | SWimberley, Texas (Wimberley)
Bethke is a 6-0 setter from Wimberley, Texas, where she plays for Wimberley High School. In addition to the Senior Ace ranking, she was named to the Lonestar Volleyball All-Texas Team to begin her senior year. Bethke earned all-state accolades following her junior season and was placed on the Texas Sportswriters "Player to Watch" list. As a sophomore, she was named the District 27-3A Setter of the Year.
Still active in this year’s state tournament, Bethke has helped guide Wimberley into the Class 3A regional semifinal which will be played this weekend. She plays club for Austin Performance which has a pair of top-11 finishes at USA Nationals including a third-place finish in 2012. Bethke is also a two-time selection to the USA Volleyball A2 program.
Shelby Harper6-2 | MBCorpus Christi, Texas (Flour Bluff HS)
Harper is a 6-2 middle blocker from Corpus Christi, Texas, where she played for Flour Bluff High School. As a senior, she guided the Hornets to the District 31-4A title for the second consecutive year. Harper earned district and All-South Texas Volleyball MVP accolades following her junior season in which she totaled 411 kills for Flour Bluff and led her team to the Class 4A regional semifinals.
In addition to the 2013 district title, Harper led Flour Bluff into the Class 4A area final in the state tournament. She plays club for Houston Stellar.
Krista Kolbinskie5-9 | OH/DSSan Antonio, Texas (Reagan HS)
Kolbinskie is a 5-9 outside hitter and defensive specialist from San Antonio, Texas, where she plays for Reagan High School. She began her senior season with three all-tournament selections and an MVP performance during the Rattlers’ non-district schedule. Kolbinskie was also voted a team captain prior to her senior season. Through the team’s first 45 matches of the year, she has totaled 424 kills (3.6 k/s), 380 digs (3.2 d/s) and 44 service aces.
Kolbinskie has helped Reagan into the Class 5A regional semifinal which will be played this weekend. She has also been part of two District 26-5A team titles at Reagan. She plays club for Alamo Kaepa Premier and helped her team to a 10th-place national finish out of 191 teams at the 2012 AAU Tournament in Orlando.
Kori Ortiz5-5 | L/DSSouthlake, Texas (Carroll HS)
Ortiz is a 5-5 defensive specialist from Southlake, Texas, where she plays for Carroll High School. With Ortiz anchoring the defense, the Dragons have won four District 4-5A titles during her prep career. She has helped Carroll set the school record for wins in back-to-back seasons with this year’s team sitting at 44-1 and riding a 37-match winning streak.
Ortiz continues her senior campaign this weekend as she has helped lead Carroll into the Class 5A regional semifinals of the state tournament. She plays club for Tejas Volleyball Club which has a trio of top-30 finishes at the Junior Olympics over the past three years. In the classroom, Ortiz is a three-time academic all-district student.
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 nationally, the highest ranking in program history. Recruiting class rankings are released by PrepVolleyball.com each spring.
Arkansas returns to the court Nov. 22 for the start of its final home stand of the regular season. The Razorbacks will host South Carolina and Mississippi State during the weekend. The team will then travel to Columbia, Mo., for a Nov. 27 match against No. 7 Missouri in the regular-season finale.
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