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Volleyball lands four recruits

Written By Mike Turk, Staff Writer

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Volleyball Head Coach Mike Bruno has kept busy this offseason, as he has landed four new recruits in preparations for the fall 2017 volleyball season.

After winning the River States Conference (RSC) regular season title last year, Coach Bruno is losing four key players from the roster, including both starting middles in Nikki Inquartano and Kirsten Burkes.

Inquartano led the RSC in total blocks last season with 149 and had a career-high in kills with 183. When Inquartano was not on the court, Burkes was picking up where Inquartano left off. Burkes had a comeback season that resulted in 74 blocks and 164 kills.

Bruno will also be without his starting setter from the past three years, Emily Meng. The Indianapolis, Ind. native ranked fourth in the RSC in assists (1023) and averaged 7.8 assists per set.

Shiloh Simonson, the 5-foot-9 all-around outside hitter spent her last four years at Point Park. Simonson surpassed 1,000 career kills last season and ranked second on the team in kills with 293, only behind right side hitter Ashley Taylor (310).

“We’re trying to pack on as many recruits as we can,” said senior defensive specialist and Captain Juliana Ross. “It’s going to be a struggle filling in what we had.”

A key signing was Meg Reineke from Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio.

Reineke is 5-foot-10 and will be expected to try and fill the shoes of Simonson on the outside and play all six rotations. Reineke, who will be transferring as a junior, is a two-time all conference player who also earned NJCAA Division II second-team All-American honors. In her two years at Sinclair, she collected more than 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs.

“I’m definitely excited to play against better competition,” Reineke said about making the transition to NAIA volleyball. “I think it will be fun and good for me too. It’ll make me work harder.”

The Ohio recruiting did not stop there.

Abby Miller, a 5-foot-9 native of St. Clairsville, Ohio will start her collegiate volleyball career at Point Park. Miller was an all-district player her senior year on the outside. Miller was a middle blocker for the majority of her volleyball career until she was moved to the outside her senior season. She collected 196 kills and recorded 44 aces from the back line last season.

“I liked how welcoming they all were,” Miller said about her new team. “They brought me into the team immediately and I like their chemistry.”

Bruno was able to recruit some local talent as well. Jada Jones will be coming to Point Park next season from Keystone Oaks High School. The 5-foot-10 Jones was a middle blocker her senior year at Keystone Oaks, but Coach Bruno has other plans.

“She will probably be on one of the pins,” Bruno said. “She’s very athletic and coachable.”

The fourth recruit was named to the All-WPIAL third team her senior season at Gateway. Jazlyn Rozier, a 5-foot-11 middle blocker, will also start her collegiate volleyball career at Point Park. Rozier currently plays on a club team coached by Bruno. Thus far, her new coach likes what he sees.

“She will be a for sure middle hitter next season,” Bruno said. “She’s going to transition to the collegiate game pretty easily from what I see.”

Rozier’s mother, Jana Orlofske, played volleyball at Point Park from 1994-97 and is in the hall of fame.  She was the conference freshmen of the year and then she went on to be selected for first-team all-conference the next three years and, on top of that, earned conference player of the year her senior season.

“With a bigger roster comes more personalities,” Bruno said. “With more personalities comes the bigger challenge of creating that cohesiveness.”

Coach Bruno is still working to get more recruits for the 2017 season. He intends on having a deep bench, and is fishing in every pond possible.

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