WVB: Westmont volleyball brings in five new players

Westmont Volleyball head coach Patti Cook has announced the signing of five recruits for the upcoming 2015 season – four incoming freshmen and one transfer from the University of Connecticut.

Courtney Crosby, who hails from Manhattan Beach, saw action in 22 matches for the Huskies during her freshman year (2013) of college before red shirting her sophomore season. She was twice named to the American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team.

“I feel like we struck gold with Courtney transferring in,” said Cook. “We wanted her to come to Westmont her freshman year, so we were pretty familiar with her game and were thrilled when she decided to come back to the west coast. She will add depth of skill and a vocal presence to our back court.

As a high school student-athlete, Crosby played for Los Alamitos which won the CIF-Southern Section Division 1-AA championship in her junior year. A Griffin Character Award winner, Crosby was honored as a four-year scholar-athlete.

At the club level, Crosby’s Tstreet Volleyball team finished third at junior nationals in the open division in both her junior and senior seasons.

Joining the Warriors from Saugus High School and Legacy Volleyball Club is 5-8 setter Amy Buffham.

“Amy is not the first player we have gotten from Legacy,” noted Cook, “so I know the quality of coaching they are receiving at that club. She is a versatile athlete that has experience hitting in the front row in addition to setting. I’m excited to see how quickly she adapts to running a college offense.

Buffham was a three-year varsity player at Saugus and received the Most Improved Award in 2013. At Legacy, her team won the championship at the Volleyball Festival in 2012 and 2013.

Outside hitter Samantha Neely of La Serna High School comes to the Warriors from Whittier. The six-foot Neely, who can also play at the right side hitter position, was the Del Rio League MVP as a junior, but unable to play her senior season due to an injury.

“I first saw Sam at a prospect camp when she was a sophomore,” said Cook. “She impressed me with her high reach and aggressive play. Sam has continued to improve and I think she will make a fantastic impact at Westmont in her four years. She is a big presence at the net offensively and defensively and keeps a smile on her face while dominating her opponents.”

A four-year scholar-athlete, Neely was twice named the team’s Best Offensive Player. She was also a track and field athletic competing in the long jump, triple jump and setting the league record in the high jump. Neely also played five years of club volleyball for the SoCal Juniors Volleyball Club.

A Santa Barbara local, Emma Harrah is a middle blocker who played high school volleyball for San Marcos and club volleyball for the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club.

“Emma is a fun player to watch,” said Cook. “She brings a fire and intensity to the game and challenges those around her to do the same. Even though she is slightly undersized at the middle blocker position, Emma more than makes up for it with her speed and athleticism. I love bringing on local players and Emma played for a very good San Marcos team this past season. She is a fantastic fit for Westmont’s rigorous academics, Christ-centered atmosphere, and competitive volleyball program.”

San Marcos won the Channel League Championship last season and Harrah was named to the second team All-Channel League. At Santa Barbara Volleyball Club, Harrah’s team won the Blue Division at the AAU Tournament this year.

Tallest of the new recruits is Elizabeth Dahlberg of El Camino Fundamental High School in Sacramento. Dahlberg, who stands at 6-4, played club volleyball for SacPerformance Volleyball Club.

“Even though Libby has played mostly middle for her teams, she has the raw skills to go anywhere in the front row,” asserted Cook. “She plays very long and is a dominating force in the front row with her block and offense. I imagine it won’t take Libby very long to adjust to the speed of the college game as she has played on very skilled teams with fantastic setting. I’m excited to see what position Libby lands in. She could make an impact in a few different spots.”

A three-time All-Capital Athletic League Selection, Dahlberg was named to the All-Sacramento team and the Sportstar All-Star Team. Her team reached the CIF section championships twice and twice earned a spot in the Northern California Championship finals.

The Warriors open the 2015 campaign by participating in the Biola /Red Lion-Anaheim Summer Slam. Westmont will take on Hastings (Neb.) and the College of Idaho on Thursday, August 20. The following day they will play Rocky Mountain (Mont.) and Bellevue (Neb.).

Westmont’s home opener in Murchison Gymnasium is scheduled for Tuesday, September 8 at seven o’clock against Capilano of British Columbia.