Carver Introduces First Recruiting Class

SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (June 2, 2015) -- After completing his first year as bench boss at John Brown University, head volleyball coach Ken Carver announced his first recruiting class this morning, which includes seven signees from five different states who have signed letters of intent to join the 2015-16 squad.

The signing class includes Brittany Ayers (Lamar, Mo.), Elizabeth Bjornsen (Fredericksburg, Va.), Karis Buff (Tulsa, Okla.), Bethany Maddox (Springdale, Ark.), Bayli Regan (Springfield, Mo.), Bailey Sager (Platte City, Mo.) and Kennedy Shelstead (Lewisville, Texas). With the exception of Buff, a transfer from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, the other six players signed will enter their freshman campaigns.

“I am very excited to welcome our seven new players who comprise the 2015 recruiting class,” said Carver. “Being able to land such a large recruiting class in my first go-round as the head coach of our program speaks very well to the positive momentum we were able to establish during this first year of my tenure as the head coach. As a whole, this group will definitely help out with our overall depth at each position and continue to elevate the caliber of student-athlete who is a part of our program.

“Beyond the athleticism and volleyball skills each of these young ladies possess, I am equally pleased with the character, maturity and drive I have seen from each of them throughout the recruiting process. I foresee these new players immediately meshing and gelling with our current players. Speaking of our returning players, I want to thank all of them for everything they did to help assist me in bringing in this recruiting class. All of them did a fantastic job of making each recruit feel welcomed and wanted as a future member of our team. With the continued hard work and dedication of our returning players during the off-season training program, coupled with this great group of incoming new players, I feel we have a really good opportunity to do something special this upcoming season. I will be looking forward to August when we will have our entire team together during our preseason training camp and seeing just how good we can be.”

The 2014 team finished the regular season 22-10 and boasted a 10-6 record in Sooner Athletic Conference play. Earning the fourth seed in the SAC tournament, JBU fell in the conference tournament quarterfinals to fifth-seeded Texas Wesleyan to complete the season. The seven incoming student-athletes will replace five Golden Eagles that were lost to graduation. John Brown opens the 2015 season against Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) on Aug. 21.

Brittany Ayers
Liberal • MH • 5-9 • Lamar, Mo.
Elizabeth Bjornsen
Fredericksburg Christian • OH • 5-10 • Fredericksburg, Va.
Brittany Ayers Three-year letterwinner at Liberal High School (Mo.) under head coach Becky Lowery ... named to the All-District first team all three seasons while leading Bulldogs to back-to-back district titles in junior and senior seasons ... earned All-Spring River Valley first team honors as a senior captain while leading the team in kills and blocks.

"A very determined and focused young lady. Brittany possess a lot of athleticism and is very versatile as a player in that she could potentially play multiple positions for our team. I feel Brittany’s best volleyball is still ahead of her, so I cannot wait to see how she will continue to grow and develop as a player. She’s a great encourager to her team both on and off the court."
Elizabeth Bjornsen Three-year letterwinner at Fredericksburg Christian School (Va.) under head coach Jeff Shaeffer ... helped guide Eagles to three-consecutive state tournament berths, including a quarterfinalist finish as a sophomore, a state runner-up as a junior and a state semifinalist as a senior ... led team to Delaney Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships as a junior ... totaled 205 kills and 97 aces in senior season, which finished second-best in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II in aces and ninth-best in kills ... single-match bests includes 17 kills and 14 aces, respectively.

"Beth has the skill and ability to be a six-rotation player at the outside hitter position. Very solid fundamentally and has the potential to be another impact-caliber player from the service line for our team and a great addition to our outside hitting corps."
Karis Buff
Union • OH • 6-1 • Tulsa, Okla.
Bethany Maddox
Springdale • DS • 5-6 • Springdale, Ark.
Karis Buff Transfer from Northeastern Oklahoma A& M ... played two seasons under head coach Eric Iverson ... helped lead Lady Norse to consecutive regional championships ... appeared in 29 matches, posting 233 kills, 68 blocks and a .220 hitting percentage as a sophomore ... three-year letterwinner at Union High School (Okla.) under head coach Chad McKee ... part of a Redskin team that went to three-consecutive state tournaments, amassing conference and regional championships each season ... named an Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association 6A All-State selection.

"I anticipate Karis stepping into the spot vacated by Tiffany Hunnicutt. While a bit shorter than Tiffany, Karis will provide a very solid blocking presence at the opposite hitter position as she is equally effective as an offensive threat. She possess a servant’s heart as it relates to her teammates and while she will have an immediate impact for us on the court, I could see her being as influential off the court with our team as well."
Kristen Howell One-year letterwinner at Spingdale High School (Ark.) under head coach Kylie Moad ... accumulated 226 digs, 190 kills and 15 blocks as a senior captain ... named the Bulldogs' Defensive Player of the Year.

"Bethany is another member of our recruiting class who is very determined. Bethany keeps improving and she’s an energetic and encouraging player on the court. She hustles and demonstrates the defensive tenacity I want from a defensive specialist. Bethany is another strong server who will help to further strengthen our already aggressive serving focus."
Bayli Reagan
Park Avenue Christian • OH • 5-11 • Springfield, Mo.
Bailey Sager
Northland Christian • DS • 5-6 • Platte City, Mo.
Bayli Regan Four-year letterwinner at Park Avenue Christian (Mo.) under head coach Sandy Eltringham ... led Panthers to back-to-back National Christian Homeschool Volleyball Championship Gold Division finishes as a junior and senior ... also paced team to a Southwest Christian Conference title in senior campaign, leading to an All-Conference nomination ... experienced a breakout junior season, setting program records in kills (351) and terminations in a single match (25) ... collected four consecutive National Christian Homeschool Volleyball Championship All-American honors.

"Bayli is a strong, physical player that plays with a lot of power. She is not one-dimensional, however, and she demonstrates a good volleyball IQ in being able to read an opponents’ defense and adjust her offense accordingly. I love the competitive nature and desire to be successful that Bayli demonstrates on the court."
Bailey Sager Four-year letterwinner at Northland Christian School (Mo.) under head coach Brandy Tanner ... helped lead Trailblazers to Missouri Christian School Athletic Association state titles in all four seasons ... holds program records in both career blocks and kills ... named a three-time conference Most Valuable Player and earned All-State first team accolades all four seasons.

"Bailey possess an above-average athleticism for her height and is very capable of being an outside hitter at our level. She is very coachable and shows a tremendous work ethic. She demonstrates a team-first attitude and does everything she can to help her team succeed. While potentially able to be a six-rotation player, I am anticipating Bailey will help bolster our corps of defensive specialists during her freshman campaign.
Kennedy Shelstead
Melissa • MH • 6-2 • Lewisville, Texas
Kennedy Shelstead Three-year letterwinner at Melissa High School (Texas) under head coaches Whitney Nelson, Tammy Clark and Taylor Eggelston ... helped Cardinals to three consecutive University Interscholastic League Bi-District championships and back-to-back Area and Regional Semifinal titles ... led team to Regional Final qualifiers as a junior and senior as the Cardinals boasted a 64-13 record in two seasons ... named Defensive Most Valuable Player in final season.

"Kennedy possess the athleticism and explosiveness you would normally find at the NCAA I or II level. She has the ability to be a dominant player both offensively and defensively due to the height she plays at above the net. Similar to our current middle hitters, Kennedy is a very versatile and efficient attacker able to hit at any point along the net. A very gifted athlete who will definitely help elevate the level of play of our team and our other middle hitters."


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