May 27, 2014

@EWUVolleyball Adds Five New Faces In Time For 2014 Campaign

Cheney, Wash. – The Eastern Washington volleyball team continues to bolster its squad for the upcoming 2014 season with the signing of five players to offers of admission, head coach Wade Benson announced Wednesday, May 28.

Kimberly Brinkworth (Kennewick, Wash./Southridge HS), Sara Mackin (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep) and Ashlee Vaoifi (Whitmore, Hawaii/Mililani HS) will join the Eagles after standout high school careers while Megan Kurz (San Diego, Calif./Patrick Henry HS) comes to Eastern after stops at Pace University and Grossmont College. Gabrielle Johnson (Tumwater, Wash./Tumwater HS) returns to Eastern after spending a year at the Anthem School of Ministry.

The talented group brings EWU's incoming class to nine, following the commitments of three players in the early signing period and the addition of Nicole Rigoni last month.

"We're excited to welcome this group to the Eagle Family," head coach Wade Benson said. "They will strengthen our depth and make us a stronger team from top to bottom."

Standing 5-11, Brinkworth earned four letters in volleyball while at Southridge High School, twice collecting First Team all-MCC honors while leading her team to an MCC title as a senior. She was named to the Washington 3A State All-Tournament Team three times after guiding the Suns to third-place finishes in the state tournament in 2012 and 2013, receiving all-area recognition both times.

The daughter of Eric and Jennifer Brinkworth, both of which attended EWU, she plans to major in pre-med and hopes to become an anesthesiologist. She chose Eastern because it was the best fit for her and she felt the campus environment and coaching staff matched her personality and would give her the best chance for success.

A 5-7 libero, Mackin joins the Eagles after earning three letters in volleyball for the Bulldogs of Gonzaga Preparatory School. She was a Second Team All-Greater Spokane League selection as a senior, leading her team to a spot in the district playoffs.

The daughter of Mark and Patti Mackin, she intends to major in criminal justice. She chose to attend EWU because she loved the campus atmosphere and it allowed her to stay close to home.

Checking in at 5-5, Vaoifi comes to Cheney after graduating from Mililani High School. She started her high school career at Leilehua High School, twice receiving OIA West First Team honors while also earning state all-tournament honors. She has been part of the Mililani Volleyball Club for six years, earning MVP honors in nearly every age group.

The Daughter of Tigilau Vaoifi and Amy Wright, she plans to major in criminology with the hope of working for the FBI. She chose to attend EWU because it fulfilled her goal of competing in volleyball at the collegiate level and that it supported her academic goals.

The 6-1 Kurz joins the Eagles after stops at Pace University and Grossmont College. While at Pace, she received Northeast-10 Conference Freshman of the Week honors three times and was named to the NE-10 All-Rookie Team following a stellar first season. She spent last season at Grossmont College, leading the team with 367 kills en route to earning First Team Pacific Coast Athletic Conference honors. Kurz led Grossmont to the CCCAA title game and was named to the CCCAA All-Tournament Team. She capped of an impressive year by earning PCAC Female Athlete of the Year honors.

Kurz graduated from Patrick Henry High School in 2012. The daughter of Alfred and Karen Kurz, she plans to major in communications.

Standing 5-11, Johnson returns to Cheney after one year at the Anthem School of Ministry. The younger sister of former EWU football letter winners Matt and Zach Johnson, she redshirted her first year at Eastern in 2012 after graduating from Tumwater High School. While at Tumwater, Johnson earned four varsity letters and was twice named a first team all-league selection. As a junior, she was received all-area honors from the Tacoma News Tribune and was an all-state pick.

The daughter of Shawn and Carrie Johnson, she is undecided on a major and chose to return to Eastern because she loves the sense of community and says it feels like home.

The Eagles open their 2014 campaign on Friday, Aug. 29, with a pair of matches as part of the UNC Wilmington Tournament. EWU returns nine letter winners from last year's squad.

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