By: Sergio Bonilla / Sports Director
Golden Panthers’ head coach Danijela Tomic will have five new freshmen players coming into the 2009 roster.
This is the first recruiting class during Tomic’s tenure that will be composed of just freshmen. The team is losing two seniors, but the roster will be expanded from 13 to 16 players.
Three international players headline the recruiting class along with one player from Texas and another from California.
Hope Williams, Jovana Bjelica and Marija Prsa are the three outside hitters of the 2009 class. Williams and Bjelica are each 5-foot-10 while Prsa is 5-foot-11.
Lisa Hooey is a 6-foot-3 middle blocker, and Chanel Araujo is a 5-foot-6 libero.
Araujo and Hope are on academic scholarships. While attending Elkins High School in Missouri City, Tex., Hope recored 701 kills, 584 digs, 81 blocks and 120 aces.
Araujo was a three-time defensive player of the year at Rosary High School in Seal Beach, Calif.
Bjelica from Belgrade, Serbia led her team to a second place finish at the European Championship in 2007. Outside hitter Prsa was named the high school athlete of the year in Zagreb County in her home country of Croatia.
Hooey’s team from Ontario, Canada went undefeated and was named the Canadian National Champions in 2007.
The team finished last season with a 28-7 record and was ousted from the NCAA Tournament in the first round against No. 22 Colorado State.