By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University volleyball Head Coach Tom Shoji has announced the 2018 recrutiing class for the Bearcats. The class includes three freshmen, one each from Hawaii, Kansas and California.
Joining the Bearcats as freshmen are Kela Iwata, a defensive specialist and libero from Honolulu, Hawaii; Ana James, a middle hitter and opposite from Imperial Beach, California; and Natalie Klotz, an outside hitter and opposite from Bonner Springs, Kansas.
Here is the Willamette recruiting class for the 2018 season:
Kela Iwata (Fr., 5'3", DS/LIB, Honolulu, HI/Kalani HS) played at Kalani High School. She also has extensive club experience over the past few years, both in Hawaii and at large qualifiers on the mainland. In addition to competing in volleyball, Iwata also played water polo in high school. As a student at Kalani, she was very successful in the classroom.
Coach Shoji about Kela:
"Kela is a good defensive player. She will add a lot to our already great defensive specialist/libero position."
Ana James (Fr., 6'0", MH/OPP, Imperial Beach, CA/Mar Vista HS) participated in athletics at Mar Vista High School. She was a three-sport athlete who also played for the girls' basketball and softball teams. During the 2017 season, she helped Mar Vista earn a 15-10 overall record in volleyball, including 8-4 (3rd place) in the Metro South Bay League. She was named to the Mar Vista All-Academic Team by the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Coach Shoji about Ana:
"She brings a lot of athleticism to the court. She's a strong athlete who will work hard at improving everyday in the gym. She has the size we need at either the middle hitter or opposite position."
Natalie Klotz (Fr., 5'10", OH/OPP, Bonner Springs, KS/Bonner Springs HS) played at Bonner Springs High School. She gained significant experience at the club level as well, and will compete with her club at the 2018 National Championships in Detroit from late June through early July. She is a six-rotation outside hitter, who can contribute throughout a match.
Coach Shoji about Natalie:
"She's an accomplished passer/defensive player as well as a good 'pin' (near the antenna) hitter. We expect her to contribute right away to our success in 2018."