Wayne State College head volleyball coach Scott Kneifl announced Wednesday afternoon that six high school standouts from Nebraska have signed national letters of intent during the NCAA early signing period and will play volleyball for the Wildcats in the 2019-20 school year. Announcing their intentions to play for Wayne State College are Taya Beller of Lindsay, Maggie Brahmer from Pierce, Jessie Brandl of Stanton, Kelsie Cada and Elly Larson of Wahoo and Jordan McCormick from Elkhorn.
“We are extremely excited about our 2019 signing class,” remarked Coach Kneifl. “We feel like it could be one of the strongest we have ever had in terms of talent and depth. We have several players that will make an immediate impact in our program. This group, along with our returners from this year’s squad, will make for the most competitive practice gyms in the history of our program. We can’t wait to get this group on campus and get to work.”
Taya Beller is a 6-2 rightside hitter from Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family High School who is a three-sport standout in volleyball, basketball and track and field. This season, Beller recorded 422 kills, 500 digs, 125 blocks and 47 service aces helping her team to a 29-5 record and a Class D1 state runner-up finish. As a junior, she was Class D1 First Team All-State by the Omaha World Herald and Second Team All-State from the Lincoln Journal Star and earned First Team All-Conference honors as a junior and senior. In basketball last season, Beller received Class D1 Second Team All-State accolades after recording 12.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. In track and field, she has won the state title in the triple jump the last two seasons (Class C in 2017, Class D in 2018).
“Taya is an athletic, strong net player with a very big arm,” commented Kneifl. “Her length and athleticism at the net will be an exciting addition to our program. Her athleticism has already shown in other sports and we are expecting Taya to be a front row difference maker early in her career.”
Maggie Brahmer is a 6-0 middle hitter from Pierce High School who is a three-sport standout in volleyball, basketball and track and field. This season, Brahmer recorded 522 kills for the Bluejays, averaging 5.6 kills per set and finished her career with 1,216 kills. She is a three-time All-Mid States Conference selection in volleyball and two-time honoree in basketball where she averaged 11.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per game last season as a junior. Brahmer was the Class B runner-up in the high jump at the 2018 State Meet (5-3) and was fourth as a sophomore in 2017 clearing 5-2.
“Maggie is an extremely athletic middle hitter that is very quick side-to-side,” said Kneifl. “Although Maggie has not played as much volleyball as some, she is a quick learner and her athleticism and work ethic will allow her to transition to the college game in a short amount of time. She has the potential to be very offensive and her blocking will definitely be one of our team strengths in the next few years.”
Jessie Brandl is a 5-8 libero/outside hitter from Stanton High School who started four years in volleyball, basketball and track and field for the Mustangs. She played on four state tournament teams for Stanton in volleyball, winning the Class C2 state title as a sophomore while placing third the last two years (31-3 record this season) to go with a state runner-up finish as a freshman. In Brandl’s career, she posted 1,399 digs, 1,298 kills and 182 service aces averaging 4.0 digs and 3.7 kills per set. Brandl was Class C2 First Team All-State as a junior and First Team All-Conference all four years in high school.
“Jessie is a talented three-sport athlete that will train on both the outside and libero/defensive specialist positions at Wayne State,” stated Kneifl. She is a very skilled player that plays the game with a very high intensity level. She is a true competitor who will make our gym more competitive the minute she steps on campus.”
Kelsie Cada is a 6-0 outside hitter from Wahoo Neumann High School who started four years in volleyball and two in basketball for the Cavaliers. This season, Cada recorded 437 kills and 453 digs helping Neumann to a 30-5 record and a fourth place finish at the Class C1 State Tournament. As a junior, Cada was a Class C1 Second Team All-State selection and finished her career with 1,468 kills.
“Kelsie is a very dynamic six-rotation outside hitter who we feel can make an immediate impact to our program,” boasted Kneifl. “Kelsie plays high school and club volleyball on very good programs which will make her jump to the college game that much easier. She is a multi-talented player and we are excited to see what she can do in Wildcat Black and Gold.”
Elly Larson is a 6-0 outside hitter from Wahoo High School who started four years in volleyball and three in basketball for the Warriors. This season, Larson helped Wahoo High win a second straight Class C1 state title with a 35-2 record posting 329 kills and 332 digs. She closed her career with 1,261 kills and 893 digs and 175 service aces. Last season as a junior, Larson collected Class C1 First Team All-State honors and was a Second Team Super State selection by the Lincoln Journal Star.
“Elly is a very skilled volleyball player that can play multiple positions,” stated Kneifl. “She has been successful at the school and club levels and we are excited that she will be bringing her leadership qualities to our team. She is coming off an injury but we know she will continue to work hard to become as healthy as she can to ensure she is playing at the highest level here at WSC.”
Jordan McCormick is a 5-9 libero/defensive specialist from Elkhorn South High School, lettering in volleyball four seasons. This season, McCormick averaged 4.6 digs per set (518 total) while leading her team to a 31-9 record and Class B runner-up finish while being named to the All-Tournament Team. In her four year career, McCormick accumulated 1,105 digs with 81 service aces.
“Jordan is a solid back row player that can make dynamic defensive moves,” remarked Coach Kneifl. “She has a great knowledge of the game and will help our deep court immensely. Although Jordan will train as both an outside and libero/defensive specialist, she will be spending most of her time training on the first contact in serve receive and floor defense, which is where we see her making the biggest impact in our program.”
Wayne State finished the 2018 season with records of 22-9 overall and 13-7 in the Northern Sun Conference, losing two seniors to graduation.