Feb. 21, 2005
Iowa Volleyball Coach Cindy Fredrick has known all along that Iowa has a great group of recruits coming in next year and she’s not the only one who knows. John Tawa, the man behind PrepVolleyball.com, a website dedicated to high school and club level play, has confirmed it by naming future Hawkeyes Kiley Fister, Catherine Smale and Emily Hiza to the prep all-America team.
“We weren’t surprised with these three athletes being named all-American. We knew when we were recruiting them they were viable candidates. We’re also excited because we came into the recruiting game late. This is a sign of where our Iowa program is going.”
UI Volleyball Coach Cindy Fredrick
Players had to first be nominated to be considered. Tawa’s connections to high school and club coaches around the country make his selections accurate. To be considered an athlete must have made a massive impact and been the best player on their team, as well as one of the top three to five players in the state, with exceptions in volleyball hotbeds such as California, Texas, Indiana and Illinois. Players in these states must be among the top 10 high school players, regardless of class.
Fister and Smale fall into the latter category as they hail from Illinois. Fister, a 5-10 setter and outside hitter from St. Charles, IL, will be a full-time setter at Iowa. As captain during the 2004 season at St. Francis High School, Fister led her squad to the 2004 Class A state championship.
“I feel extremely honored and fortunate to have been given this honor by PrepVolleyball.com! I believe there are several female volleyball athletes throughout the country who are greatly deserving of this recognition; it truly is a privilege to have received it,” said Fister.
Smale, also of St. Charles, is a 6-1 outside hitter. At Rosary High School she was a captain and was selected to numerous all-area teams.
“I was surprised when I heard I made the all-America list. Just to be recognized with all the other great players on the list was awesome. It was the perfect ending to my high school volleyball career,” said Smale.
Tawa named Hiza (Swink, CO) to a separate all-American category for liberos. As Tawa explains, trying to determine the best defensive players in the country is hard. The Dandy Lion category lists the top all-around high school players who will most likely play only in the back row at the collegiate level.
Hiza, despite being just 5-7, played middle blocker for her high school team. She was a four-year co-captain as well as a four-year all-conference, all-region, and all-state selection.
“It made me happy to know that all the hours in the gym had paid off,” said Hiza. “I always feel pressure to perform well.”
Tawa’s reasoning for selecting Hiza as a first team all-American is that she was a Colorado All-State selection four straight years in 2A as a hitter.
“[But] the biggest thing Hiza brings to the floor is energy. Quick and athletic, she is everywhere the ball is. She regularly passes 80 percent of the court and has a wicked jump serve. Iowa’s getting a very smart player,” said Tawa.
In all, just 150 high school players from 35 states were named all-Americans.
“We weren’t surprised with these three athletes being named all-American. We knew when we were recruiting them they were viable candidates,” said Fredrick. “We’re also excited because we came into the recruiting game late. This is a sign of where our Iowa program is going.”