The Minnesota volleyball team has signed Tori Dixon and Ashley Wittman to national letters of intent for the early signing period, according to an announcement made by Minnesota head coach Mike Hebert on Thursday, Nov. 12. Wittman will enroll at the University of Minnesota in January of 2010, while Dixon will join the program in the fall of 2010.
Dixon, who is the daughter of former Minnesota Viking offensive lineman David Dixon, is a 6-3 middle blocker out of Burnsville High School in Burnsville, Minn. In her senior season, she has led her team to a 21-9 overall record and a No. 2 seed in the Class AAA State Tournament, which begins on Nov. 12 at the Excel Center. This week, she was also named to the Star Tribune All-Metro team. Dixon is a two-time All-Metro, and was named All-State in 2008.
Heading into the tournament, Dixon has 498 kills, 226 digs, is hitting .534 and has collected 68 service aces in her senior season. In her last two contests, she has collected 35 kills against Lakeville North and 34 against Eastview. As a junior, Dixon also had 405 kills, 86 blocks and hit .476. She collected 399 kills, 71 blocks and 66 service aces as a sophomore.
Dixon, who was tabbed as No. 13 on prepvolleyball.com’s top seniors in the nation, plays with Wittman on the Northern Lights Club program. The two future Golden Gophers have helped lead that club team to back-to-back-to-back AAU National Championships and a second place finish in the U.S. Junior Nationals last summer.
Dixon was the Tournament MVP of the 17-1s AAU National Championship team and was on the All-Tournament team in 15-1s and 16-1s. She also claimed All-Tournament honors the last three years in the U.S. Junior Nationals. Dixon was also the leading scorer on the U.S. Girls Youth National Team that captured Gold at the NORCECA Championships in Puerto Rico during the summer of 2008.
Wittman is a 6-0 outside hitter out of Shakopee High School in Shakopee, Minn. She was named the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year for the second year in a row on Nov. 9, and has also received All-Metro and All-State honors the last three seasons. Wittman joined former Gopher Kelly Bowman (Osseo, 2001 & 02) and Amanda Rome (Chaska, 1996 & 97) as the only repeat Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year award winners since 1987.
She has guided her team into the state tournament for a third consecutive year with a 29-0 record this season. The Sabers have lost only three sets this year in those 29 matches. Since the 2007 season, Wittman has helped guide Shakopee to two state titles and 93-3 overall record. As of Nov. 9, Shakopee is ranked No. 4 in the nation in the MaxPreps.com Xcellent Top 25 rankings.
As a senior, Wittman has 484 kills, 250 digs, is hitting .524 and has 6.5 kps. In her junior season, Wittman had 587 kills, 311 digs and 45 blocks going into the State Tournament. She also collected 340 kills and 225 digs in her sophomore season.
Wittman, who was tabbed as No. 8 on prepvolleyball.com’s top seniors in the nation, was the MVP of the Northern Lights AAU Championship teams at the 15-1s and 16-1s levels, and was named to the All-Tournament team last summer. She claimed All-Tournament honors the last three years in the U.S. Junior Nationals. Wittman also played for the U.S. Girls Youth National Team that captured Gold at the NORCECA Championships.
Dixon and Wittman become the 11th and 12th Golden Gophers since 2002 to be ranked in the top 25 by prepvolleyball.com coming out of high school. Wittman is also the fourth Golden Gopher to be ranked among the top 10 seniors in the nation in the last three years.
“If I were to try to design two players who can immediately fit into our system, I couldn’t do any better than Ashley (Wittman) and Tori (Dixon),” said Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. “Both are at the top of the national recruiting charts in their respective positions, and they both are a great fit in every aspect of our program. We are really excited about the additions of both players to our program.”Recruit Pos. Ht. Hometown (High School) prepvolleyball.com rank
Tori Dixon MB 6-3 Burnsville, Minn. (Burnsville) No. 13
Ashley Wittman OH 6-0 Shakopee, Minn. (Shakopee) No. 8Prepvolleyball.com on Tori Dixon:
“At 6-3 and extremely strong, Dixon is a formidable and intimidating opponent. While her father (former Minnesota Viking Offensive Guard David Dixon) blocked for quarterbacks and running backs, Tori does some outstanding blocking of her own. Beyond being a supreme rejecter, Dixon has all-around skills that surprise. She plays middle for the celebrated Northern Lights team but lives on the outside for her high school squad. A powerful attacker, Dixon can put a high ball through the floor just as well as a slide. She has a wicked jump-float or jump-topspin serve. Dixon is also a confident, consistent player and a winner, who has the skills to contribute immediately.”Prepvolleyball.com on Ashley Wittman:
“Ashley Wittman is the epitome of a complete player. A fierce and driven competitor, she has great leaping ability (recently touching 10-5!), a hammer for an arm and an unyielding desire to win. In high school, Wittman is the reigning National Junior of the Year and her Shakopee High School team is working on its third straight Minnesota AAA championship. Her Northern Lights club team won back-to-back-to-back AAU National Championships and earned three Open Division medals. She’s been a major contributor to that success in virtually every rotation. Wittman is an unstoppable force on the court. She has excellent range as a hitter, can attack any tempo and hits a mean high ball. She is a strong block on the left side. She is a primary passer and has a tough jump float serve. Due to her long, agile body, she covers a lot of court defensively and is very accurate with her digging. As a 4.0 student, she plans to enroll early to train with the Golden Gophers in the winter and spring.”