The Minnesota volleyball team has signed Alex Blatt and Ariana Filho to national letters of intent for the early signing period, according to an announcement made by Minnesota head coach Mike Hebert on Thursday, Nov. 15. Blatt and Filho will be eligible to compete for the University of Minnesota in 2008.
Blatt is a 5-11 setter out of Orland Park, Ill., who attends Sandburg High School. This past year, Blatt was named First-Team All-State. She was also named All-Area and All-Conference as a junior and a senior. Blatt has led her team to back-to-back conference championships in her junior and senior seasons. In 2007, she helped guide Sandburg to a 30-9 overall record. As a senior, Blatt had 339 assists, 230 kills, 45 service aces and 205 digs during the regular-season.
She was named No. 22 on the prepvolleyball.com Top 100 seniors list. Blatt also played for the U.S. Youth National Training team this past summer. She has played for the First-Alliance Club program the past three years, and also played two years for the Ultimate Club program.
“Alex (Blatt) was our first choice as a setter for the 2008 class,” said Hebert. “She is a smooth athlete, with great location and plays with the savvy that accompanies a lot Chicago-area volleyball players. Alex can flat out play.”
Filho is a 6-2 middle blocker out of Monument, Colo., who attends Lewis-Palmer High School. This past year, she was named All-State as a senior. Filho was also named All-Area and All-Conference as a junior and senior.
In her senior season, she helped Lewis-Palmer High School to League, Regional and District championships. Lewis-Palmer also won a District Championship in Filho’s sophomore year. Her team ended up finishing fifth in the 5A State Tournament in each of her three years with the program. This year, Filho was the 5A state leader in blocks. She was also named Academic All-State in 2006 and 2007.
Filho was named No. 24 on the prepvolleyball.com Top 100 seniors list. She also played with Blatt on the U.S. Youth National Training team this past summer, and was part of the High Performance National team the previous summer. She played for the Front Range Volleyball club, and helped guide that team to a runner-up AAU Championship and a fifth-place junior Olympics finish when she was part of the 16-1’s squad.
“Ariana (Filho) is one of the top middle blocker prospects in this year’s recruiting class,” said Hebert. “I love her athleticism and passion for the game. She is also a great slide-hitter and a good blocker. Ariana will adapt quickly to Big Ten volleyball.”
Blatt and Filho become the eighth and ninth Golden Gophers since 2002 to be ranked in the top 25 by prepvolleyball.com coming out of high school. That group includes Kelly Bowman (No. 4 in 2002), Meredith Nelson (No. 10 in 2002), Jessy Jones (No. 13 in 2003), Rachel Hartmann (No. 11 in 2004), Katie Vatterrodt (No. 18 in 2004), Kyla Roehrig (No. 20 in 2004), Rachelle Hagerty (No. 19 in 2005), Lauren Gibbemeyer (No. 4 in 2006) and Brook Dieter (No. 5 in 2006).
“We addressed our most pressing needs with this recruiting class,” said Hebert. “Alex and Ariana have played at a high level throughout their club and USA careers. They are already good volleyball players, and will fit in well with the nucleus of young talent already in place at Minnesota.”
Recruit Pos. Ht. Hometown (High School) prepvolleyball.com rank
Alex Blatt S 5-11 Orland Park, Ill. (Sandburg) No. 22
Ariana Filho MB 6-2 Monument, Colo. No. 24