SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State volleyball head coach Dave Schmidlin has announced that six student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to attend Lake State and play for Laker volleyball beginning in 2019.
The signing class consists of three outside hitters, a middle hitter, a setter and a libero/defensive specialist.
"The 2019 recruiting class is the next step in the process of building our program. We needed depth at setter, outside hitter and the libero/defensive specialist positions," Schmidlin said. "I believe this group really raises the level of talent in our gym and fit our culture. Not only are they talented players, they are also great students, great citizens and come from great families. With the addition of these six outstanding young women, we continue to move toward becoming a competitive program in the GLIAC and Midwest Region."
Emily Kalinowski, from South Lyon, Michigan, is a setter for the South Lyon High School volleyball team and has served as captain for the past two seasons. She earned all-conference honors in 2017 and 2018, while her team won both the conference and district championships those same seasons. In 2017, she was a part of the South Lyon High School team that earned Academic All-State honors. Kalinowski is a four-year letterwinner and was named all-region MVP in 2017, along with team MVP in 2017. She holds the single-season assists record at South Lyon, tallying 1,163 during the 2017 season. She competes at the national level for the Michigan Elite Volleyball Association.
Coach Schmidlin on Kalinowski: "Emily is only 5'7" but she plays bigger. She is a highly-skilled setter with an extremely high volleyball IQ. She is one of the top setters in the state as a senior. She can set a multi-tempo offense, has great location, can get to every pass and has the ability to make hitters better. Emily will have an immediate impact on our program, not just as a setter, but with her defensive ability, serving and all-around game. We needed more "ballers" (like current freshman Abby Beachnau) and Emily fits into that category."
Off the court, Kalinowski is involved in multiple extra-curricular activities, including National Honor Society, Key Club, and being the sports editor for the school's yearbook. She will be a member of Lake State's class of 2023, majoring in Forensic Chemistry.
Sydney Briney, from St. Joseph, Michigan, is a libero/defensive specialist for the St. Joseph High School volleyball team in the Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference. She was named all-conference in 2015-18, all-region in 2016-18, most valuable player in 2016-18 and academic individual all-state for all four years of high school. She currently serves as the captain and has been in the role since 2017. Briney competes at the national level for Dead Frog Volleyball.
Coach Schmidlin on Briney: "Sydney is another baller. Syd was looking for a good fit academically and athletically and fell into our lap. A multi-sport athlete, Sydney will be one of the players we will rely upon to step into the roles Paige Gotham and Mikala Williams filled this year. She has excellent athleticism, extremely high volleyball IQ and outstanding ball control. Syd should immediately compete for either the libero or defensive specialist position."
In addition to volleyball, Briney has competed in high school basketball (2015-18) and softball (2016-19). Off the court, she participates in AP Leadership Group (2016-19). She will be a member of Lake State's class of 2023 and will major in biology/education.
Malia Howe, from Edgewood, New Mexico, is an offensive hitter for the Moriarty High School volleyball team. She was named first team all-district, second team all-state and to the all-tournament team in 2017, and earned an honorable mention in 2016. At Moriarty High School, she was a part of the state qualifying team for three seasons, from 2015-17. She also competes at the national level.
Coach Schmidlin on Howe: "Malia is a great fit for our program. We needed some size and physicality at the outside hitter position and Malia certainly possesses those qualities. She has a great arm and moves well for someone who is 6'2" – and she is just starting to scratch the surface as to what she can do. Malia definitely has potential to be a dominant player in the GLIAC.
Howe is a part of the National Honor Society (2017-19), served as the Public Relations Chair (2018-19), and was class vice president (2015-17). She will be a member of Lake State's class of 2023 and will major in biology/pre-med.
Kaitlyn Bishop, from Holland, Michigan, is an outside hitter for the West Ottawa High School volleyball team. She is also a member of the Impact Volleyball Club that competes at the national level. She also spent two seasons playing basketball in high school and spent four seasons on the varsity softball team where she earned all-area softball honors in 2017.
Coach Schmidlin on Bishop: "Kaitlyn is another perfect fit for us. She is extremely competitive, having predominantly played as an undersized middle for her high school and club teams. I love how she grinds. Kaitlyn is a multi-sport athlete who will convert to outside hitter for us. As she gets stronger and becomes comfortable with the conversion to a new position, I see her as an "Amanda Reid"-type of player. She has great ball control and is a good offensive player who can play six rotations and make others better."
Outside of sports, Bishop participates in her school's marching and symphony band. She will be a member of Lake State's class of 2023 and will major in fisheries and wildlife.
Avery Strohmeyer, from Grand Haven, Michigan, is a middle hitter for the Grand Haven High School volleyball team. She was a part of the conference championship-winning teams from 2015-2018. She started on the junior varsity team and jumped up to varsity during the 2016 season. By 2018, she was a starter on the varsity team. Strohmeyer also competed for club teams throughout high school, and at the national level in 2017-18.
Coach Schmidlin on Strohmeyer: "Avery is great addition to our family. She will provide us with more depth in the middle. Her blocking skills are outstanding, and she continues to develop her offensive skills. As she gets acclimated to the speed of the collegiate game, she will be a very productive player for us. What I love about Avery is she just keeps coming at you and has the potential to develop into a very physical player."
In other high school activities, Strohmeyer studied Spanish from 2015-19 and is currently in the highest level of Spanish that her school offers. She will be a member of Lake State's class of 2023 and will major in environmental science.
Taylor Fleming, from Rogers City, Michigan, is an outside hitter for the Rogers City High School volleyball team. She is a three-sport athlete and a four-year varsity starter in each sport and has earned numerous accolades. In volleyball, she earned all-conference honorable mention and most improved in 2015, all-conference and all-region in 2016-18, all-state and co-MVP in 2016-17, and was named to the all-region dream team in 2017-18. She recently added an all-state honorable mention in Division 3 for this season. She was a part of the district championship-winning teams from 2015-18 and regional champion teams in 2015-17. The team also made it to the Division 4 quarterfinals in 2015, Division 4 state semifinals in 2016-17, and were North Star League Conference Champions in 2015-18. She also competes at the club level with the Alpena Chaos U17 team.
In softball, she earned multiple all-conference, all-state and all-district honors throughout her career. The same goes for basketball, where she earned all-conference, all-district, all-region and all-state. She was named MVP and All-Alpena Area Player of the Year in 2018.
Coach Schmidlin on Fleming: "Taylor is another outstanding addition to our program. Our fans are going to love watching her hit. She brings the heat. Although she's been a middle in high school and club, she should have no problem moving to outside hitter. Taylor is a highly competitive multi-sport athlete who will thrive in our environment. She plays with high energy, wants to crush the ball and wants to win. Taylor definitely has the potential to develop into a dominant six-rotation outside hitter."
In extra-curricular activities, Fleming is a part of the Student Council and National Honor Society. She will be a member of Lake State's class of 2023 and is currently undecided on a major.
All signings are contingent upon admission to Lake Superior State and compliance with NCAA rules, including certification by the NCAA Eligibility Center.