DURHAM, N.H. - Jill Hirschinger, eighth-year head coach of the University of New Hampshire volleyball program, announced Thursday that UNH has received national letters of intent from Jess Compton (Downers Grove, Ill.) and Toni Barnas (Cary Grove, Ill.) and that both student-athletes will join the Wildcat volleyball program in 2004.
Compton, a 6-foot-2 middle hitter, is a three-year letterwinner at Downers Grove South High School. She has led this year's team to a 34-6 record and No. 4 ranking in the state. Last year, Compton guided the Mustangs to Illinois' AA championship and a top-10 national ranking. She has excelled both on and off the court, which is evident by her two-time selection to both the All-Conference and All-Academic Conference teams in the West Suburban Gold league. In addition to athletics and academics, which also includes Academic Honor Roll and National Honors Society Vice-President, Compton has been a leader in drug awareness programs such as D.A.R.E. and Snowmentum.
"I am very excited about someone with Jess' credentials signing with us," Hirschinger said. "She is a proven winner both on the court and in the classroom. Illinois plays some of the toughest high school volleyball in the country and Downer's Grove South has always been one of the best. As a result, she will have more experience coming in as a freshman to have an impact."
Barnas, a 6-1 outside hitter from Cary Grove High School, has been selected by Prep Volleyball as one of the top 200 players in the United States. As captain of the 2003 team, Barnas was named one of the top five hitters in the Fox Valley Conference. She was given All-State Honorable Mention recognition, as well as All-Conference, last year. Barnas has received academic honors all four years at Cary Grove.
"I am very excited to have Toni become a member of the University of New Hampshire volleyball program," Hirschinger said. "Toni has all the tools to be an impact player. She will add size to our outside hitting position and her experience with the Sky High Junior Olympics program has taken her game to a higher level."
New Hampshire, the 2002 America East champions, enters the final weekend of the regular season tied for first place in the conference standings. The Wildcats are 19-11 overall and 10-2 in America East action.