GOSHEN, Ind. – Less than a month removed from the conclusion of the 2012 season, Goshen College head volleyball coach Jim Routhier has signed a pair of standout high school players for next season.
Elkhart Memorial middle Lexa Magnuson and Prairie Heights setter Riley Shultz will join a 2013 Maple Leaf roster that loses just two seniors to graduation and returns three All-Crossroads League performers.
A three-year varsity letter winner and two-year starter at Elkhart Memorial, the 6-foot-2 Magnuson will add much-needed size to the Goshen front line. She was named to the All-Northern Lakes Conference team and as a member of the North All-Star Team following both her junior and senior seasons.
"We are so pleased to have Lexa in our program as she is not only an outstanding player, but she is an excellent student and has great family values," Routhier explained. "I am not only impressed with Lexa's outstanding blocking ability, but also her quick footwork and good hitting technique. She is also a good defensive player and has a tough jump serve."
Magnuson led her team in both kills and hitting percentage as a senior on way to additional recognition as the team's Mental Attitude winner. She finished her career with 432 kills, a .333 hitting percentage, 179 blocks, and 37 service aces.
"Lexa is a player who's just continued to grow every year in her physical ability, court intelligence, and competitiveness," high school coach Jackie Rost raved. "Her size has definitely contributed in her ability to be effective at the high school level, but it will be her work ethic and commitment to excellence that will enable her to also be successful at the collegiate level. In many game situations this year, she was our go-to attacker who had to terminate the ball for us, which was especially the case in our sectional win."
The school record holder for career assists (2,410) at Prairie Heights High School (Lagrange, Ind.), Shultz is a three-year All-Northeast Corner Conference selection. She was also picked to the All-Area team three times and was voted the Prep of the Year for the best volleyball player in the area in 2012.
"Riley is very quick and has shown outstanding leadership on the court of her high school team," Routhier said. "She has excellent potential to play at this level and develop into a good leader on the floor. Being left handed is a big advantage in setting and combined with Kelsey (Smith), our sophomore setter, will be able to keep our offense running smoothly after Stacy Wyse graduates. Riley is very versatile on the court with the ability to block, attack, set, and play good defense."
That versatility was on display for 21-7 Panthers this year when she hit .215 (86 kills), dished out 662 assists, had 257 digs and 42 blocks.
The Maple Leafs finished the 2012 season 16-22, but reached the Crossroads League semifinals for the second time in Routhier's four-year tenure after a historic upset of second-seeded Taylor University. The 2013 schedule will be released in the spring on www.GoLeafs.net, the official website of Goshen College Athletics.