Washington Signs Two Standouts For 2012 Class
Nov. 10, 2011
SEATTLE - Washington head volleyball coach Jim McLaughlin today announced the addition of Cassie Strickland and Katy Beals to the Husky program. The lauded high school seniors signed their letters of intent on Wednesday and are the first two members of the class of 2012.
"What I like about them most is just how hard they work," said McLaughlin. "They are a unique breed; they're going to go hard. They are in the gym early, they lead and are very competitive. I like their energy, and both of them want to be great."
Strickland comes to Seattle from Huntington Beach, California and Edison High School while playing club for TCA. She has played outside hitter for her high school team, but will switch to libero at Washington. In 2010 she was named an ESPNHS First Team All-American, appearing on the same 12-player list as current UW freshman Krista Vansant. PrepVolleyball.com ranks her 50th overall on their 2012 Senior Aces and fourth nationally among liberos.
ESPN Rise named Strickland one of its Top-25 Players to Watch entering the 2011 season. She led Edison to the 1AA Southern Section quarterfinals last year and has them ranked ninth nationally this season by MaxPreps.com.
Strickland says she chose Washington "because I loved everything about it. The coaches are the best out there and the campus is beautiful. I loved the team chemistry and all the people involved with the volleyball program. Having a lot of family close to campus was also a big plus."
"Cassie is a libero that's playing outside hitter right now," says McLaughlin. "She's got a good jump serve, good mechanics, she passes well and plays great defense. But most importantly she brings a fire to the court that is unmatched."
Beals is an Austin, Texas native currently directing one of the nation's powerhouse high school teams at Lake Travis High. Her squad is currently 46-0 on the year and ranked fifth nationally by MaxPreps.com and second in the Xcellent 25 national rankings as well as the Powerade Fab 50. They are currently in the Texas Class 4A playoffs, looking for a second consecutive state title. Beals plays club for Austin Juniors, the same club as former UW All-American Becky Perry, and led AJV to the national title in the 17 Open division at 2011 USAV Junior Nationals.
Beals was rated No. 22 by PrepVolleyball.com in its 2012 Senior Aces rankings, and is third on the list at the setter position. She was also named to the same ESPN Rise Top-25 Players to Watch list that featured Strickland.
"Katy is pretty cerebral," McLaughlin says. "She'll work at the game and she's got good hands. She's a physical kid, she can block and play defense. Katy is a student of the game and that's what I liked about her most."
Born in Seattle, Beals says she was always attracted to Washington.
"My family moved to Texas when I was very young but I continued to think of UW as the place for me, not really knowing much about the school," Beals says. "As I progressed in volleyball, I followed the Husky program and came to realize that the school I've always wanted to attend also happened to be an excellent balance of academics and athletics and was something I wanted to be a part of more than ever.
"Without sounding too cliché, being able to attend the University of Washington and play volleyball for Jim, Keno and Tui is literally a dream come true and something that seemed improbable only a couple of years ago."