Defending NEC Champion Sacred Heart Adds Four for 2012 Campaign

From Left to Right: Karly Shockey, Allison Riggs, Natalie Kridel, and Katie DiRenzo

Fairfield, CT - Head Coach Rob Machan of the Sacred Heart women's volleyball team recently announced that four athletes have agreed to play for the Pioneers in 2012.  Karly Shockey (Chino Hills, CA), Allison Riggs (Anaheim, CA), Natalie Kridel (Huntington Beach, CA), and Katie DiRenzo (Shelton, CT) will all don a Sacred Heart uniform next season.  SHU is the two-time defending Northeast Conference Champions and made program history in 2011 by winning a set in a tight 3-1 setback against #11 Stanford in the NCAA Tournament. 

"I am very pleased with this recruiting class, said Machan."  The talent these players bring to our program along with an excellent group of returning players should help us continue to climb in the national rankings."

Shockey, a 5-11 outside hitter, was named team MVP at Chino Hills high school in 2011 and picked up all-league accolades as well as second team All-Valley honors.  She also served as team captain in her senior season and was named to the all-tournament team at the Aloha Cougar Classic.  In her junior year she helped lead her team to its first League title, an appearance in the CIF Finals, and the Division II semifinals of Southern California. In 2009 and 2010 Shockey received an all-league honorable mention and earned scholar-athlete accolades. Shockey plays for Club West Volleyball at the club level and went to the 2011 Junior Olympics for the first time after her team qualified for a bid.

"Karly is a very good six rotation player and is also an extremely potent attacker," commented Machan.  "She has great velocity on her attacks and should be an excellent point scorer for our team."

Riggs will join the Pioneers' strong middle blocking corps as the six-footer will look to make her way into the lineup.  She was a two year starter at Orange Lutheran and her team twice captured the La Jolla Beach Cities Tournament Championship.  Riggs' squad also captured a title at the Oxnard Summer Invitational in her senior season. Riggs was named an All-Orange County honorable mention as her team claimed a Trinity League crown.   At the club level Riggs played for the Southern California Region High Performance team that participated in the 2010 High Performance Championships in Wisconsin Dells, WI.

"Allison Riggs is a strong and versatile player who can dominate offensively out of the middle," said Machan.  "She can score against anyone and should help us continue our strong middle blocker play well into the future."

Kridel received two selections to the Sunset League first team in high school as well as earning a trio of team MVP awards.  She served as a captain in her senior season and also received the scholar athlete award.  Kridel was the best offensive player on her squad for two seasons and was named to the all-tournament team at the La Jolla Invitational in 2010.  She has played for numerous club teams, including TCA - Huntington Beach, Surf City – Huntington Beach, and Mizuno – Long Beach.  Kridel has played in the Open Division at the Junior Olympics three times.

"Natalie Kridel is going to be a strong addition to our team," said Machan.  "She is a very good offensive player who has the potential to be a great collegiate player at either pin."

Sacred Heart will also bring in a talented local product in DiRenzo, an outside hitter and defensive specialist.  DiRenzo was a two-time member of the Connecticut All-State team and made three appearances on the All-Housatonic squad.  She also picked up a pair of nods to the CT Post and New Haven Register All-Area teams and was named the MVP of the New Haven Register squad.  DiRenzo served as team captain in her senior year and captured a MVP award as well as two Offensive Player of the Year distinctions at Shelton high school. 

"Katie has the potential to be a very good collegiate player," commented Machan.  "She has excellent ball control skills and a wonderful feel for the game. Her versatility at the pins will be a great asset for our program."

The four incoming Pioneers will join a Sacred Heart squad in 2012 that will begin searching for a third straight Northeast Conference Championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.