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Nov. 21, 2000

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia head volleyball coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton has announced the signing of three players to national letters of intent to attend the University of Virginia and play volleyball for the Cavaliers beginning in the 2001-02 academic year. The three signees are: Alexis Geocaris (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier), Celeste Laborde (New Orleans, La./Academy of the Sacred Heart), and Lily Phillips (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon High School).

Celeste Laborde is a 5-11 outside hitter from New Orleans, La. She was a three-year starter for Academy of the Sacred Heart as well as team captain and MVP as a senior in 2000. Laborde was named a USAV National Championships 16’s All-American in 1998-99. As a senior, Laborde was named the MVP of the Episcopal of Baton Rouge and St. Joseph’s of Baton Rouge Tournaments and to the All-Tournament Team at the McGill Toolen Tournament. She was also named MVP after helping lead Sacred Heart to the AAA Division State Tournament title this year. Laborde has played club volleyball for the Cajunland Volleyball Club for the last three years. Laborde has received Highest Honors at Sacred Heart for the last three years. She has volunteered extensive hours in the Learning Partners program, Poydras Home for the elderly, and Langston Hughes Elementary School.

“Celeste could quite possibly be the biggest “sleeper” in the class of 2001. Her ability to get off the floor and hit from every part of the net will make her a valuable part of our offense right off the bat,” said head coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton.

Alexis Geocaris is a 6-1 middle from Wilmette, Ill. She was a three-year starter for New Trier High School and a two-year captain (1999 and 2000). Geocaris received Central Suburban League All-Conference and Pioneer Press All-Area honors the last two years and was also a 2000 All-State selection. She is the honorary team-captain of the 2000 Pioneer Press All-Area team. Geocaris was also named to the Chicago Sun Times All-Area team. She earned conference tournament MVP accolades as well. Geocaris helped lead New Trier to the quarterfinals of the Illinois Down State Tournament this year. She is a member of the Sky High Volleyball Club team. Geocaris also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity as well as an area soup kitchen.

“One of the top middles in the Midwest this year, Alexis has the athletic ability to become one of the best middles in the ACC. We are expecting her to come in and challenge for playing time while she learns the ropes as a first year,” said Shelton.

Lily Phillips is a 5-11 setter from Phoenix, Ariz. She was a three-year high school volleyball performer, who was not able to play as a senior year due to injury. Student Sports Magazine dubbed Phillips a “2000 Preseason Volleyball All-American” and highlighted her as a feature athlete in “Getting Set for the Future.” As a junior, she was named Horizon High’s MVP, Scottsdale Player of the Year, Northwest Region Player of the Year, and first-team All-State. Phillips was also named to the Westwood Invitational All-Tournament team and Junior Nationals All-Tournament team in 1999. Phillips is a member of the National Honor Society, Society of Women Scholars, and has been a four-year Scholar Athlete. She plays for the Arizona Juniors club volleyball team.

“Lily is considered one of the top five setters from the class of 2001, she has the athletic ability, maturity, and experience to come in and compete for our starting spot. Look for Lily’s attitude to push the team to even higher levels of competitive excellence,” said Shelton.

“We are very excited to bring in such talented athletes, accomplished volleyball players, and terrific students. All three are perfect fits for our program and the University,” said Coach Shelton.

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