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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia head volleyball coach Lee Maes has announced the addition of two student-athletes who will round out the Cavaliers’ incoming class for the 2010 season. Nika Šimenc will become Virginia’s first-ever international volleyball player, hailing from Zagreb, Croatia, while Emily Rottman comes east to the Cavaliers from Santa Barbara, Calif.

“We are thrilled to welcome two more outstanding players to Grounds this fall” Maes said. “Emily Rottman and Nika Šimenc join a stellar recruiting class that we expect to be ranked among the nation’s 10 best. Both players come from wonderful pedigree and experience. All the recruits possess marvelous gifts and all will have an opportunity to contribute immediately this fall. We’ve not only added tremendous talent, but also enhanced our team’s depth, athleticism and size. This incoming group will complement our team makeup and build upon the foundation we have in place. They will be the nucleus of an exciting and promising future for our program.”

Rottman and Šimenc will join the tandem of McKenzie Adams, Rachel Clark and Mallory Woolridge to form the Cavaliers’ class of 2013, while Beth Wildermuth has joined the Cavaliers this spring from Notre Dame and will spend her final three years of eligibility in a Virginia uniform.

Emily Rottman is a 5-8 outside hitter from Santa Barbara High School in California. A 2009 All-American, Rottman also garnered first-team All-CIF Southern Section and first-team All-Channel League honors as a junior. She earned all-tournament team honors at the 2009 U-18 Junior Olympics, en route to a runner-up finish, and at the California Challenge Tournament and the MLK Speakeasy tournament. Rottman is ranked 52nd on the’s Senior Aces list.

“Emily is one of the elite back row players in the country,” Maes said. “She is a highly proficient ball-handler as a passer and defender. Emily possesses a natural ball-feel and a superb ability to read the game. Her ability to read and react combined with her terrific athleticism allows her to play with a wider range on the court whether it’s in the back row or front row. Regardless of size, Emily is one of the top athletes in the nation and can elevate close to 10-feet high. She has demonstrated proficiency as an effective and skilled attacker at the 18-Open club level. She has a calm presence and will be a stabilizing factor on the court. Her versatility, volleyball IQ and breadth of skills will give her an opportunity to impact our team immediately, especially as a libero candidate. Emily comes from a wonderful volleyball family. She has been immersed in the sport at an early age and her development as a player and person is evidence of the positive influence her family has had on her. Emily is also a terrific student and she will add to the lineage of outstanding scholar-athletes who excel on the court and in the classroom at Virginia.”

Nika Šimenc will join the Cavaliers and become the tallest player on the roster. A 6-4 outside hitter, Šimenc brings a wealth of international experience to Virginia. A member of the U-18 and U-20 Croatian National Teams, Šimenc led the U-18 HAOK Mladost team to the national championship in 2009, garnering MVP honors along the way. The distinction was her second MVP honor with a national championship team, as she was also named the MVP with her U-16 team in 2007. At the 2009 Global Challenge in Pula, Croatia, Šimenc earned all-tournament team honors after leading the Croatian Junior National Team to a first-place finish in the Istra Division final rankings.

“Regarded as one of the premier junior players in the Croatian national team program, Nika brings to Virginia international experience and great size as an outside hitter,” Maes said. “We expect her to be a force in the front row as an attacker and blocker. With her experience, she also has the ability to impact our team as a six-rotation player. She has been a key scorer for the Croatian youth and junior national teams as their starting outside hitter. Nika has also earned distinction as MVP in leading her scholastic club team to two national championships. Her ability to score at a high level internationally will be conducive to her transition to collegiate play. Nika comes from great athletic genes. Her mother, Ira, was a successful international basketball player and her father, Dudo, was a four-time Olympian in waterpolo, winning gold in Seoul and silver in Atlanta. We are impressed by her academic achievements and post-graduate goals. Her pursuits, commitment, work ethic and personality make her a wonderful fit with our team, culture, school and community.”

Maes’ inaugural class of current freshmen Tobi Farrar, Rachel Gray and Jessica O’Shoney pulled in the program’s first-ever national ranking as a recruiting class, being tabbed No. 15 by a year ago.

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