The following is a press release courtesy of Iowa State athletics communications.
AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State volleyball program announced that three student-athletes will be joining the team for the 2014 season. ISU welcomes two in-state products in Alexis Conaway of MOC-Floyd Valley and Monique Harris of Clinton. Iowa State also welcomes Branen Berta of Aurora, Colo.
“This is an excellent class for us,” Johnson-Lynch said. “The players we have coming in all have the potential to contribute right away. It will be difficult to fill the voids left by (Tenisha) Matlock and (Kristen) Hahn, but this group will help us tremendously in replacing those players.”
Berta was the libero for Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, Colo. She helped lead CT to its first two Class 5A Regional Tournament titles and to consecutive 5A State Tournament appearances. A two-time all-conference selection, Berta led Cherokee Trail with 4.9 digs per set in her final campaign. When playing libero as a junior, she averaged 4.27 digs per set. She is Cherokee Trail’s school record holder for career digs. Berta was named a “Senior Ace” by PrepVolleyball.com and also appears on the website’s “Defensive Dandy” list.
“When I watched Branen this past year, I loved her competitiveness,” Johnson-Lynch said. “She is relentless defender. She has a great platform and touch on the ball, but most importantly she is a competitor and fighter. I have no doubt she will continue our tradition of great defensive players here at Iowa State.”
Conaway, ranked as the No. 33 prospect in the class of 2014 by PrepVolleyball.com, is one of the top athletes in the state of Iowa and demonstrates tremendous ability both on and off the volleyball court. The 2012 Gatorade Player of the Year in Iowa, Conaway led The Dutch to the 2012 Class 3A state championship, and is currently working on bring MOC-Floyd Valley a second-straight title in Cedar Rapids. Conaway is averaging 4.77 kills per set at a .477 hitting percentage along with recording a team-high 2.57 digs per set. A 2012 Elite All-State recipient, Conaway recorded 4.41 kills per set and 2.32 digs per set as a junior.
Outside of volleyball, Conaway is one of the state’s top track and field athletes. A two-time state champion in the high jump, Conaway also has a Drake Relays high jump title to her name along with another state title as part of the MOC-Floyd Valley 4×400-meter relay team.
“Alexis is one of the best athletes we have recruited here at Iowa State,” Johnson-Lynch noted. “She’s incredibly fast, has a great jump, and is very fluid in all her movements. She is one of the best multi-sport athletes I’ve seen. We aren’t sure yet if she will be a middle or outside hitter for us, but either way she is going to be elite.”
Harris, a 2013-14 honorable mention Under Armour High School All-American, doubled as a setter and a talented defensive player for Clinton High School A four-time all-conference honoree, Harris finished her senior season with 8.28 assists per set and 3.57 digs per set. Like Conaway, Harris excelled at other sports, being a two-time all-conference honoree in softball and a state qualifier in track and field. Harris will be enrolling at Iowa State at the start of the Spring 2014 semester and will go through the spring season with the Cyclones, a first under Johnson-Lynch.
“Monique has an infectious personality that makes her a great leader and a great setter,” Johnson-Lynch stated. “She’s also a great athlete and can do a lot of things well. She can set, has a very tough jump top-spin serve, and plays great defense. Monique plans to enroll early and start practice with us this spring. It will be a great jump start to her career and we are eager to see what she will contribute.”