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Lobo volleyball signs pair of “outstanding” recruits

Under ninth-year head coach Jeff Nelson, the University of New Mexico volleyball team has added national letter of intent signees Lauren Twitty and J’Kaylee Clark to its 2016-17 recruiting class today.

The pair, both of whom are highly decorated prep volleyball players, signed Wednesday to open the early signing period. They are the first two players to sign for the Lobos’ 2016-17 recruiting class.

“It’s a class that fills our needs with our middles graduating,” Nelson said. “Both of them are great students, which helps, too. I think they will fit in well and have a huge impact.”

Twitty, a 6-foot-2 outside hitter out of Broadlands, Va., is a four-year starter at for Briar Woods High School in Ashburn, Va. She currently leads the Falcons in kills (347) and digs (302) and is hitting .410 for coach Marsha Hermes.

So far during her senior campaign, Twitty has been named Virginia 5A All Conference, 2015 AVCA High School All-American, 2015 PrepVolleyball Senior Aces, 2015 PrepVolleyball High School All-American Highest Honorable Mention and 2015 Under Armour All-American Honorable Mention.

“Next year we have three senior outsides, so Lauren, being a big outside that can play six rotations is really important for us moving forward,” Nelson said. “She’s complete and really experienced and will also add to the sand program. Good skills, hits very high, was very highly recruited. I think she can come in and be an impact player.”

As a junior, she was a PrepVolleyball National Junior of the Year Finalist; Washington Post All-Met 1st Team; All Loudoun County 1st Team and Player of the Year; and Virginia 5A First Team All-State, All-Region and All-Conference.

Briar Woods, which is currently 22-4 and advancing through the Virginia regional playoffs, was the Virginia 5A State Champions in 2014, winning the title behind Twitty, who scored the final three kills to win the state tournament 16-14 in the fifth set.

Academically, Twitty was on Briar Woods’ Principal’s List all four years and currently sports a 4.24 GPA. She played club volleyball for Virginia Elite her first three years of high school, and will play for Metro American in January.

Clark, a 5-11 middle blocker from Farmersville, Texas, comes to UNM as a two-sport athlete from Farmersville High School. A three-year letterwinner in both track and volleyball, Clark has shined for Farmersville and coach Harold Davis, helping the Farmers to a 37-3 record in 2015.

This year, Farmersville has won the 3A Region 2, District 13 Championship and the Bi-District Championship, and is currently advancing through the 2015 UIL 3A Regions 2 State Championships.

“J’Kaylee is just a phenomenal athlete,” Nelson said. “Her jump will be the highest coming in that we’ve ever had. She’s really raised the bar in club last year and then again in high school this fall.

“We thought she was going to be more of a raw player coming in, but now she’s really stepped up and I think she can push for a starting role right away and be a real dominating player for us in time.”

In 2014, Clark was named the Farmersville Farmers Team MVP and the 13-3A District MVP, and earned spots on the Collin Street Bakery/TSWA Class 3A All-State Second Team and the Texas Girls Coaches Association Class 3A All-State First Team. She was also Volleyball 12-2A Newcomer of the Year in 2013-14.

On the track, Clark took second in the 400-meter dash at the 2014 UIL Track and Field Championships and swept the 100 and the 400 at the 2014 District 12-2A Meet.

She plays club volleyball with the Power Volleyball Club 18.1 this year and played up on Blocksport Volleyball Club 18’s National Team as a 17-year-old.

“This is an outstanding class for us and we’re very excited,” Nelson said.