NEW YORK — Columbia volleyball head coach Brie Katz officially announced the program's 2017 recruiting class on Thursday. The Lions welcome setter Audrey Cheng, outside hitter Jamie Dailey, middle blocker Kaitlin Schultz and outside hitter Madelyn Ward.
“I am thrilled to welcome Audrey, Jamie, Kaitlin and Madelyn to the team,” said Katz, who enters her fourth year as head coach and 13th on staff. “All are accomplished players within strong volleyball regions and they'll be able to transition smoothly to the college game. As a class, they share a team-first mentality, an incredible work ethic, and a competitive mindset that will absolutely translate into success on the court and in the classroom. They will strengthen our team immediately and add depth in our setting, middle blocking, and pin hitting positions.
“These four have the passion and capacity to be great leaders. I know Columbia University, our volleyball program, and New York City will give them everything they need to have the future they want. I'm excited to share their journey and I can't wait for us to all start working together in August.”
Cheng becomes the first member of the volleyball program from the state of Colorado since Charlee Dyroff last played in 2014. Hailing from Superior, Cheng was a four-year floor captain and two-year team captain at Fairview High School in nearby Boulder. The setter led her team to league titles her junior and senior seasons, as well as a runner-up finish in the 2015 5A state tournament as a junior. Cheng is a three-time First Team All-Front Range League selection who was named the league's Player of the Year this past fall. PrepVolleyball.com selected Cheng to its Soph 79 list in the spring of 2015 before she went on to be named BoCoPreps Player of the Year the following season. The standout also earned First Team Academic All-State honors all four years at Fairview. On the club circuit, Cheng has competed for Colorado Juniors Volleyball Club for the past five years, leading her team to first place in the Rocky Mountain Region (RMR) every single year. Cheng's club team has also placed first in the 16 Open and 17 Open Divisions at the Pacific Northwest Qualifier, as well as second in the 17 Open at the Reno Qualifier. – 5-9 – S – Superior, Colo. – Fairview High School
– 6-1 – OH – Newport Beach, Calif. – Sage Hill School
Dailey is one of two newcomers from the state of California, making for eight on the 2017 roster. She served as team captain her junior and senior seasons at Sage Hill School, just south of Los Angeles, leading the Lightning to an undefeated league record, Academy League championship and an appearance in the 2016 California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section (CIF-SS) semifinals. Dailey was also part of Sage Hill's league titles and CIF-SS championship seasons in 2013 and 2014, going on to reach the state finals each time. She transitioned from right side to middle from her freshman to sophomore years, and then to outside hitter for her junior and senior campaigns, leading the team in kills each season. The three-time All-Academy League selection earned first-team honors in each of her final two seasons, and was named Academy League MVP and All-CIF Southern Section as a senior. Dailey was also a member of Sage Hill's beach volleyball team in the spring and played club volleyball throughout high school, spending three years with Laguna Beach Volleyball Club before joining Prime Volleyball Club as a senior. Her Laguna Beach team won its 16 Open Division flight at Junior Nationals in 2015.
– 6-0 – MB – Santa Clarita, Calif. – West Ranch High School
From LA's northern suburb of Santa Clarita, Schultz comes to Morningside Heights after a three-year stint on the West Ranch High School volleyball team. The middle blocker helped lead her team to the Foothill League title this past season, hitting .414 with 79 kills and 43 total blocks along the way to earn First Team All-Foothill and First Team All-Santa Clarita Valley accolades. She spent her last two club seasons competing for Legacy Volleyball Club, guiding her squad to top-25 finishes out of more than 270 teams in the Southern California Volleyball Association. A multi-sport athlete, Schultz is also an avid competitor in trampoline and tumbling. She won the 2014 state championship in Trampoline Level 10 and the 2015 regional championship in Double Mini Level 10. At the age of nine, Schultz won the national championship in Trampoline Level 5. Among her many academic accomplishments, Schultz was a three-time scholar-athlete at West Ranch, earned the AP Scholar award as a junior and spent two years as a member of the National Honors Society.
– 6-0 – OH – Waxahachie, Texas – Waxahachie High School
Ward will be the lone Lion on the 2017 roster from the state of Texas and the first since Fort Worth native 's graduation two years ago. From 30 miles south of Dallas, Ward transitions to the Big Apple after three seasons as an outside hitter on the Waxahachie High School volleyball team, leading the Indians to the University Interscholastic League (UIL) regional semifinals all three years. The 2016 team captain hit .355 with 439 kills and 49 total blocks as a senior. She earned all-district distinction in all three of her seasons at Waxahachie, as well as academic all-state honors this past season. On the club circuit, Ward has competed for Skyline Juniors and Texas Image. She was a member of the Skyline 16 Black club that took home the 16 USA national championship at the 2015 USA Volleyball Girls Junior Nationals. Academically, Ward is an AP Scholar and member of the National Honors Society. She also earned an invite to Waxahachie High's Top 30 Honorary Ceremony.