NEW YORK - Columbia volleyball head coach Jon Wilson and associate head coach Brie Katz have announced the incoming Columbia volleyball class of 2017. The group is comprised of six athletes who will add talent and strength to an already deep Lions squad.
Columbia will look to build upon its best season in program history after closing out 2012 on a five-match winning steak to go 14-9 overall and 9-5 in the Ivy League, earning a tie for second place in the conference, the highest finish in school history.
“We are very excited about the Columbia Volleyball Class of 2017,” said Wilson. “They will add to our program in every key element of play. Kim Carson and Kesi Neblett add firepower, blocking and depth up the middle. Jenn Petrovich brings great setting skill and leadership. Cassie Wes and Sarah Gurbach help elevate our first contact and floor defense. Zoe Jacobs brings great pin hitting, serving, and blocking. We expect all of them to have a big impact during their four years at Columbia.”
Kim Carson – 6-1, Middle Blocker, Santa Cruz, Calif. (Pacific Collegiate)
One of four Californians comprising the 2013 incoming class, Carson joins Columbia from Santa Cruz, Calif. Playing for the Pumas at Pacific Collegiate High School, Carson served as captain and was named the Mission Trail Athletic League Most Valuable Player during both her junior and senior seasons as a prominent middle blocker.
Sarah Gurbach – 5-4, Defensive Specialist, Manhattan Beach, Calif. (Chadwick School)
Traveling coast to coast, Gurbach joins the Lions in the fall of 2013 from Manhattan Beach, Calif. Gurbach was a four-sport athlete for the Chadwick Dolphins, earning four varsity letters in volleyball, while competing for two years in track and field and one year in soccer and softball. A defensive force for Dolphins volleyball, Gurbach helped lead her squad to two CIF SS Championship titles and a state semi-finalist run during her junior year. She was also named to the Chadwick Tournament All-Tournament Team and All-Prep League that same year in addition becoming the distance medley relay school record holder in track and field.
Outside of the classroom, Gurbach was active in community service efforts. A member of the Community Service Advisory Board at Chadwick, she spent four years working at Willenberg School, a school for severely mentally and physically disabled children, worked with her family-run charity, the St. Sebastian Sports Project and was a member of the first graduating class of the Manhattan-Hermosa National Charity League Chapter.
Kesi Neblett – 6-0, Middle Hitter, Russellville, Ky. (Russellville)
Neblett joins the Lions in the fall of 2013 from Russellville, Ky. She will look to compete for time at the middle hitter position.
Jennifer Petrovich – 5-8, Setter, Sacramento, Calif. (Rio Americano)
A three-year letterwinner in volleyball, Petrovich joins Columbia from Sacramento, Calif. Petrovich played her first years at St. Francis High School, where she was named “rising star” by the Sacramento Bee on a team that was back-to-back runners-up in Northern California through her sophomore season. Petrovich continued her successful career at Rio Americano High School where she went on to become a two-time selection on the All-Tournament team.
Serving as captain of every club team since 12’s (2006-2013), Petrovich guided the Payes Performance 17-1 club team to a bronze medal in the 17-Open Division at the Junior Olympics in 2012, and the Encore 18-1 club team to a seventh-place finish in the 18-Open earlier this year.
Cassie Wes – 5-8, Libero, Atherton, Calif. (St. Francis)
Hailing from Atherton, Calif., Wes was a two-year letterwinner and four-year scholar athlete at St. Francis High School where she served as co-captain during her senior campaign. As a junior, Wes was selected to the WCAL All-League first team and the Palo Alto All-Daily News Prep Girls Volleyball first team after bumping 402 digs.
At the libero position, Wes was also an integral force to the Encore Volleyball Club team, which was ranked No. 1 in Northern California for four years, 14’s, 16’s, 17’s and 18’s, in addition to back-to-back top-ten finishes at Junior Nationals in 2012 and 2013.
Zoe Jacobs – 5-11, Outside Hitter, New York, N.Y. (Trinity School)
A New York City native, Jacobs donned a decorated career at the Trinity School as a three-sport athlete, racking up four letters in both volleyball and outdoor track and three more in indoor track. A talented force on the court as a three-time captain, Jacobs led the volleyball squad to the 2012 NYSAIS State Championship and was named to the All-New York City volleyball team by MSG Varsity. Her talents also guided the NYC Juniors Volleyball club team to compete in the Junior Olympics on four occasions.
As a track standout, Jacobs set the school record in 55m, 100m, 200m, 300m, 400m, 4x200m, 4x400m and 4x100m and placed 25th in the nation in the 200m at the New Balance Indoor Nationals during her senior season. Upon closing out her season year as a three-sport captain, Jacobs was the recipient of the Headmasters Bowl for Best Female Athlete at the Trinity School.