PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Rutgers volleyball team has signed three student-athletes to play for head coach Ann Leonard-House for the 2003 season, it was announced today. The three student-athletes are Lora Yankauskas, an outside hitter from Paramus, NJ, Justine Park, a libero from Reseda, CA, and Tamarie Macon, a setter from Fayetteville, NC.
The 6-1 Yankauskas, The Star Ledger Player of the Year and Gatorade Player of the Year for New Jersey and the Eastern Atlantic Coast, was a first-team All-League, County and State last season. As a senior, she broke her own state record for kills in a season with 478. She was also the first New Jersey high schooler to ever reach 1,000 kills, ending her career with 1,089 kills. Her high school team was the NNJIL League Champion and her club team, the Cut Shot 18’s, was the GEVA and LIBA Champions in both 2002 and 2003. Yankauskas was also an honor student during all four years of high school.
“Lora was the first player we recruited and gave a scholarship to from the state of NJ, which says something for the potential she has with this program,” said Leonard-House. “She has a very high ceiling. Physically she has all the attributes of a good volleyball player. We will be honing her skills and give her the opportunity to compete immediately.”
The 5-10 Park was Louisville High School’s captain and Most Valuable Player this past season. She played four years of club volleyball with the Thunder. Park is also an outstanding student, serving as President of Louisville’s chapter of the National Honor Society. She has also been a member of CSF (California Scholarship Federation) for the past two years.
“Justine’s strength is defense,” said Leonard-House. “We recruited her to be a libero because she is a gifted passer and defender. She is considered to be one of the best high school players in the country this year for the libero position. She has the ability to read and react quicker than most players, which are two big factors in being a good libero. We are very excited to bring her in and see what she can add to our passing and defense.”
As a senior, Macon, a 5-9 setter, was Cape Fear Region Player of the Year, Two Rivers Conference Player of the Year and team MVP. Her team was the conference champion for each of her four seasons, and she captained the team as a sophomore, junior and senior. Also an outstanding student, Macon was a National Merit Finalist as a senior, was a member of the Honor Roll every semester and was a member of the National Honor Society as a junior and senior.
“Tamarie has very soft hands and her placement is good,” said Leonard-House. “In my opinion, it may take her a year to adjust to the faster pace of the collegiate level. I think she has a very high ceiling, though. She is very smart as her records show. As she applies that to the game of volleyball, she can only help us.”