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UK volleyball coach excited about athletic ability of incoming recruiting class — ranked No. 1 nationally


University of Kentucky volleyball head coach Craig Skinner and his staff have assembled the nation’s top recruiting class, according to PrepVolleyball.

The Wildcats nabbed four of the nation’s top 27 recruits, a recruiting haul that Skinner believes can do big things in Lexington.

“There is a great amount of respect for our class coming in by some of the volleyball media,” Skinner said. “In terms of athletic ability, if you compare it to the class that just left, there were a couple of kids that touched over 10-4 (10 feet, four inches).

UK volleyball head coach Craig Skinner and his staff have assembled the nation’s top recruiting class. (UK photo)

“In this class, there’s four kids that touch over 10-4, a libero that’s 5-10 and a middle that’s 10-3, 10-4. So, on paper, physically, it’s an athletically gifted class and I think people across the country saw that.”

Among the group is the nation’s second-ranked recruit, Madi Skinner, the younger sister of current Wildcat Avery Skinner. Madi Skinner, who hails from Katy, Texas, is an off-the-charts kind of talent according to her future head coach (who is not related to the Skinner sisters).

“Athletically, she’s off the charts,” Skinner said. “She started as a middle blocker then transitioned to outside hitter. Her potential is still untapped and she’s one of the top recruits in the country.”

The nation’s 10th-ranked recruit is Reagan Rutherford, a versatile talent who is from Missouri City, Texas. She and Madi Skinner were club teammates with the Houston Skyline.

Rutherford has a unique skillset that the Cats hope to be able to take advantage of during her career.

“Very rarely do you have a player who can touch 10-7 and also be a setter,” Skinner said. “That’s a skill set that we haven’t had the opportunity to work with yet. She’s probably further along as a point scorer than she is at a setter at this point. But she wants the opportunity to set and we’re going to give her that opportunity whether we dabble that in right now or wait until January.”

Sophie Fisher is the 15th-ranked player in the 2020 class and she has recently changed positions. Fisher is an imposing figure at 6-5 and Skinner loves her ability to put the ball away.

Avery Skinner (4) is a current UK volleyball player, and she will be joined by younger sister Madi Skinner — the nation’s second-ranked recruit — this season in Lexington. (UK photo)

“She had several great opportunities but felt like Kentucky was where she belonged,” Skinner said. “She will be a multi-dimensional player, being able to score points and impact the game in several other ways.”

Also joining the class is the 27th-ranked recruit in the country, Elise Goetzinger from Blue Mounds, Wis. Goetzinger will provide stability in the middle for the Cats.

“Elise is an extremely versatile, powerful middle blocker,” Skinner said. “She’s an athlete who is still green at the position, but her ability to attack both in front of the setter and behind the setter is something that our long line of middles have been able to do. She’s a lot of fun to watch play the game.”

Riah Walker is the fifth member of the 2020 class. Walker is a libero from Sarasota, Florida, who brings height and physicality to the defensive position.

“Riah is a lengthy libero with great instincts for the game. You realize really how special she is when you watch her over and over. She was the MVP of a national qualifier as the libero which is rare at that level of play. She understands the long line of great liberos we have had in this program and she wanted to be part of that.”

While the class is rated as the country’s best, Skinner knows they haven’t proven anything just yet.

“Obviously, they have to perform,” Skinner said. “There’s no guarantee of anyone performing until they get to college and perform at the highest level. But it’s a pretty well-rounded class, on top of their athleticism.”

From University of Kentucky

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