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VB | Gaels Sign Talented, Versatile Quartet

(From left to right) Selbie Christensen, Alosina Thompson, Breyan Ashley and Kelsey Knudsen all signed NLIs to join the Gaels in 2018.
Nov. 14, 2017

MORAGA, Calif. — The Saint Mary’s women’s volleyball team announced a loaded signing class Tuesday with four preeminent prep players from all over the West Region signing National Letters of Intent to join the Gaels in 2018-19, as Selbie Christensen (Keizer, Ore.), Kelsey Knudsen (Santa Clarita, Calif.), Alosina Thompson (Layton, Utah) and Breyan Ashley (Dublin, Calif.) all signed.

“The class of 2018 has shaped up to be one of the most exciting recruiting classes in recent memory,” said Saint Mary’s head coach Rob Browning. “Kelsey, Selbie, Alo and Breyan are the real deal and will help us significantly in our pursuit of another WCC championship. They will be joined by three other outstanding classmates who we will announce at the appropriate time in the future. All of them will compete for court time right off the bat, whether that be on our indoor team or our beach team, or both. They will have some stiff competition from our many returning players who are so good and have a lot of experience.

“Both our indoor and beach teams will be our deepest teams in the 13 years I have been here, both in terms of numbers and ability. The competition will be robust and will push all of our athletes to new heights. Our current team has set the bar high in terms of team culture, work ethic, academic excellence, and the pursuit of greatness, and I believe all of the incoming class of 2018 are ready to contribute in all areas. We welcome all of these exceptional young women and their families to our Saint Mary’s volleyball family!”

SELBIE CHRISTENSEN – OH/OPP (Keizer, Ore./South Salem HS)

Selbie Christensen
Selbie Christensen
Christensen, a 6-foot, 2-inch outside hitter, comes to the Gaels via Oregon and South Salem High School, where she has been a multi-faceted power player for the Saxons. She posted over 360 kills in back-to-back seasons, including 425 this fall, while also logging more than 200 digs in consecutive years. Christensen has also been a force on the block for SSHS, totaling 85 blocks during her past two varsity seasons.

“Selbie is a force at the net,” said Browning. “She is an imposing blocker and is developing into a powerful attacker. Her versatility in the front row will give us the option to play her anywhere. Selbie also has good experience on the sand and she will make a good defensive partner happy with her ability to take away so much with her block.”

Christensen was named the Greater Valley League Player of the Year this fall after a dominating campaign that included 425 kills, 250 digs and 50 blocks. She earned three straight all-league accolades during her career, including back-to-back first team all-GVL honors in 2016 and ’17. She was also named to the Oregon School Activities Association all-tournament second team after helping lead South Salem High to a fourth-place finish in the 6A championship.

KELSEY KNUDSEN – DS/L (Santa Clarita, Calif./Valencia HS)

Kelsey and Lindsey Knudsen
The Knudsen name will already be familiar to Gaels fans, who have watched Kelsey’s older sister, Lindsey, star for SMC for the past three seasons, both indoors and on the beach. Kelsey will begin competing on the sand for SMC this spring after graduating from Valencia High School earlier this year.

Knudsen packs a defensive grit that helped the Vikings win back-to-back Foothill League championships and earn a spot in the California Interscholastic Federation state championship tournament in 2015. She collected 400 or more digs in each of her junior and senior years. She is also one of the best servers in the class with 80 service aces to her name over two varsity seasons.

“First and foremost, Kelsey is a competitor,” said Browning. “Not only does she have a burning desire to win, but she also knows how to win. Her ball control expertise, high volleyball IQ and willingness to fight are what will make her one of the best back-row players in the WCC. Kelsey is also a standout beach player with years of experience playing at a high level – most notably with and against her sisters and parents — the best teammates and opponents anyone could find.”

Knudsen was named the Foothill League Player of the Year as a senior in 2016, which followed a first team all-league dubbing as a junior in 2015.

ALOSINA THOMPSON – S (Layton, Utah/Northridge HS)

Alosina Thompson
Thompson will settle into the setter position at Saint Mary’s after displaying all-around talents at Northridge High School in Layton, Utah. Thompson was a four-year letterwinner with the Knights, earning first team all-region and team Most Valuable Player honors for two straight years (2016-17). As an outside hitter, she hit an outstanding .423 with 228 kills this fall while helping Northridge High finish sixth at the state tournament.

“Alo is probably the most athletic setter we’ve ever had,” said Browning. “She has all the tools to develop into a premier setter in the WCC. Having played outside hitter, she has the foundation to develop the volleyball IQ necessary to help us win another WCC championship. Her all-around volleyball skill and athleticism will help her to become a great beach player.”

BREYAN ASHLEY – OH (Dublin, Calif./Dublin HS)

Breyan Ashley
Breyan Ashley
Ashley has been a dominant outside hitter for nearby Dublin (Calif.) High School – which is also nicknamed the Gaels – for three years and will bring her offensive prowess to McKeon Pavilion in 2018. She posted three consecutive seasons of at least 340 kills for the Dublin High Gaels, and went over the 520-mark in both her junior and senior seasons. This fall she had 528 kills while hitting .367, and that followed a junior campaign in which she hit .413 with 523 kills.

“I was fortunate to watch Breyan play late in the recruiting process for this class. What impressed me right away about Breyan is the way she sees the game and responds appropriately,” said Browning. “She is a complete player with exceptional athleticism and a great ability to read the game and respond with a variety of tools she has developed in the gym. Brey also has the potential to become an outstanding beach player.”

Ashley was a first team all-East Bay League honoree as a junior and senior. Along with her 500-kill seasons in those years, she also had 50+ service aces both seasons and totaled nearly 200 blocks across the two campaigns.

 

 

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