While it is easy to overlook the fall sports as we enter the summer break portion of the school year, Charita Stubbs is quietly adding impact players to the Arizona Volleyball roster.
The Charita Stubbs era of Arizona Volleyball is a few months from beginning, yet she still managed to make a bit of a splash on a quiet Wednesday afternoon with the announcement of five new Wildcats ready to join the fold.
First came a pair of former Trojans with Arizona roots, then came a Duck conveniently also from the state of Arizona out of the transfer portal. After that, Stubbs quadrupled down on dominating the state of Arizona with a Libero from Gilbert, before wrapping up the day with a Libero with Italian roots, so as to not keep everything from Arizona.
As the dust settles in the early afternoon in Tucson, the Wildcats added a pair of Outside Hitters, as well as a trio of liberos, who should shore up the defensive game for the Wildcats’ backcourt following the departures of some key players.
Jordan Wilson: A Possible Game-Changing Addition for Arizona
A quick look at the proverbial back of the trading card look at Jordan Wilson is eye-opening:
- AVCA High School All-American
- Under Armour All-American
- #2 recruit in Prepvolleyball.com rankings
- 2021 Arizona Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year
Add in her first season stats for the Women of Troy, and this could be an all-time add out of the portal for Arizona Volleyball.
As Wilson brings with her 333 kills on a .243 hitting percentage with 12 aces on the offensive side of the net, she also adds 25 blocks defensively in her lone season with USC. Wilson joins the Wildcats with three years of eligibility remaining and is a product of Hamilton High School out of Chandler.
Continuing the Owes Legacy in Tucson Kalen joins the Wildcats
The daughter of a pair of former Arizona Wildcats, Kalen Owes comes to Tucson as a seasoned player and one that appears destined for Coach Stubbs to rely on during the 2023 season. While her father Ray played basketball for the Wildcats from 1992-95, her mother Laura was one of the elite setters in Arizona Volleyball history amassing over 4,000 assists.
Kalen herself brings 431 kills to go along with 84 blocks to Tucson, and after apparently missing last season, she comes with a couple of years of eligibility, and as such should provide some great veteran leadership to the Wildcats in 2023!
Defensive Stability Arrives from Eugene with the addition of Becca Morse
A former Under Armour Honorable Mention All-American, Becca Morse adds yet another level of impactful depth to the Wildcats’ backcourt. While she missed the majority of the 2022 season, Morse was a heavily relied-upon presence for the Ducks in 2021, as she registered 174 digs and contributed 20 points to the Ducks on the season out of the backcourt, largely fueled by her serving game where she had 18 aces.
The former 2016 Arizona State Champion with Corona del Sol should at the very worst, bring some serious competition to the backcourt in the event she does not win the libero role in fall camp.
Stubbs adds Kenzie Schoenhardt with an Eye to the Future
If adding Becca Morse was a big get for the Wildcats’ backcourt, Coach Stubbs may very well have gotten her protégé as well in Gilbert High School senior Kenzie Schoenhardt.
The acrobatic at times Schoenhardt looks to be a bit of a developmental project, which is quite alright, but on film, she shows the potential to be an impactful defensive specialist or libero for the Wildcats for years to come.
Not to be Outdone in the European Market, Stubbs adds Italian Giorgia Mandotti
Does hitting up Europe for high-quality international talent sound familiar to anyone? While maybe not as high profiled as Tommy Lloyd might be, the Arizona Volleyball program seems to have struck gold last year with Puk Stubbe turning into a solid hitter. And once again Stubbs and the Wildcats have turned to Italy to enhance their backcourt with the addition of Giorgia Mandotti.
Hailing from Milan, Mandotti brings high-level club experience as she arrives to Tucson from the ProPatria Volley Milano organization. With her experience in achieving a championship during the 2022 Italian Women Serie B1 League, you could expect Mandotti to bring a high competition level to the gym, and push for playing time in the backcourt, as she is listed at Libero in the U of A announcement.
Arizona’s Defensive Focus has Trajectory Moving Up
After the departure of starters Emerie Herman to Colorado State, and Kamaile Hiapo to BYU, it was easy to question how the Wildcats will fare in 2023; however, with Ana Heath and Ava Tortorello ready to take over setting responsibilities for Arizona this fall, today’s backcourt additions look to solidify the defensive side of the ball in partnering up with Kaori Robertson, Joy Galles, and Haven Wray.
Owes and Wilson seemingly only deepen and strengthen the ‘Cats in the attack game for 2023 with Stubbe, Sofia Maldonado Diaz, and Jaelyn Hodge all returning for Arizona.