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Nov. 29, 2011

PITTSBURGH--University of Pittsburgh Head Women's Volleyball Coach Toby Rens announced the addition of five Chicago Tribune All-State honorees - Jessica Boddy, Casey Durham, Jenna Jacobson, Amanda Orchard and Mary Striedl - to the Class of 2012.

"We're excited to announce the addition of these five student-athletes to our program," Rens said. "Each one brings a high level of volleyball experience to the team as well as great personal character. They will fit in well with our volleyball family here at the University of Pittsburgh."

An AVCA Preseason All-American Watch List selection, Jessica Boddy (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) was a three-time team captain, two-time Upstate Eight All-Conference and Upstate Eight All-Conference Academic Awardee. She holds school records for single-season solo blocks, career kills and career blocks. The 6-3 middle hitter was named to the Daily Herald DuPage County All-Area First Team and the Chicago Sun-Times All-Area Third Team this past fall. As a member of the Sports Performance Volleyball Club, Boddy brings elite level training with her to Pittsburgh.

"Jessica is a well-trained middle blocker," Rens commented. "She will add depth to that position with the graduation of All-Big East selection Kiesha Leggs. Her volleyball IQ and overall ability will be a great asset to our program. Jessica has an opportunity to make an impact early on in her career."

Off the court, Boddy was a mentor for incoming freshman, tutored elementary school students and aided the Star Raiders, a drug and alcohol prevention program. She was also a member of the yearbook staff and was named an Indian Prairie Scholar after accumulating a 3.6 GPA. Boddy also considered Bradley, Illinois State, Georgia Tech and Villanova.

Named the Central Suburban League Player of the Year, Casey Durham (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township) earned CSL All-Conference honors twice and was a Senior Ace Top 150. A 6-4 hitter, Durham was also nominated as a 2011 AVCA All-American. She was named the team MVP as a senior, and served as a team captain twice.

"Casey brings great size and a well-rounded skill set with her to Pitt," Rens notes. "Once she adjusts to the speed and pace of the game at this level she will do great things for this team."

Durham was named to the 2011 High School Volleyball All Star Game to be played on Dec. 3 at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Ill., benefiting Silver Lining Foundation for breast cancer awareness. A member of the AVCA National Top 50 watch list and a High School All-American nominee, Durham holds both the single-season and career record for kills at Evanston Township. She was also a four-year member of Sports Performance Volleyball Club. She finished her senior season ranked in the top 10 in both kills per set and hitting percentage in Illinois state records.

Active in her community, Durham volunteered at Sunrise Senior Living Community and helped coach her middle school volleyball team. Durham chose Pitt over Duke and Virginia Tech.

"During Casey's visit, it was clear to us that she could bring something special to our program," Rens stated. "If that enthusiasm and love for the game continues to grow once she gets here, Casey will contribute to the team in a variety of ways."

Jenna Jacobson (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young Magnet) is a four-year starting setter who holds school records for single-season assists, single-season aces and career assists. She led Whitney Young High School to a 35-5 record her senior year, including a regional championship and a second-place finish at the sectional championships.

Standing 5-10, Jacobson is a four-year All-City of Chicago Team member, two-time team captain and a 2011 AVCA Under Armor Watch List selection. She received the Highest Honorable Mention by on its National Freshman 59 List.

"Jenna is a great setter," Rens said. "She not only brings a great skill set with her to Pitt, but also a wonderful attitude and work ethic. Jenna has a great feel for the game and makes great decisions. She's competitive and loves the game. Those qualities will make our program better the moment she steps on campus. We are delighted to have someone as talented as Jenna coming to Pitt next fall."

As a junior, she earned Chicago Tribune and the News-Gazette All-State honors, along with All-Area recognition by the Chicago Sun-Times. She was also voted a three-time Preseason Top 50 nominee by the Chicago Sun-Times and once as a Chicago Tribune Preseason Top 50 honoree.

As a member of the First Alliance Chicago Volleyball Club, Jacobson played for the 17-Silver team, coached by Nic Paquiz, a current NCAA Division I assistant coach. She led her team to a first-place finish at the 2011 JVA World Challenge 17-Open Division, a second-place performance at the SPVB President's Day Tournament, third overall at the MEQ Qualifier 17-Open and 10th at the USAV Nationals 17-Open. Jacobson's 17-Silver team was ranked eighth nationally by at the end of the season.

Jacobson also participated in the USA Volleyball High Performance A2 Program in 2010 and was invited to the High Performance Holiday Camp that winter. An active beach volleyball player, Jacobson qualified for the National AAU Tournament in Long Beach, Calif. in 2009. Her team took first in the North Ave. Beach Cup in 2010 and placed second in 18's EVP Beach Volleyball in 2011. Jacobson was recruited by Denver.

Amanda Orchard (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich) led Lake Zurich to 120 wins in four years and holds the school record for career wins and career kills. The Daily Herald tabbed her as one of the greatest players to come out of Lake County (Ill.).

As a four-year starter, the 6-0 outside hitter led Lake Zurich to three regional championships. Orchard earned North Suburban All-Conference and Daily Herald All-Area honors in each of those seasons. During her junior year, Orchard was named the Lake County News-Sun's and Lake Shore Player of the Year.

A two-time all-state selection and team MVP, Orchard was twice voted team captain for head coach Matt Aiello. This past fall, she was named the Daily Herald Player of the Year and voted the NSC Sportsmanship Award winner. A 2011 Senior Ace Top 50, Orchard was also named as a Top 79 Sophomore Recruit by in 2009. She is also an AVCA High School All-American nominee.

"Amanda was heavily recruited by a number of elite programs across the country," Rens stated. "Given her overall athleticism and experience with Sky High Volleyball Club, that wasn't a surprise. We are excited that she chose to become a Pitt Panther. She will have an excellent career if she continues to stay focused and works hard."

Orchard was invited to compete on the USA Continental volleyball team in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She was a 2010 All-American member of the two-time AAU National Champion Sky High club team. Orchard participated on the third-place USA National Junior Olympics Open Division team in 2010. Additionally, she served as captain of the 2011 Lake County All-Area Team. Orchard also lettered in softball and basketball, earning all-conference and all-area in softball.

Orchard received the Excellence in Character and Leadership Award and is a member of the honor roll. She was recruited by Boston College, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, N.C. State and Northwestern.

"Amanda is one of the most driven players we've recruited," Rens commented. "I have no doubt that she is going to work hard every day to ensure she can contribute on the court."

Mary Striedl (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) played alongside Orchard on the two-time AAU National Champion Sky High team last season. The 5-11 lefty was a 2011 AAU All-American selection after an impressive performance at last year's national championships in Orlando. She was named the 2011 Pioneer Press Lake Shore Player of the Year, nominated on the 2011 High School All-American lists and earned All-State honors this fall.

"Mary is one of the most well-rounded players to come to Pitt in recent years," Rens stated. "She's a true six-rotation player that can attack, pass, play defense and serve. She has a fast swing and is physical at the net. Mary is a consistent server and passer. Her drive and overall game I.Q. will be a big part of our team's future success."

Striedl was also a Senior Ace Top 50 and earned all-conference and all-area honors. She is currently a member of Lake Forest's basketball team. Striedl strongly considered Delaware and Loyola-Chicago among others.

"Mary's performance at last summer's AAU championships was very impressive, Rens said. "The All-American award she earned was well deserved."

Women's Volleyball Inks Five For The 2012 Season

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