(Editor's Note: Montana Tech athletics release)
BUTTE -- Montana Tech head volleyball coach Brian Solomon announced the signing of five talented recruits for the 2020 season. Three of the signees hail from the Treasure State in Megan Benton, Sarah Hopcroft, and Alexis Umland. Mackenzie Davis joins the Orediggers from California and Shelby Draper joins from Cheney, Washington.
"We are very excited to welcome a great class of student-athletes next year. I can't wait to see what this group adds to our program in the fall," said Montana Tech volleyball coach Brian Solomon.
Megan Benton- Outside Hitter- Billings West High School
Benton, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter from Billings, Mont., was first team all-conference and all-state for Billings West as a senior. Benton played every spot in the rotation for the Golden Bears helping them to an Eastern AA Conference championship. Benton averaged 2.37 kills per set and 2.39 digs per set. Benton was an academic all-state honoree the past two years and a member of the National Honor Society. Megan, the daughter of Darren and Cara, will pursue a degree in Occupational Safety & Health.
Sarah Hopcroft- Libero- Florence/Carlton High School
Hopcroft, a 5-foot-8 libero from Florence, Mont., was an all-conference and all-state selection for the Falcons for the past three seasons. Hopcroft was a two-year captain for Florence-Carlton and earned academic all-state recognition. Hopcroft played in the Montana Volleyball All-Star Game as both a junior and a senior. Hopcroft was a member of the Montana Volleyball Academy team that qualified for the Junior Olympics in 2018 and 2019. Hopcroft, the daughter of Bettina and Patrick and the younger sister of NAIA All-American Sabrina, will pursue a degree in Nursing.
Alexis Umland- Outside Hitter- Missoula Sentinel High School
Umland, a 5-foot-10 outside hitter from Missoula, Mont., played competitively for the Montana Volleyball Academy and for head coach Erin Keffeler's Spartans that earned the 3-seed in the West for the 2019 State Class AA Volleyball Tournament. Umland, the daughter of Lorene and Scott, will pursue a degree in Nursing.
Mackenzie Davis- Setter- Villa Park, Calif.
Davis, a 5-foor-7 setter from Villa Park, Calif., was a four-year varsity letter winner and starter as a setter and defensive specialist. Davis captained Villa Park High School to an undefeated season, a league title, and a second consecutive appearance in the CIF Playoffs. Davis was the North Hills CIF Southern Section MVP as a senior. Mackenzie is the daughter of Steve and Judy and the sister of Kaylene Davis who attends Montana Tech and will be playing volleyball in the 2020 season.
Shelby Draper- Outside Hitter- Cheney, Wash.
Draper, a 6-foot-1 Outside Hitter from Cheney, Wash., was a two-time first team all-conference performer and a two-time captain for the Blackhawks of Cheney High School. Draper piled up the accolades in high school being named Athlete of the Week four times, Scholar Athlete four times, the Best Offensive Player once, and Team MVP her senior season. Draper received 11 varsity letters in three different sports in her high school career, is a member of the National Honor Society, and Class Vice President. Draper is the daughter of Dean and Cori Draper and plans on pursuing a degree in Engineering.
"I can't thank our faculty and staff enough," added Solomon. "They go the extra mile every day for our students; the academic fit and faculty involvement were what made this cohort so much fun to recruit."
The Orediggers won their second regular season conference title this year under eighth year head coach Brian Solomon. Montana Tech ranked as high as No. 16 in the NAIA Coaches' Top 25 Poll during the season. Solomon received the Frontier Conference Coach of the Year award for the third time. The Orediggers reached Sioux City, Iowa and the NAIA Volleyball National Tournament for the third time in four years. The Oredigger volleyball team will unveil their Frontier Conference Championship banner at tonight's basketball game against Carroll College.