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Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Nov. 15, 2006
Lipscomb University volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal looked to the Midwest for talent.
He found Alex Kelly and Stefine "Jake" Pease, teammates on the same club team but from two different cities and states. They have both signed to play next season for the Lady Bisons.
Kelly is from Kansas City, Mo, and Pease is from Topeka, Kansas. They both play for the MAVS, a 10th place finisher this past year in the Junior Olympics National Tournament.
"Jake drove 1 ½ hours each way to every club practice," Rosenthal said. "That kind of gives you an idea of her dedication."
Pease, who prefers to go by "Jake" which is ironically the name of Rosenthal's daughter, is a versatile athlete who also starred in soccer Shawnee Heights High School. She lettered four years in both volleyball and soccer. She was captain of her volleyball team as a senior, earning All-State honor as a junior and senior.
"Jake brings an unbelievable amount of experience to the court," Rosenthal said. "That is great to see at such an early age. She is one of those players who is going to make a difference from the start no matter what position she plays.
"She is probably our most highly-touted recruit we have had. She is good, but it is not just that. She brings a calming effect to the court. She has played in a lot of high pressure games already."
Pease, 5-foot-8, is also strong academically. She is an honor roll student and a Kansas Scholar which means she is in the top 10 percent of her class. She is also included in Who's Who Among American High School Students and Who's Who Among American High School Athletes.
"Athletically, she is a rival to Lindsey Rutherford. There are a lot of similarities to their games. People are going to have a good time watching Jake.
"There are going to be times when people are going to turn to the person next to them and ask how she did what she just did. We have watched her for eight or nine months and every time I have watched her I find myself saying the same thing."
She was impressed by Lipscomb after making both unofficial and official visits.
"I got to know the players and coaches," Pease said. "I saw the kinds of people who were at Lipscomb and I noticed how friendly everyone was. I felt like I was at home."
Kelly, 6-feet, was also a soccer standout at Park Hill High School. In volleyball she was All-District and All-Region as a junior and senior and second team All-State. She was also captain and Most Valuable Player on her high school team as a senior.
She lettered two years in volleyball and three years in both soccer and basketball.
"Alex is a little bit newer to the game than Jake," Rosenthal said. "She is still growing. She is also a very athletic person.
"The upside to Alex is so big. She equate a lot of her ability to Alex Scruggs here. When I first recruited her I thought Scruggs could be a dominate player. I think Alex Kelly is further along than Alex Scruggs was when she first started. She is quick and the height factor doesn't hurt at all."
Kelly is also academically sound, lettering three years in academics. She was also named to Who's Who Among American High School Students.
"I loved the coaches and players," Kelly said. "They were all amazing. Plus, I get four more years to play on the same team with Jake Pease."
Rosenthal doesn't want to put too much pressure on the young duo, but he thinks they can help take the Lady Bisons to the next level.
"Both of them are competitors," Rosenthal said. "For them to have played on the same club team in the open division, where the best of the best play, is a major plus.
"We feel very strongly about these two helping to take us to the next level."