Joplin, Mo. -- Missouri Southern volleyball coach Rachel Kirkman has announced the signing of two high school athletes for the 2014 season.
Katie Wiele is a 5-3 defensive specialist that is a native of Carl Junction and played at Carl Junction High School for coach Sarah Wall. A three-year starter for the Bulldogs, Wiele was a four-time All-Conference, three-time All-District and two-time All-Region pick. This past year, she was a first-team All-State selection, while being named the Big-8 Conference Player of the Year.
She holds the Carl Junction school record for digs in a career (1,275) and in a single-season (523). She helped the Bulldogs to four-straight conference championships, as well as a second-place finish in this year's Missouri Class 4 State Championship. The daughter of Patrick and Emily Wiele, Katie will major in pre-medicine at Southern.
"Katie is an outstanding defensive player that came from a very strong high school program in Carl Junction," Kirkman said. "She has always specialized in defense and it's evident as she is very comfortable and very confident in that position. Defense was one of our biggest struggles this year, and she will bring a lot of experience and determination to the court when it comes to keeping the ball of the ground! I'm so excited Katie decided to come here as she knows how to win and she knows what it takes to win. She will definitely help bring this team to the next level."
Alyx Gepford is a 5-9 setter from Butler, Mo., where she was a four-year starter for coach Lynelle Smith and the Butler Bears. A four-time All-Conference and All-District selection, she was also a three-time All-Region pick. Over her career, she has amassed 890 assists, 901 kills, and 212 blocks.
A highlight in her career was a quadruple double she had in a match against Sherwood High School where she had 10 aces, 12 kills, 15 assists and 14 digs. Also a standout on the basketball court, She was a three-year starter and was a three-time All-Conference and two-time All-District Pick. She helped the basketball team to three conference championships.
The daughter of Shannon and Misti Gepford, Alyx plans to major in health promotion and wellness at Southern.
"Alyx is just an all-around athlete," Kirkman said. "She will provide some much needed depth in the setter position, but has the ability to play just about anywhere we put her as she can also swing well and is quick on defense. She has great hands for setting and is quick enough to get to about anything, but is just a natural athlete that is strong and can jump well. I'm excited to see Alyx continue to grow and progress as she gets more comfortable playing at the collegiate level. She has so much potential to do great things in her time here at Southern."