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Strauss-O'Brien Announces Volleyball Class of 2016

Holly Strauss-O'Brien announced the incoming volleyball class of 2016 this week.

Nov. 17, 2011

STORRS, Conn. – University of Connecticut volleyball coach Holly Strauss-O’Brien has announced the signing of four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent.  Immanuella Anagu, Madeline Kuppe, Marissa Prinzbach and Erika Thomas have all committed to join the Huskies in the fall of 2012.

"I am extremely excited and proud to officially welcome Erika, Maddie, Manny and Marissa into the UConn Volleyball family,” stated Strauss-O’Brien.

“Our recruiting philosophy is to recruit the best talented athletes as well as people with incredible character. In our program we aspire to produce champions. Champions in the classroom, on the volleyball court and in life.  This 2012 class includes volleyball players with numerous team and individual honors, as well as members of the National Honor Society, class presidents, team captains and many other leadership positions within their schools and communities.  I believe that this special group of talented young women can help take UConn Volleyball to the next level.  The future of UConn Volleyball is an exciting one!”

Immanuella "Manny" Anagu | 6'1" | Middle Blocker | Culver City, Calif.

Anagu, a 6’1 middle blocker from Culver City, Calif., has been a two-year varsity player under head coach Jessie Tupac at Notre Dame Academy in Los Angeles.  As a senior, she has led the team with a .593 hitting percentage and 2.6 kills per set and in her junior year was named to the Royal Volleyball All-Tournament team.  Last summer Anagu qualified to play in the Junior Olympics in Atlanta.



Strauss-O'Brien on Anagu: "Manny's athleticism and competitive edge will add tremendous depth and competitiveness in our middle position.  This will be just her third year of playing high level club volleyball and her ceiling is nowhere in sight. She is such a special athlete and learns very quickly.  It is not going to take very much time for her to adapt and get on the floor.  Manny is a physical presence and she has really become a student of the game. We are excited for her to help us continue to build towards a championship."

Madeline "Maddie" Kuppe | 6'2" | Outside Hitter | Palo Alto, Calif.

Kuppe, a 6’2 outside hitter from Palo Alto, Calif., has played four years of varsity for coach Dave Winn at Palo Alto High School.  Recently she was named her league’s Senior of the Year.  Helped guide Palo Alto to the 2010 state championship by recording back-to-back service aces to win the title match.  As a junior, Kuppe was named the Palo Alto Athlete of the Week by the San Jose Mercury News.  She also serves as student-body vice president and participates in long jump, triple jump and high jump on the track & field team.

Strauss-O'Brien on Kuppe: "Maddie truly exemplifies what UConn Volleyball is all about. She is a winner in the classroom , on the volleyball court and in life.  The best part about Maddie is that she earns every success that comes her way. She is dedicated, hard working and committed to excellence. Her athleticism combined with her leadership, ball control and overal savvy game is going to help our program get to the next level."

Marissa Prinzbach | 5'11" | Setter | Cincinnati, Ohio

Prinzbach, a 5’11 setter from Cincinnati, Ohio, has earned four varsity letters playing for coach Denise Harvey at Mother of Mercy High School.  She has been named to the All-District and All-State First Teams as a senior as well as the All-State Second Team, while earning Honorable Mention in all three as a junior.  Prinzbach has contributed to back-to-back district championships in 2010 and 2011 as well as participating in the state all-star game as a senior.  On the court, she completed her high school career with over 2,000 assists and captained her club team to three appearances at nationals from 2009-2011.  Prinzbach also participates in high jump and long jump on the track & field team.

Strauss-O'Brien on Prinzbach: "Marissa is a natural leader and competitor. She has a strong volleyball IQ and truly embraces the role of being a 'quarterback'.  Marissa runs a consistent fast tempo offense, plays with her heart on her sleeve and wants nothing more than her team to be successful.  I know Marissa will settle for nothing less than competing for a championship before her 4 years are over.  There is no doubt she will come in and help escalate our level of play."

Erika Thomas | 6'3" | Middle Blocker | Ocoee, Fla.

Thomas, a 6’3 middle blocker from Ocoee, Fla., has been on the floor for three varsity seasons under coach Harriet Lehnoff at The First Academy in Orlando.  She was named District MVP and earned All-State Honorable Mention, while serving as team captain this past year.  Thomas has helped guide her team to a pair of 2A State Championships.  She is also a member of the National Honors Society and girl’s basketball team.

Strauss-O'Brien on Thomas: "Erika is determined, motivated, and hard working. She knows what it means to earn success and is a tremendous athlete who is a versatile player in the middle and right side position.  Erika is a great volleyball player.  I believe she is going to explode her overall game in college and be a future force to be reckoned with in the BIG EAST Conference."