(L-R) Lilly Kruse, Madi Furtado, Aspen Thompson and Sydney Street will join the Liberty volleyball team in the fall of 2018.
Liberty volleyball 14th-year head coach Shane Pinder and his staff have announced the addition of four student-athletes to the team's 2018 roster. Madi Furtado, Lilly Kruse, Sydney Street and Aspen Thompson will join the Lady Flames starting in the fall of 2018.
"We are really excited about this incoming class and what they will add to our roster and program," Pinder said. "They are a talented class, but more importantly, great fits for the Liberty mission."
Madi Furtado (OH, 5-10, Atlantis, Fla./The King's Academy) Madi Furtado comes to Liberty after five years as a varsity starter at The King's Academy. Furtado, a five-time all-area selection, was named a MaxPreps All-American last year after scoring a career-high 559 kills. She set school records in career kills (2,024), digs (974), aces (297) and service points (784), along with three single-season records. Furtado has been her school's MVP each of the last three seasons. A two-year team captain, she helped her team to a Regional finals appearance this year, scoring 550 kills while adding a career-high 71 aces on the season. Furtado was a 2017 Gatorade State Player of the Year nominee.
Furtado comes from an athletic family, as her mother, played volleyball at Palm Beach Atlantic and her father played basketball at both Palm Beach Atlantic and North Florida.
"Madeline is a six-rotation outside hitter who is skilled in all areas of her game," Pinder said. "Her competitive drive and will to win is advantageous. Passion for the game and Liberty Volleyball make her a great addition to our program."
Lilly Kruse (OH, 5-10, Auburn, Ind./Lakewood Park Christian School) Lilly Kruse joins the Lady Flames after a standout four-year career at Lakewood Park Christian School. As a senior, she was ranked sixth in the nation with 147 aces, to go along with 546 kills. A four-time all-area selection, she was also named All-Northeast Indiana each of her last three years of high school. Kruse finished her career with 1,998 career kills. She was named a MaxPreps Player of the Week as a sophomore, junior and senior. A three-year captain, she appeared on the 2017 Under Armour Phenom Watch List and was also voted an Ultra Ankle Athleader. She was listed as an AVCA Phenom in 2016, and was the MVP of the 2015 North/South Indiana All-Star Match.
Kruse's older sister, Kelsey, played collegiate volleyball at Huntington University, where she is currently in her second year as an assistant coach.
"Lilly is a six-rotation outside hitter that has great back row skills and versatility," Pinder said. "She is a very focused and committed player with a strong will to compete. Lilly has a strong connection to the Liberty mission and we be a great asset to the program."
Sydney Street (DS, 5-7, Greenville, N.C./Grace Academy) Sydney Street enters Liberty as a defensive specialist/libero from Greenville, N.C. Homeschooled for the last three years, Street helped co-found the Pitt County Pacers, the first home school volleyball team in Pitt County. She was a two-year team captain for the Pacers, and helped them go undefeated during their first season as a team, 2014.
Street played in top-level club tournaments over the last four years, competing for the East Carolina Junior Volleyball Club. She served as ECJVC's starting libero each of the last two years.
"Sydney is a defensive specialist who has good touch on the ball and instincts," Pinder said. "She will add depth to our roster and daily competition to that position. Her desire to be a Lady Flame along with her positive approach to the game will have an impact on our daily process."
Aspen Thompson (MB/RS, 5-11, San Antonio, Texas/Sandra Day O'Connor High School) Aspen Thompson comes to Liberty from San Antonio, Texas, where she played for Sandra Day O'Connor High School for the last three years. Thompson was named to the TGCA All-State team and UIL 6A All-District first team as a senior, scoring 406 kills at a .340 pace. She also appeared on the 2017 UIL Class 6A State Tournament team, helping her team to a Texas UIL Region IV 6A championship. Thompson was also named to TAVC 6A/5A All-Star Team and received TGCA Academic All-State honors. During her junior season, she was voted her school's player of the year, with 283 kills, 101 blocks and a .330 hitting percentage. Thompson is a three-time academic all-district selection.
In club volleyball, she was named a 2015 AAU Academic All-American, while also helping her team earn a silver medal for the 15 Premier division in 2015.
"Aspen is a versatile attacker who has played all positions at the net over her career," Pinder said. "Her speed and athleticism will make her a tough matchup for opposing teams. I know our locker room and university will benefit greatly from Aspen's influence."