AMES, Iowa – Iowa State volleyball has welcomed five additions to its program for the 2020 season during the November National Letter of Intent signing period, head coach Christy Johnson-Lynch announced Tuesday. ISU will welcome defensive specialist/libero Julia Capone from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, middle blocker Alexis Engelbrecht of Cary, North Carolina, outside hitter Haleigh Hadley of Ames, defensive specialist/libero Micah Hall of San Antonio, Texas and middle blocker Jordan Hopp from Alliance, Nebraska.
“I really like the athleticism in this class,” Johnson-Lynch said. “We are bringing in five great athletes, all of them have big-time upside. We wanted to bring in some height and physicality to our front row, and continue to shore up our back row with great defensive players. We have accomplished both goals with this 2020 class.”
Julia Capone: DS/L, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Capone, who will be the first Canadian in Iowa State volleyball history, has been a critical piece to the success of the St. Marcellinus Secondary School volleyball squad the past two seasons. She has helped guide her team to consecutive Region of Peel Secondary School Athletics Association titles, while also helping her squad finish second and fourth, respectively, in the Ontario Federation of School Athletics Associations volleyball championships the past two seasons. Capone served as a co-captain of last season’s squad and will be the captain of this year’s team. She has played club volleyball for Aurora Storm the past eight years.
“Julia has got the potential to be a great defensive player or libero at this level,” Johnson-Lynch said. “She’s got a great platform and feel for passing and putting the ball on target. She is smooth in the backcourt and has a great court presence about her. Iowa State was great fit academically and athletically for Julia and her family. She wants big time athletics, a big time conference and wants to be challenged both on and off the court.”
Alexis Engelbrecht: MB, Cary, N.C.
A Class of 2020 AVCA/Under Armour Girls High School Honorable Mention All-American, Engelbrecht wrapped up her outstanding high school career at Green Hope with a fourth-straight Class 4A state title, the second team in North Carolina history to win its largest class four-consecutive seasons. Engelbrecht, a team captain and two-time all-conference honoree at middle blocker, recorded 213 kills at .377 hitting along with a team-high 58 blocks as a senior. Her high school career saw her finish with 648 kills and 212 blocks at Green Hope. In club volleyball, Engelbrecht has played with Triangle Volleyball Club the past three years, qualifying for the 2019 USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships.
“Alexis is built a lot like Candelaria (Herrera), a physical presence at the net, especially defensively,” Johnson-Lynch stated. “She is vocal, assertive, and incredibly hard-working. She has played a ton of volleyball and played at a high level for a long time. Alexis is very eager to get here and planning to come early this spring and get to work. She fits the mold of the type of middles that have been so successful at Iowa State.”
Haleigh Hadley: OH, Ames, Iowa
Hadley will be Iowa State’s first student-athlete from Ames in 20 years, helping lead Gilbert High School to a program-record 32 wins as a senior. A two-time all-conference honoree, Hadley finished her senior season with 261 kills at .340 hitting while ranking in the state’s top-20 for blocking with her 103 total blocks on the year. Her sophomore season saw her help guide the Tigers to a Heart of Iowa Conference title. She played club volleyball at Iowa Heart the last three years, helping lead her 17 Black team to a ninth place finish at the 2019 AAU Junior National Championships. She comes from a family of Cyclones, as both her parents are Iowa State graduates.
“Haleigh is a terrific multi-sport athlete that could really develop when she commits to volleyball full time,” Johnson-Lynch observed. “We noticed Haleigh’s vertical jump and explosiveness right away when evaluating her. She’s got hops and plays much bigger than her height. We will likely move her to the outside, and are really excited to see what she can do as a pin hitter.”
Micah Hall: DS/L, San Antonio, Texas
Hall is another newcomer with Iowa State roots, both her parents having graduated from Iowa State and her father, Daryl, playing football for the Cyclones in 1993-94. A two-time team captain, Hall finished her senior season at Johnson High School with 269 digs. At the club level, Hall has played for SA Magic the past six years. She was a two-time selection for the Lone Star High Performance Team and helped her SA Magic team qualify for Girls’ Junior Nationals in 2018.
“Micah is a great defensive player with a lot of potential,” Johnson-Lynch noted. “She’s got quick reactions and a good feel for the game. She is passionate about volleyball and driven in all areas of her life. Micah comes from an athletic family, her dad played football at Iowa State, so she has great connections to ISU. Micah gets what it takes to be a great collegiate athlete and it was a perfect fit for both sides.”
Jordan Hopp: MB, Alliance, Neb.
Hopp has been a force in the middle for Alliance High School, wrapping up an accomplished career that saw her help lead Alliance to the 2018 Nebraska Volleyball State Championships, the Bulldogs’ first trip to State since 2000. She notched 623 kills and 407 blocks in her prep career, with three-straight 100-block seasons which included a school-record 143 as a junior. Hopp was an Honorable Mention All-Nebraska selection by the Omaha World Herald and Lincoln Journal-Star as a junior. She is an accomplished multi-sport athlete, being named Alliance’s Most Improved basketball player last season and earning Most Valuable Field Athlete in track and field in 2019.
“Jordan is an exciting addition to this class, in part because she is raw and a little under-the-radar,” Johnson-Lynch said. “Jordan is very long, she’s got long arms and legs, and has a prototypical build for volleyball. She is a multi-sport athlete, quick and explosive and can play very high above the net. We love multi-sport athletes, and I am excited to see how quickly she develops when she commits full-time to volleyball.”