Champaign, Ill. - Illinois head coach Kevin Hambly has announced the signing of 6-4 middle blocker Maddie Mayers (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger H.S.) and 6-0 setter Alexis Viliunas (LaGrange, Ill./Lyons Township H.S.) to letters of intent. Both Viliunas and Mayers are ranked in the top 80 of the class according to prepvolleyball.com.
Viliunas is ranked 34th in prepvolleyball.com's list of Senior Aces. A four-year starter Lyons Township, she led the Lions to the 2010 IHSA Class 4A state title. This season, Viliunas had 272 kills, 37 blocks, 278 digs, 551 assists and 43 aces for a team that reached the supersectional round of the tournament. She holds the school's career assist record with over 2,100. Viliunas was named all-state special mention by the Chicago Tribune inboth 2009 and 2010 and second team all-state by both the Champaign News-Gazette and the Chicago Sun-Times both years. She is a three-time Suburban Life All-Area performer, playing for coach Joann Pyritz.
Prepvolleyball.com calls Viliunas "A complete player with innate leadership skills. She is extremely versatile with a great set of hands and a tremendous understanding of tempo. She makes players around her better."
Playing for 1st Alliance (coached by Sue Keck), Viliunas helped the 18U team to third place at the AAU 18 Open Nationals, winning the AAU All-America award for the division. She was named an AAU All-American in 2009 and 2010, helping the 17U team tofifth place at the USAV Nationals 17 Open Division in 2010 and third place at AAU Nationals in 2009. Viliunas was also selected to the USA Select Team. Her brother, Eddie, is a tight end on the Illinois football team.
"We thought Alex was the best setter in the class and our first choice," Hambly said. "She will come in and compete immediately for time on the court and will bring some size and physicality to the setter position. The thing I am most excited about when you look at Alexis' body of work is she is a proven winner and a great leader. I am excited she is joining us and I think she will have an immediate impact on our program."
Mayers, who is ranked 76th in prepvolleyball's list of Senior Aces, was named to first team All-Northeast Indiana the last two seasons and first team All-Summit Athletic Conference for three straight years, playing for John Minnick. The Saints won the pre-season SAC championship during her first three seasons in high school, also claiming the SAC title in 2009. During her senior season, Mayers had a .500 attack percentage with 276 kills, 87 blocks, 84 digs and 45 aces.
Prepvolleyball.com says, "Mayers has a prototypical build for playing middle in the Big Ten. She is an intimidating blocker and, with a 10-4 approach, should develop into an effective attacker as she gains strength."
"Maddie is a tremendousathlete, she has great size and is extremely long," Hambly said. "She can touch 10-4 now, but we feel that her leap will be higher than that once she gainssome strength. Maddie has tremendous potential as both a blocker and an attacker and we are looking forward to having her in the gym."