Nov. 15, 2012
FORT COLLINS, Colo.—With four graduating seniors on the 2012 roster, Head Coach Tom Hilbert and the Colorado State Rams women’s volleyball program are looking to their youth to continue their tradition of excellence. With that comes two new prospects—Jaliyah Bolden and Michelle Lawrence—in which Hilbert has high expectations for.
“I’m excited for the class we’re signing, and what Jaliyah and Michelle will add to our team,” he said.
Lawrence comes from Walnut Creek, Calif., where she was a three-year letterwinner in volleyball at Northgate High School. Focusing strictly on volleyball, Lawrence was a first-team All-Diablo Valley Athletic League selection all three seasons. She was also named the league MVP as a junior and senior, leading her school to the league title both years. The 6-2 outside hitter was captain of her team as a senior, and also played club volleyball for NorCal.
Lawrence was born in Los Angeles to Steven and Julie Lawrence. Her father played water polo at Brown University. She has a younger sister, Renee.
“Michelle is a physical outside hitter that plays all the way around,” Hilbert said. “Once she develops, she fits the mold of a player like Dana Cranston in terms of her physicality. She’s a great player, and I’m really excited for her future at Colorado State.”
Bolden, a 6-1 outside hitter from Rowlett, Texas, was a three-year letterwinner at Sachse High School. She also played basketball for three seasons and ran track as a freshman. Additionally, she competed for Victory Volleyball Club.
At Sachse, Bolden helped her team become district champions as a sophomore, and share the title as a junior. That year, her school advanced to the Elite Eight of the Texas state tournament. As a sophomore, Bolden’s first on varsity, she was named her team’s newcomer of the year in addition to the best offensive player. The following season, she earned the team’s Mustang heart award from her coach.
As a senior this past fall, she averaged 2.06 kills, 0.36 aces and 0.70 blocks per set, ranking among the top players in the state.
Aside from volleyball, Bolden is involved with Beta Club and volunteers for several organizations in her community. She also helps coach her younger sister in volleyball. Bolden is the oldest child to Monica and James Bolden. She has a younger brother, Jaylon, and sister, Jhayla.
“Jaliyah is a fast middle,” Hilbert said. “She’s not as big as a lot of the girls we’ve recruited in the past, but she has good feet and she’s a good blocker. Like most freshmen, she’s a developmental player, but she has a lot of upside.”
Hilbert also noted that Bolden is the second player he’s signed from the Dallas area in the last three years—also Marlee Reynolds—a region he hopes to continue utilizing.
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