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Lions Ink Pair of Volleyball Standouts

Jan. 16, 2007

LOS ANGELES - Loyola Marymount volleyball and Head Coach Steve Stratos announced the signing of a pair of volleyball standouts Tuesday. Whitney Leonard (Saratoga, Calif./Archbishop Mitty) and Renee Horton (Wildomar, Calif./Elsinore High School) signed National Letters of Intent to join the Lions in the fall for the 2007 season.

"Both of these young women are very accomplished at the high school and club level," Stratos said. "They have a lot of experience at winning, which is very important when coming to play at this level. Because they have developed so well, we feel that both could have a major impact early in their careers."

Leonard, a defensive specialist, won the state championship with Archbishop Mitty High School in 2004. She was the school's first defensive specialist/libero to receive first-team all-league honors when she was All-WCAL in 2006.

On the club side, Leonard was a silver medalist and all-tournament selection at the 17-open Junior Olympics in 2005.

She is the sister of Courtnay Leonard, the Lions' libero in 2003 and 2004.

Renee Horton

"We have been recruiting Whitney for many years knowing that she's one of the very best liberos in the nation in her class," Stratos said. "She has done nothing but win for the last three years, both at Archbishop Mitty High School and with her volleyball club. We are happy that she's bringing that experience with her into our program."

Horton was a standout setter for 2006 CIF finalist Elsinore High School. She was a first-team All-CIF selection in 2006 and a three-time All-Inland Empire honoree, earning MVP honors of the Sunbelt League as a senior.

Playing for the Temecula club team, Horton was the player of the game in the title match as her club won the 2005 Festival.

"Renee, as an incoming freshman, may be the best pure setter that we've ever had come into LMU," Stratos said. "We've had a number of great setters in our program, and we feel that Renee is going to end up being one of the top setters by the time she leaves, in terms of her accomplishments."

The pair will join the already-deep Loyola Marymount roster for 2007, as the Lions hunt for their fourth NCAA appearance in five seasons.