Dec. 3, 2007
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University women's volleyball head coach Kip Yoshimura has announced the signings of three players to national letters of intent. Joining the Bulldogs in the fall of 2008 is Kaprina Goodwin, a 6-0 middle blocker from Northport High School in Northport, Wash., Kelli Tikker, a 5-9 outside hitter from Lakeside High School in Nine Mile Falls, Wash., and Denise Van de Mortel, a 5-10 setter from Murrieta Valley High School in Murrieta, Calif.
"We return some great players in each position heading into this upcoming spring season," stated head coach Kip Yoshimura. "Each of these new players will make us a stronger program. We are excited to have Kaprina, Kelli and Denise become part of the Zag volleyball family. They are all excellent athletes and students and will be outstanding teammates."
Goodwin closed out her senior year at Northport with 378 kills, 200 digs, 173 blocks, 141 aces and 12 assists while leading Northport High to a fifth place finish at the Washington 1B state tournament. Northport also earned a fifth place finish at the state tournament in 2006.
"Kaprina has the athleticism to become a high level Division I volleyball player," said Yoshimura. "Coming to Gonzaga from a small school should not overwhelm her as a volleyball player. We saw her play against some of the country's best at the Volleyball Festival where she definitely stood out."
Goodwin also plays basketball and is a member of the track and field team at Northport. She has scored more than 1,000 points for the Northport basketball squad and earned a first place finish in 100-meters hurdles, 300-meter hurdles, long jump and triple jump her junior season.
Tikker led Lakeside High to the Washington state 1A volleyball tournament both her junior and senior years. The Lakeside Eagles placed second at state in 2006 after falling to Colfax High School and placed seventh in 2007. Tikker was named the Northeast A League Most Valuable Player as both a junior and senior and was the Co-MVP of 1A volleyball as a junior.
"Kelli is a player that can help us right off the bat," explained Yoshimura. "She is a strong and consistent player as an outside hitter; the position we recruited her to play. Kellie plays much bigger than her size and her ability to excel in the backcourt gives us some options next fall."
Tikker is also a member of the basketball and track teams at Lakeside. She earned second-team All-Northeast A League for basketball in 2006 and placed six in the high jump at the 1A state tournament after earning Northeast A League Most Valuable Player honors.
Van de Mortel helped Murrieta Valley High to a 26-5 overall record as a senior and an 8-2 mark in the Southwestern League. She played in 90 games as a senior, registering 67 kills, 34 aces, 54 solo blocks, 53 block assists, 226 digs and 836 total assists. She was a three-time Southwestern League All-Academic selection and earned first-team All-Southwestern League honors once and second-team honors twice.
"Denise is an athletic setter with skills and leadership abilities that will make an immediate impact on our program," said Yoshimura. "She locates the ball very well and is always in tempo with her hitters. I can see her challenge for playing time as early as this fall."
Van de Mortel also plays soccer and is a member of the track and field team at Murrieta Valley High.