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Volleyball Signs Five Highly Touted Student-Athletes

November 10, 2011
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
2011 Aggie Volleyball Signees
Name Pos. Ht. Hometown High School Club Team
Jazzmin Babers MB 6-2 Waco, TX Midway Austin Juniors
Angela Lowak OH 6-0 New Braunfels, TX New Braunfels Austin Juniors
Sierra Patrick OH 5-10 Austin, TX Lake Travis Texas Advantage
Shelby Sullivan MB 6-2 Richardson, TX J.J. Pearce Texas Advantage
Shelbi Vaughn OH/MB 6-2 Mansfield, TX Mansfield Legacy Tejas

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M volleyball coach Laurie Corbelli has announced the signing of five highly acclaimed student-athletes to national letters of intent. Four of them have been members of international, national and/or state championship teams, and a fifth is not only a decorated volleyball athlete, but she also is the fourth-ranked discus thrower in the world for the 17 and under age group.

"I know everyone hears this a lot, 'this might be the most athletic group we've ever signed,' but this might be the most athletic group we've ever signed," Corbelli said. "There is size, there is power, there are amazing jumpers; just a lot of fun athletes to watch no matter what sport they are playing, and we are glad they are playing Aggie volleyball next year."

Three of the signees, 6-2 middle blocker Jazzmin Babers (Waco, Texas/Midway H.S.), 6-0 outside hitter Angela Lowak (New Braunfels, Texas/New Braunfels H.S.) and 5-10 outside hitter Sierra Patrick (Austin, Texas/Lake Travis H.S.) all were members of the Austin Juniors club team that won 2011 USAV Girls' Junior National Championships in the 17 Open Division.

"The fact that they have already played together is a really huge benefit," Corbelli said. "They've trained together, and they've had to push each other already to win the highest award. They know each other's personalities on the court. They are very good friends and respect each other as athletes, and I think that is going to be a huge help."

Shelby Sullivan (Richardson, Texas/J.J. Pearce H.S.) led her Texas Advantage (TAV) club team to the 2009 USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships title in the 15 Open Division and was named to the all-tournament team.  A distant cousin of Corbell's, Sullivan has competed for the USA Volleyball Girls' Youth National Team and won gold at the 2010 NORCECA tournament in Guatemala. Her team also took first place at the 2010 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships, Women's International Junior Gold Division, and Sullivan was named best blocker. In 2011, Sullivan was named to the All-American team at the AAU Girls Volleyball National Championships after leading her TAV team to a second-place finish.

Shelbi Vaughn a 6-2 outside hitter/middle blocker (Mansfield, Texas/Legacy H.S.) has played varsity volleyball throughout her four-year prep career. She played her first two years at Azle High School, where she was named second-team all-district as a freshman and garnered first-team all-district and district Most Valuable Blocker and Defensive Player of the Year honors, as well as academic all-district laurels, as a sophomore. She transferred to Legacy High School as a junior and once again was named first-team all-district and academic all-district. As a senior, Vaughn, who has set every blocking record and all but one hitting record at Legacy, was named first-team all-district and district hitter of the year and earned her third consecutive academic all-district citation.

A two-sport athlete, Vaughn also is an elite discus thrower. This past summer, the two-time high school state champion and record holder placed third at the IAAF World Youth Championships. In the current issue of Track & Field, Vaughn is listed as the top female prep athlete in the discus for the 2011 season. Her top mark in 2011 was 176 feet, 5 inches, while the next best throw in the United States measured 166-8. She also had a best of 46-11 in the shot put, which ranked 21st.

For the 2011 season among Americans -- including high school, college, and pro athletes -- Vaughan's discus mark ranked 36th in the nation. Among junior athletes (age 19 and under) Vaughan was the top American in the discus and she ranks 16th in the world. Among youth athletes (age 17 and under), Vaughan was the top American in the discus and ranks fourth in the world.

The five signees, as well as two recruited walk-ons, will join the Aggies for the 2012 season.

"The personal accomplishments for all of them combined, with awards from their local schools to club teams to national championship teams, and one of them with tremendous international success in her sport of track and field, it's just a testament to their athleticism and the competitive spirit," Corbelli said. "It also means they have lots of versatility. Because they are so talented, athletic and versatile, I know that we can pretty much train them where they fit best in our system, and if one place is not working, there will be another spot that definitely will work. That is the beauty of it. It gives us a lot of different opportunities and I can't wait to coach them."

The Aggies lose five seniors at the conclusion of the 2011 season: outside hitters Kelsey Black and Chelsea Ringel; middle blocker Elise Hendrickson; and defensive specialists Sarah Grace and Cinthya Roberto.

Player Highlights and Corbelli Quotes:

Jazzmin Babers, MB, 6-2, Waco, Texas (Midway), Austin Juniors

All-Tournament at 2011 USA Volleyball Junior Girls Volleyball Championships... Senior Aces top All-Texas Team special recognition...2010 all-district first team and outstanding hitter...Super Centex second team...2009 Waco Tribune Super CenTex Newcomer of the Year.

"Babers is incredibly dynamic as an athlete. It looks effortless for her to do the things she does. She has been playing only a couple of years at a high level, and she still got all-tournament at nationals, so she is just at the beginning of her career, and she is going to be a dominant volleyball player in college." - Laurie Corbelli

Angela Lowak, OH, 6-0, New Braunfels (New Braunfels), Austin Juniors

Four-year varsity member, led New Braunfels High School to state playoffs every year, a co-District 25-5A championship in 2010, and the outright district title in 2011...Earned all-district second-team honors as a freshman and named to the first team as a sophomore and junior (2011 teams have not been announced)...Is a three-time member of the Academic All-District 26-5A team...Named to 2011 AVCA Under Armour All-American Watch List...2009 Soph 79 Highest Honorable Mention (top 145 sophomores in the nation)...2010 All-Centex second team...2010 San Antonio Express-News All-Area Super Team...2010 Outstanding Hitter honorable mention...2011 Senior Aces top 120...2011 All-Texas first team... A two-time All-Comal County Team selection...As a junior, earned all-state honors from the Texas Girls Coaches Association and was a All-American High Honorable Mention. In 2009, won a silver medal at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships as a member of the US Girls Select A! White Team and also was named to the USA Girls Youth National Team. Was a member of the 2010 USA Girls Youth National Team that won a gold medal at NORCECA in Guatemala...Was selected to the US Girls Youth Olympic Team...Was a member of the Girls Youth National Team that took first place at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships - Women's International Junior Division...Has been selected to the USA Girls Youth National Training Team for 2011. 

"Lowak is an absolutely great player to watch. To watch her jump, watch her swing quick, she reminds me a lot of Kelsey Black. She is very smart as an attacker. She is a very feisty and spirited athlete who is very dedicated to volleyball and academics, so we are fortunate that we got to get a letter of intent from her, very fortunate." - Laurie Corbelli

Sierra Patrick, OH, 5-10, Austin, Texas (Lake Travis), Austin Juniors

Leads a Lake Travis team that is the No. 1-ranked team in the state and is the defending high school state 4A champion...Individual honors included a No. 64 ranking in's Senior Aces...2011 AVCA Under Armour All-American Watch List...2011 Central Texas Top Ten Players to Watch by Austin American-Statesman...2011 Special Recognition All-Texas Team...2010 High School State 4A All-Tournament Team...Was runner-up to Darby Graff of Hallsville High School in the high jump at the 2011 UIL State Track & Field Meet with a 5-feet, 7-inch effort...Was a member of the 2008 USA Youth Select Team and competed for the 2009 A1 USA Youth National team at the High Performance Camp in Fort Lauderdale, Fla...2010 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships, Women's International Junior Gold Division, third place USA Youth A2 Red...2006 USA Volleyball Girls Select Holiday Camp Roster...Is coached at Lake Travis by Jennifer (Wells) Kazmierski, who played volleyball under coach Laurie Corbelli at Texas A&M in 1994-97...Sierra's mother, Sandra Farmer-Patrick, won a silver medal for USA in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, and also competed in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta...Sierra's father, David Patrick, competed for USA in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1992 Olympics.

"Sierra loves to be the one counted on when it is time to score. She dreams big, and we are here to help her achieve those big dreams, and we are looking very forward to have her train with us and play with us. She has been on a national championship team in club, she has been on a state championship team in high school, and she is a big reason why those teams got that far. She is used to that spotlight, and she likes it, and she expects nothing less, and wants to be at A&M and achieve the same types of things." - Laurie Corbelli

Shelby Sullivan, MB, 6-2, Richardson, Texas (J.J. Pearce), Texas Advantage

A three-time all-district selection and two-time district most valuable blocker...Led J.J. Pearce to four undefeated district seasons and back-to-back state semifinal appearances, including 2010 when the Mustangs fell to eventual state champion Lake Travis, led by future Aggie teammate Sierra Patrick...Named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association all-state team and's All-Texas second team in 2010...Was a member of the 2010 USA Girl's Youth National Team...Won gold at NORCECAs in Guatemala...Took first place at the 2010 High Performance Championships Women's International Junior Gold Division and was named best blocker...Competed for TAV Rags 17 Black club team and earned All-American honors after leading team to a second-place finish at the 2011 AAU Girls Volleyball National Championships...Was named the 2010 best offensive blocker at the prestigious Duncanville Tournament of Champions and earned all-tournament honors in 2011...Is a two-time Pepsi/NFL punt, Pass and Kick national champion (2006, 2007).

"Shelby was selected to the Youth National Team as a middle blocker and was one of the favorites on that team from the coaching staff because of her hard work, her team spirit; not even talking about all of her talent, but what an awesome kid she was to coach and to have on the team. That just shows the character, and when a coach at that level says how much they love coaching a kid, it speaks volume to me because you know you have someone who is going to be on your side all the time and will be do the best that they can all the time." - Laurie Corbelli

Shelbi Vaughan, OH/MB, 6-2, Mansfield, Texas (Mansfield Legacy), Tejas

Four-year varsity member at Azle and Legacy high schools...2008 second-team all-district 6-4A... 2009 first-team all-district 6-4A, Most Valuable Blocker and Defensive player of the year... 2010 first-team all-district 5-5Afor 5-5A district...2010 Mansfield Legacy team MVP, broke all the blocking records and all but one hitting records... 2011 District 5-5A Hitter of the Year, first team all-district, academic all-district...Played four year of club volleyball, including two years for Tejas...Track and Field: currently listed by Track & Field News as the top female prep athlete in the discus for 2011 season...Her top mark in 2011 was 176 feet, 5 inches in the discus, while the next best in the United States among high school girls was 166-8...Also had a best of 46-11 in the shot put, which ranked 21st...For the 2011 season among Americans (including high school, college, and pro athletes) Vaughan's discus mark ranked 36th in the nation...Among junior athletes (age 19 and under) Vaughan was the top American in the discus and she ranks 16th in the world...Among youth athletes (age 17 and under) Vaughan was the top American in the discus and ranks fourth in the world...Two-time Texas  5A high school champion in the discus and two-time runner-up in shot put...Discus: USATF Junior Champion (165-5) in Eugene, Oregon...World Youth Trials runner-up (159-10) in Myrtle Beach, S.C...bronze medalist at World Youth (172-6) in France...Set her PR in the qualifying round of World Youth (176-5) medalist at Pan Am Junior Championships (174-3) in Miramar, Fla...Shot Put: sixth at USATF Juniors (42-8 3/4)...third at World Youth Trials (45-8) in Myrtle Beach.

"Shelbi Vaughn is truly a world-class athlete," Corbelli said. "She can jump with no effort. She is incredibly powerful, and she's been blessed with great eye-hand coordination and a great competitive spirit. I don't know that we have had an athlete of this caliber in our gym in a long time. When people see her, they are not sure she is a volleyball player, because she does resemble a discus thrower. She is very muscular and a very strong girl. She is a beautiful volleyball player, and we can't wait to get her into our gym." - Laurie Corbelli


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