HELENA — Carroll College volleyball coach Moe Boyle likes her recruiting class.
"In my mind, it's by far the best recruiting class we've had," Boyle said in a press release.
Spring practices and games wrapped up, and there's excitement about the new freshmen coming in. Boyle is quick to point out the comeback of Taelyr Krantz and the addition of Hannah Dean, the all-American basketball player, as major reasons her 2019 team will be deep and talented.
Krantz redshirted last season after tearing her ACL last summer. From the day she went down injured, Krantz has worked to get herself back on the court.
"She was really looking forward to coming back," Boyle said. "We've been in the gym a lot and she's put in time. Her coming back as an outside hitter is really (going) to make us better."
Dean returns to the volleyball court for the first time since her standout days at Gardiner High and after capping off one of the most decorated careers for the Saints women's basketball team.
Dean moves on from the basketball team after becoming a first-team all-American. She returns to a sport where she was she an all-state selection every year of high school and helped led her team to a 76-game win streak, while winning three state championships.
"You add Hannah into the mix who can add some leadership and competitiveness to the court and a veteran experience that you don't often come by," Boyle said. "And add that to the already veteran team we'll have with girls who have played quite a bit and we're deep."
When you view the credentials of Boyle's incoming class, it's easier to see why the coach is riding high.
"I know that it's a lot of pressure right now on me and them because I'm saying it's a great class, but I really, truly believe it's a great class," Boyle said. "I believe the next four years can be really great volleyball at Carroll College."
Carroll signed seven incoming freshmen to bolster a team that went 19-15 last season.
Katherine McEuen, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter from Mead High in Spokane, Washington, will come to the Saints after a strong prep career. She's played for USA Volleyball since 2016 and earned her conference's MVP award this past fall.
Sophia Spoja, like McEuen, also held NCAA D-I offers, but chose Carroll. The 6-foot outside hitter from Puyallup, Washington, also holds a league MVP to her name. She comes to Carroll after setting records at Puyallup High, including kills per game average (4.62), most kills at 507 and most attempts at 1,218.
Mara Lynch of Bozeman could turn some heads with her vertical leap built into her 5-8 frame. She earned Montana AA Eastern MVP as a senior and became an all-state selection. Lynch also is an all-state track performer.
Out of Flathead High, Madison Boles also will bring a high level of play from Montana AA volleyball over to Carroll. The 6-foot outside hitter served as her team's captain for the past two seasons while earning two all-conference selections and becoming the team's MVP. She'll also high jump for the track team.
Katie Rhodes figures to be a force at the net for Carroll. The 6-foot-2 middle hitter leaves Mt. Spokane with the record for blocks in a season and in a career. She's helped power her team to second and third place finishes and a state championship this past fall.
Kylie Kackman of Colfax, Washington, bolsters the Saints depth. The 5-6 setter will give the Saints a lift when she gets on the court. She's been a team captain and a co-MVP of her league and named all-conference three consecutive seasons.
Ellie Mead joins the Saints after serving as a middle hitter at Sunset High in Beaverton, Oregon. She served as her team's captain and became an honorable mention all-conference performer during her junior and senior years.
When you add it all up, and factor in the Saints return second-team all-conference performer Ayla Carpenter, freshman of the year Lexi Mikkelsen and two all-freshmen performers in Paige Wollan and Ali Williams, the Saints are built to be competitive in 2019.