GRAND FORKS, N.D.-- University of North Dakota head volleyball coach Mark Pryor announced the commitments of three student-athletes to join the defending regular season Big Sky Conference champions next fall. Julia Kaczorowska (kazz-or-OW-skuh) and Magda Zietek (MAWG-duh ZEE-teck) have signed along with a commitment from Skylar Hildebrand.
"When I first took a look at our roster, I thought that we could build in two areas, getting bigger and getting more physical," first-year coach Pryor said. "These student-athletes fit some very specific needs that we have. It was really important to find student-athletes that can score points for us both in system and out of system, and I believe that they will help the program, and be able to be productive students on campus and in the community. I think that UND fans will really enjoy watching these ladies compete in the Betty this fall."
Kaczorowska was part of a national Silver medalist and Ontario Provincial championship team with the Lakeside Volleyball Club. The Toronto, Ontario-area native was named a 2013 All Star after last season's Ontario Volleyball Championships. The six-foot middle blocker/outside hitter will join UND as a freshman in the fall.
"Julia is a player that can play any of the three front row positions; left, middle, or right. She brings size and versatility that really adds to our roster. Long term, I see Julia playing as a six rotation outside hitter for us, but I am not sure where she will play next fall. She could play at any spot in the front row, and that's a good problem to have. Another thing about Julia is that she is an immense competitor. I watched her will her team to wins more than once. Any time you can add that intangible to a locker room, I'm going to do my best to add that."
Zietek, A 6-foot-1 middle blocker, comes to North Dakota by way of Prairie View A&M. The Elbag, Poland native started her collegiate career at Missouri State-West Plains, where she received all-region and all-tournament accolades. Last season at PVAMU, Zietek played in 30 matches, registering 2.51 kills per set, hitting .250 with nearly a block per set (0.86) for the Panthers. She'll have one year of eligibility remaining.
"Magda brings collegiate experience as a middle. We currently do not have any returners that have seen any significant time as a middle. Magda was an All Region Middle in Junior College and has three years of playing middle under her belt. She will help bring depth to that position alongside Chelsea Moser, who has gotten all the reps this spring (and is looking really good by the way) and incoming freshman Faith Dooley. Magda is best at attacking behind the setter off one foot, and I was really looking to make sure that we had that to spread the offense from pin to pin."
Hildebrand is a back-row specialist from Homewood, Ill. She registered over 300 digs last season, helping her Homewood-Flossmoor High School squad to a 25-12 record. The 5-foot-5 Hildebrand was a Northwest Indiana Times 2013 Illinois Girls Volleyball All-Area Team and Southtown Star All-Area Team selection as a senior. She captained her team in her final prep season and was named the squad's Most Valuable Player.
"Skylar is one of those types of kids that you watch and you think 'I have to have that in our gym'," Pryor said. "She has great touch on the ball, and she has really good instincts. The aspect that I like most about Skylar is that she just does not stop competing. The more I watched her, the more I liked about how she maintained her energy level and focus during whole matches. Sometimes kids go in and out with their focus. She does not do that all. That is a true sign of a competitor. That is an infectious quality that can add to any team.
"Skylar will have a chance to come in and compete for time right away. With juniors Lauren Clarke and McKenzie Hart setting a great example of what it is going to take to be an elite defender in the Big Sky, she will be able to fit in nicely with our back row, and add to our serve receive and defensive game."
North Dakota (22-11, 17-3 Big Sky) won the league's regular season title last year (with Portland State) and graduated three players, including All-Big Sky honorees Ronni Munkeby (first team) and Lisa Parlich (second team) along with setter Ellen Krueger. UND returns starters Anna Pioske (Big Sky co-Freshman of the Year), libero Clarke (1,049 career digs), seniors Lexi Robinson (755 career kills) and setter Nikki Husfeldt (3,990 career assists, 3rd all-time at UND, All-Big Sky Second Team).