UAF volleyball and Head Coach Brian Scott add three through 2021 signing class
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Alaska Nanooks volleyball program and Head Coach Brian Scott added three new student-athletes with the 2021 signing class. The ‘Nooks have added Karli Nielson, Kinley Erickson and Ainsley Smith.
The Patty Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will be full of North Pole High School fans cheering on the duo of Smith and Erickson. Both players dominated in their junior and senior seasons for the Patriots, scoring back-to-back Mid Alaska Conference championships. Erickson will be making a switch to her position on the court, going from an outside hitter to a libero/defensive specialist. Erickson’s energy on the court stood out to Coach Scott who adds another talented player to his roster. The only other libero on the team at the moment is Dani Dodge, a junior transfer from Topeka, Kansas. Erickson and Smith will join a roster that has two other Alaskans on it with Emily Moorhead and Zoey Keene.
“She for sure is the first one there.” said Coach Scott about Erickson’s efforts in practice. “She’s got the shoes laced up, she’s ready to go, she’s amped to go every time you walk into the gym. Just love that about her personality. That’s somebody we want to have.”
Smith will get an opportunity to join the Nanooks that has a rich history in the setter position. Since Coach Scott has taken over for the Blue and Gold in 2015, he has had Rachel Nichols, Miranda Greiser and Cate Whiting lead the Nanooks from the setter spot. Coach Scott says that the future Nanook will get to learn from Whiting and Taylor Overn.
“Ainsley’s going to fit in great with our group of setters,” said Coach Scott. “We have very talented setters with Cate [Whiting] and Taylor [Overn] and now Ainsley [Smith]. It’s going to be awesome to see them push each other. They’re just going to help each other hone their craft.
Nielson comes from South Weber, Utah where she racked up accolades in volleyball for club teams and Northridge High School. The 5′11′' outside hitter brings another strong arm for the Nanooks, joining the likes of AveRee Reynolds and Lahra Weber. Nielson joins a growing list of players from Utah that have made their way to the Golden Heart City.
“She’s a great athlete, she can kind of player all-around the court and she’s got a big arm,” said Coach Scott. “Good Leaper and [I’m] really excited to pick up an athlete of her caliber to come play for us.”
The Great Northwest Athletic Conference is still in talks of possibly running a conference-only schedule later into the spring semester.
Copyright 2021 KTVF. All rights reserved.