Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

Nov. 15, 2010

Coach Somera on the Signing Class

by Koby Padgett
Assistant Media Relations Director

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A quartet of players have signed national letters of intent to play for South Carolina’s volleyball team, said head coach Ben Somera. The players, who will debut on campus in the fall of 2011, include Hanna Forst (Kansas City, Kan./St. James Academy), Lexie Pawlik (Granger, Ind./Penn High School), Bethanie Thomas (Madison, Ala/Bob Jones High School) and Christina Vereb (Rock Hill, S.C./Rock Hill).

“We wanted to bring some people in who were very athletic and had some size and length,” said Somera, “and I feel like we did that. We also wanted to bring in a couple of players who are great competitors and great skill players. I think we’ve got a nice mix of four athletes: two who really address that length and athleticism and who also have good volleyball backgrounds, and two who come from winning programs who give us a lot of skill and complete the variety that you’re looking for when you’re trying to build a team.”

A 5-10 outside hitter, Forst played a big part in St. James Academy’s 44-1 season that ended with its third-consecutive Kansas state 4A championship and in the top five in the country according to She posted 475 kills, nearly five per set, while hitting .446 and adding 255 digs during her senior campaign which ended in her winning the Evelyn Gates Award, given to the best volleyball player in the Kansas City area. Named one of the AVCA/MaxPreps Players of the Week for Nov. 2, 2010, Forst also garnered athlete of the week accolades from The Sun and Kansas City Star papers. As a junior, Forst made the All-Sun Volleyball and Kansas Volleyball Association 4A All-State first teams, while making the Star All-Metro second team. A second-team KVA All-State player as a sophomore, her Thunder team went 129-6 over the past three seasons. Away from volleyball, Forst played some goalkeeper for the Thunder’s soccer team, while she was voted St. James’ 2010 homecoming queen. With her Kansas City Power club, she helped the 16-1 team win the 2009 USA Volleyball Junior Olympic Open 16 championship.

Pawlik helped her Penn High School team to its first Indiana High School Athletic Association 4A volleyball crown this year with a 39-1 record while playing setter for her mother Lisa’s squad. The 6-0 Pawlik dished out 1,134 assists this season, while she also had 78 aces to lead the team. A 2010 Under Armour High School All-America Watch List member and one of’s top 250 Senior Aces, Pawlik twice earned Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association 4A All-State first-team accolades, while taking a second-team spot as a sophomore. Her squads went 134-18-2 over her four years at Penn, as Pawlik dished out over 1,500 assists her first two seasons and landed 58 aces as both a freshman and sophomore. A member of the Mizuno Gold club, she has participated in some national camps as well, playing on the 2008 USA Volleyball High Performance Youth Silver team while taking part in the Youth National A2 Training Team as well that summer. Twice, Pawlik has participated in the Donna and Dr. Jerry Thacker 5K Run/Walk for Education.

The Madison, Ala., native Thomas also garnered preseason recognition as a member of the Under Armour High School All-America Watch List. An Alabama 6A all-state team member as a freshman and sophomore, the 6-1 Thomas was a national finalist for both freshman and sophomore of the year by The Huntsville Times also honored Thomas after her freshman season on its Super (5A-6A) All-Metro team as she posted 594 kills, 321 digs, 82 blocks and 56 aces in 71 matches. During her sophomore campaign, Thomas amassed 582 kills, 312 digs, 98 blocks and 57 aces, helping her Bob Jones High School team claim the Alabama 6A crown. Thomas was named the tournament’s most valuable player for her efforts. Playing with the Rocket City Volleyball Club exclusively for the past two years, she has concentrated on working with 1984 US Olympic Silver Medalist Rose Magers-Powell to prepare for the next level instead of playing high school. Thomas has consistently been among’s top recruits, making their Frosh 59, Soph 79, Class of 2011 Next 30 (after its Top 50 recruits) and Senior Aces.

From Rock Hill, S.C., the 6-1 Vereb joined Pawlik and Thomas on Under Armour’s High School All-America Watch List. Posting a Rock Hill-high 452 kills (3.8 per set) with 231 digs and a team-best 75 aces, she led her team to the South Carolina 4A state finals with a 39-2 record. Twice a South Carolina Coaches Associaion of Women’s Sports 4A All-State honoree, Vereb participates in the 2010 3A/4A All-Star Game as a member of the north squad. Vereb also earned AVCA/MaxPreps High School Players of the Week honors on Sept. 7. This past summer, Vereb spent time with the USA Volleyball Women’s Junior Continental Team program. Away from volleyball, she twice finished in the top five in the 4A track meet in the high jump, tying for third her sophomore year. She also won a gold medal on National History Day in South Carolina in the senior group division in 2008 with her partner Demmie White.