Beach Volleyball's 2020 Recruiting Class Recognized Nationally
The Gamecocks' six-member class ranked 10th in the country by Volleyball Magazine
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina beach volleyball’s 2020 recruiting class received national recognition last week, as the Gamecocks’ six-woman class was ranked tenth in the country by Volleyball Magazine. Additionally, three individuals from the class earned a spot in the magazine’s Girls Fab 30 team.
Joining the Gamecocks for the 2020-21 school year are Samantha Ansel (Upper Arlington, Ohio), Sophie Bengoechea (San Antonio, Texas), Jillian Gleason (Burlington, Ontario, Canada), Alyssa Keller (Winter Garden, Fla.), Hannah Mackenhausen (San Diego, Calif.) and Elizabeth Thompson (Roswell, Georgia).
“It’s exciting to see to see how fast the youth game is growing in beach volleyball, I think this class is talented and ready to make an instant impact on our roster. We love the mix of size, speed and volleyball IQ that these young women bring to the table. This upcoming season may feature the deepest roster our program has ever had, I’m hopeful that our returners will push this group as much as I know this group will push our returners.”
Sammy Ansel is a defender who competed on the club side for Next Level Beach but also lettered in high school track and indoor volleyball. She won the 2017 AAU Junior Nationals, finished fifth at the 2018 16U AAU Junior Nationals, and plans to major in mechanical engineering at South Carolina.
Sophie Bengoechea is a member of Volleyball Magazine’s Fab 30 team, and won the 2018 AAU national championship while competing for her club, 210 Beach out in Texas. She already has logged time with her future teammates, playing with Ansel as well as Mackenhausen, and brings premier back-line defense to the roster.
Jillian Gleason joins the team after initially signing with UAB ahead of the 2019-20 school year. While she did not compete for the Blazers, the Ontario, Canada native has dug into youth competitions across the States. As a youth player in Canada, she posted a fourth place finish at the 18U Ontario Championships and competed for Legacy Beach Volleyball Club.
Alyssa Keller is another member of Volleyball Magazine’s Fab 30 team and brings an imposing block and a strong lefty swing to the team this coming year. Earlier this spring, Keller earned the AVP America Athlete of the Week award after winning an 18U qualifier and placing third in the EEVB’s Women’s Open in February. She went undefeated in the top pairing for her high school’s beach programs, and plays club for Cape Coast. Keller plans to major in International Business as a Gamecock.
Hannah Mackenhausen is the latest standout to head from the west coast to compete at South Carolina, and is the third member of the class to make the Fab 30 list. Mackenhausen placed second in the 2018 AAU Hermosa Beach Open in the 18U division and competes for WAVE Beach Volleyball club.
Lizzie Thompson comes to Columbia from Roswell, Ga. and shared time between A5 and Southern Sand Select beach volleyball clubs. She posted four 1st-place finishes in 2018, three in 2019 and helped her club win the BVCA Club vs. Club championship last April. As an indoor volleyball athlete, she earned the 2018 GHSA area player of the year award and was honorable mention All-State.
South Carolina finished an abbreviated 2020 season with a 5-7 overall record, with three wins over top-10-ranked teams and a schedule that featured 11 opponents ranked nationally. The Gamecocks are slated to return eight starters from this past spring for the 2020-21 school year.