ST. LOUIS - Saint Louis volleyball head coach Kent Miller and his staff have announced three signees who will begin competition for the Billikens in 2013: outside hitter Mal Dillon (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell Central), middle blocker Taylor Paulson (Louisville, Ky./Assumption) and outside hitter Dani Rygelski (St. Charles, Mo./Francis Howell).
"We are very excited about our 2013 recruiting class," Miller said. "They are a talented group of exceptional athletes with outstanding volleyball abilities and great attitudes. This group brings very high level experience from their high school and club teams. We expect them to have an impact on our program right away."
Dillon comes to Saint Louis from Francis Howell Central. She is an All-Conference, All-District and All-Academic team honoree in her three years. In 2010, Dillon was named to the Sophomore 79 by PrepVolleyball.com. She competes for the St. Louis High Performance VBC during the club season and, in 2011 led them to a second-place finish at the Gateway Regional Qualifier. Her older sister, Megan, plays volleyball for Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo.
"Mal is a dynamic outside hitter who can change the momentum of a match with her attacking skills," Miller said. "She not only jumps well but also is very quick laterally. With her continued development as an all-around player and her skills at the net, we expect her to contribute right away."
Paulson is a three-year letter-winner at Assumption High in Louisville, Ky. She was named 2012 Miss Kentucky Volleyball, an award given to the top prep volleyball player in the state. Paulson is a two-time All-State selection at middle blocker and a 2012 7th Region Player of the Year. As a senior, she recorded 270 kills and 64 blocks, leading the Rockets to a 38-2 record and a third-straight state championship. Assumption finished with a MaxPreps No. 5 national ranking. Paulson's mother, Monica, played volleyball and basketball for the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
"Taylor is one of the most physical middle blockers out there," Miller said. "She has been a force at the net for her Assumption High School team as well as her KIVA club team. She is a great blocker and a strong attacker, particularly behind the setter. Taylor's competitive attitude will help lead this team to a lot of success in the future."
Rygelski is a 2012 Under Armour All-American from Francis Howell in St. Charles, Mo. She is a four-year letter-winner for the Vikings and was named first-team All-Region three times in her career. Rygelski also has three first-team All-Conference honors, four All-District mentions, two All-State plaudits and a 2011 St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro team selection. In her high school career, she has led Francis Howell to three sectional championships and finished fourth in the state tournament twice. As a senior, she set the Francis Howell career kills record with 1,074. Rygelski led her St. Louis CYC club team to a seventh place finish in the USA Volleyball Junior National Championships.
"Dani brings an enthusiasm and attitude to the court that is hard to find," Miller said. "She is an extraordinary athlete who can attack from multiple locations with multiple tempos. She already has the skills needed to help our team improve at the net as well as in the back court."
The Billikens will wrap up the 2012 campaign against Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., on Nov. 21 at 6:30 p.m.