Volleyball brings in seven student-athletes for the Class of 2023

Volleyball brings in seven student-athletes for the Class of 2023

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Saint Anselm College women's volleyball head coach Braden Zamore has announced the signing of seven high school seniors to the Class of 2023. After losing six seniors to graduation in 2018, Zamore is looking to fill the void with this signing class, which will take the court in the fall of 2019.

This signing class includes two middle blockers, two defensive specialists, two setters, and one outside hitter. Five of the seven members of the incoming class are from outside of the East Coast with three coming from California.

Last season, Saint Anselm earned its second-straight appearance to the NCAA Division II Tournament. The incoming class is expected to make an instant impact on the team and bring the squad back to the postseason. The Class of 2023 is Zamore's fifth signing class at the helm of the Hawks' program. The group will start its 2019 season against East Stroudsburg at the Barry University Invitational on Friday, Sept. 6.

"We feel confident about this year's incoming class," said Zamore. "The incoming seven are athletic, have competed at an elite level and, most importantly, are high-character individuals. This class is intrinsically motivated and I am confident they will have a great work ethic. Combining them with our talented returning student-athletes, we have the opportunity for a great season."

Below is a look at each of the seven student-athletes joining the Hawks roster this fall. 


 

Caroline Belmontez – Defensive Specialist – Chula Vista, Calif.

Belmontez was a part of her varsity indoor and sand volleyball team at Academy of Our Lady of Peace in California. She played club volleyball for four years at Flash 619 Volleyball Club. The West Coast native was named the captain of her senior year squad, both indoor and sand. She earned her team's Sand Volleyball Most Valuable Player in her sophomore year. In her junior and senior year, Belmontez was a part of the back-to-back Sand Volleyball San Diego Division II High School Champion. 

Off the court, Belmontez received the honor of Union Tribune Scholar Athlete. Her mother was a San Diego California Interscholastic Federation (FIC) Champion in women's gymnastics, 1982 Gymnast of the Year and a part of the CIF Hall of Fame. Her mother went to Long Beach State and Sonoma State to compete in Division I gymnastics.

Belmontez was a member of the National Honor Society, California Scholarship Federation, Peer Tutoring, Fair Trade Commission and Junior Ambassador Program. She enjoys ceramics, playing sand volleyball, ice skating, hiking and coaching volleyball camps to young players. She will be majoring in psychology at Saint Anselm.

"I chose Saint Anselm because I loved how everyone embraced the culture and traditions found on campus," said Belmontez. "The coaching staff, the team members, and even people I did not know on campus made me feel safe and at home. I knew that was how I wanted to feel for the next four years."

 

Kam Blaskey – Middle Blocker – Ventura Calif.

Blaskey played indoor and beach volleyball at Buena High School while being a member of two club teams, Rise Volleyball Beach Club and Reef Volleyball Beach Club. She was named to the 2015 Channel League All-Tournament Team and Best Offensive Player Award in the same year. Blaskey finished off 2016 with the honor of Channel League's Most Improved Player. In the classroom, Blaskey was on the honor roll all four years of high school.

Last season, Blaskey was the Best Offensive Player Award by her league while earning Magna Cum Laude and the Bilingual Seal. In her senior year, she received All-League First Team honors through her time in high school.

She will be majoring in biology with a pre-med track and a minor in German. When off the court, she enjoys reading, going to the beach, and hanging out with friends.

"I chose Saint Anselm because I love the girls on the team and the environment they create," said Blaskey. "When I visited the campus and met the team, I instantly knew this was the place for me. Saint Anselm also has an incredible academic program which I was really excited about."

 

Colleen Chen – Defensive Specialist – Superior, Colo.

Chen played both volleyball and track & field while at Monarch High School. She competed in three different club teams including Flatirons Volleyball Club, Ballistic Volleyball Club and Fivestar Volleyball Club. 

In high school, she was a three-year varsity player for volleyball and a two-year captain. Chen was a three-year Front Range Academic Award honoree. Academically, she was a two-year member of the National Honor Society and four years on honor roll. In high school, she was a 360 Leader and Commissioner including Co-President. She was honored with a PE Leadership award during her senior year. 

She will be majoring in neuroscience with a sports psychology minor at Saint Anselm.

"From the moment I stepped onto the Saint Anselm campus, I knew that it was a special place," said Chen. "Not only are the athletics competitive and successful, but the community at Saint Anselm is intelligent, positive, accepting, and a thriving group of people. It is a movement of individuals that is going to make change in this world for the better through faith and knowledge. I intended to be a part of that upcoming change, and I am so excited to start that journey."

 

Lois Dogbe – Outside Hitter – Winchester, Calif.

Dogbe is one of the three incoming student-athletes to hail from the state of California. She played the sport of volleyball at Vista Murrieta High School. In 2018, she helped her team to a CIF Southern Section Championship and a Southwestern Championship. The year before, she led her team to a bronze medal in the Southern California Volleyball Association's Red Rock Rave. Dogbe was a part of a team that won the bronze medal at the 2019 Open West Coast Cup.

As a student, Dogbe was the President of the Peer Leaders Uniting Students Group. She was named to the honor roll in 2016.

Dogbe will be majoring in biology and minoring in communications at Saint Anselm. Her family is trilingual in which they are able to speak in French, English and Ewe.

"I chose Saint Anselm because of the family atmosphere the team has, and the amazing education and experience a strong community has as a Saint Anselm Hawk," said Dogbe.

 

Michelle Henwood – Setter – Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

Henwood was a three-sport student-athlete at Academia Maria Reina; playing softball, volleyball and basketball. She was named to the Puerto Rico High School Athletic Alliance All-Star Team in basketball and volleyball for one year. She led her team to the Puerto Rico High School Athletic Alliance Championship in her junior year.

She was chosen as one of 18 student-athletes to be part of Puerto Rico's under 18 and 20 national volleyball team.

She will be majoring in elementary education with a criminal justice minor at Saint Anselm. Both of her parents played sports at University of Pennsylvania.

"I chose Saint Anselm because when I had the opportunity to visit, I saw how the people on campus interacted with each other to create an amazing environment that makes me instantly at home. Also, it has an outstanding volleyball program and the girls were super welcoming. But the most important thing for me is that Saint Anselm has really good programs in both education and criminal justice, my two subjects of interest."

 

Kristen O'Keefe – Middle Blocker – Medford, Mass.

O'Keefe played three sports at Arlington Catholic including volleyball, basketball and softball. She was a threat in her league as she was named Central Catholic League All-Star in her junior and senior year. She was also named Central Catholic League Most Valuable Player to cap her senior season.

She was the captain of both her volleyball and basketball teams. While at Arlington Catholic, she helped her team win a Central Catholic League Championships all four years of high school in the sport of volleyball.

O'Keefe will be majoring in business. She was a Boston Globe and Boston Herald All-Scholastic. She graduated as a four-year honor roll student.

"I chose Saint Anselm because I like the atmosphere of the school and the 'family-friendly' feel you get from everyone," said O'Keefe. "Additionally, I like that it's not far from home and it allows me to continue my Catholic school education."

 

Anna Zerwas – Setter – Shrewsbury, Mass.

Zerwas played three sports in high school incorporating her skills into volleyball, track & field and basketball. She set her high school's assists record while being a two-time volleyball captain. She finished her four-year career at Shrewsbury as a three-time Midland-Wachusett A All-Star, a league Most Valuable Player, a two-time Super Team member, Player of the Year, a two-time team Most Valuable Player, and a Massachusetts Girls Volleyball Coaches Association (MGVCA) Division 1 All-State First Team member. 

A year after leading Shrewsbury to its best record in program history at 17-3, Zerwas, a second-year captain, helped the Colonials to three more wins in the Central/West Division 1 Tournament for a 20-4 mark. Zerwas finished the 2018 season with 528 assists, 184 digs, 79 kills, 58 aces and 20 blocks, which led to her being named Telegram & Gazette Hometeam Player of the Year.

She was a part of the National Honor Society and Honor Roll at Shrewsbury. She participated in Unified Track which allows high schools students with and without intellectual disabilities to collectively represent their high school in an IHSAA sanctioned activity. 

Zerwas will be majoring in physics at Saint Anselm. She enjoys hanging out with friends, listening to music and playing with dogs.

"I chose Saint Anselm because of the wonderful community, along with the academic and athletic opportunity it brings," said Zerwas.