Volleyball Inks Four on 2023 National Signing Day
BATON ROUGE, La. – Head coach Tonya Johnson announced the signing of four new Tigers to the LSU Volleyball team on 2023 Signing Day.
The class features middle blocker Jessica Jones (Frisco, Texas), defensive specialist/libero Aly Kirkhoff (Indianapolis, Ind.), and outside hitters Lainee Pyles (Keller, Texas) and Brianna Watson (Flower Mound, Texas).
“The 2024 signing class brings volleyball IQ, experience of winning at a high level, and versatility,” said Head Coach Tonya Johnson. “Jess [Jones] and Lainee [Pyles] will be joining us in January to begin training for the 2024 season. We are excited for this entire class to be impactful immediately as we work to win in the SEC and nationally consistently.”
Jones is a 6-2 middle blocker who plays for Wakeland High School in Frisco, Texas, where she was tabbed the District 9-5A Blocker of the Year and named to the 2022 Dallas Morning News All-Area First Team. Jones plays club volleyball for Drive Nation. Last summer, Drive Nation placed fifth in the USA National Tournament. Jones was recently named as a 2023 AVCA Girls High School All-American.
“Jess is one of the most disciplined middle blockers in the country,” Coach Johnson said. Her work ethic, combined with her quickness on the floor, will make her a threat on both sides of the ball.”
Kirkhoff is a 5-6 libero who plays high school ball at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, Ind., where she is a two-time All-State selection after being named recently to the 2023 IHSVCA 4A All-State First Team. In the 2022 season, Kirkhoff ranked No. 2 in Indiana for most digs in a single season and was placed on the 2022 Indy Star Central Indiana All-USA Super Team First Team. Kirkhoff is a member of the Team Indiana Volleyball Club team. Kirkhoff was recently named a 2023 AVCA Girls High School All-American.
“Aly shines as a leader on the defensive side,” said Coach Johnson. “Her passion and relentless pursuit within the game will elevate our competitiveness at the libero position.”
Pyles, who stands at 6-2, will get reps as an outside hitter for the Tigers. Pyles plays for Fossil Ridge High School in Keller, Texas, and is not only the district MVP but also a 2022 National Champion with Madfrog Volleyball Club and Tournament MVP in the USA Volleyball All-Star Tournament.
“Lainee thrives in big moments to put a ball away and comes through for her team with her powerful arm,” Coach Johnson said. “LSU is her dream school, and we are excited to see her in purple and gold.”
Watson is a 6-1 outside hitter who plays for Flower Mound High School. Watson is a two-time All-District and an All-State selection. Watson played club with Jones on Drive Nation last summer and gained other accolades, such as being a GJMC 16U Open gold medalist and being named a 17U All-American by Prep Volleyball. Watson was also a 2022 National Champion with Madfrog Volleyball Club with future LSU teammate Lainee Pyles. Watson was recently tabbed as a 2023 AVCA Girls High School All-American Honorable Mention.
“Bri is a dynamic outside who is also very physical,” Coach Johnson said. “She plays high, has a great arm, and will add to the overall athleticism of this team.”
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