Lobo Volleyball Adds Three to Complete 2020 Class
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The University of New Mexico volleyball staff has wrapped up a busy, yet successful recruiting class with the addition of three student-athletes for the 2020 signing class, bringing the total to eight.
Completing the class will be Kara Erfurth, Emma Smith and Jazlynn Soriano, with Erfurth and Smith hailing from Texas and Soriano from California.
“We accomplished the mission we set out on over a year ago: to recruit the very best people we could to represent our great city of Albuquerque, to give this great state of ours a program to be proud of, and most importantly to represent our Lobos with the utmost of pride and with the highest level of integrity,” the second-year head coach stated. “Each of the athletes we bring in are hungry to leave their mark on our program.
“We feel it is not only an incredibly talented class, it also provides us an enormous amount of depth and our Lobo fans are going to love watching this group of powerful, strong, and passionate women play.”
Erfurth, a 5-10 setter from Round Rock, Texas, joins the Lobos with a large list of accolades.
“We are very excited to be adding a player with Kara’s experience and skill set to our setting position,” Newman-Gonchar said. “She has had a tremendous high school career and prepped with one of the top clubs in Texas. Kara’s been mentored by some great coaches and comes in ready from the start. In addition, she is a great student and an even better person and we are pumped that Kara is a Lobo.”
At Rouse High School, Erfurth was a state runner-up in 2017 and her team made it to the regional quarterfinals in 2018 and 2019. She was a two-time team captain, a first team all-district in 2018, the Offensive Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019, the Setter of the Year in District 17 5A, named to the AVCA Region 4 All-Region Team and a member of the Under Armour All-America Watch List in 2019. In addition, she set the all-time record for assists at Rouse High School.
A three-year varsity player, Erfurth played in 280 sets and averaged 9.1 assists per set, finishing with 2,548 assists. She also recorded 540 digs, 226 kills, 87 total blocks and 84 service aces. As a senior, the UNM signee registered 1,404 assists, an average of 10.3 assists per set, 159 kills and hitting .313, and recorded 310 digs, 41 aces and 492 assists as well as 32 total blocks. As a junior, she tallied 1,136 assists (8.0 assists per set), 87 kills, 502 assists, 229 digs, 43 service aces and 55 total blocks.
Furthermore, with her club teams Texas Eclipse and Skyline Juniors, Erfurth was a team captain in 2017 and was named MVP, an AAU Academic All-American in 2017 and was selected to the Skyline Juniors leadership council as well as a team captain in 2019.
Erfurth comes from an athletic family with both of her parents playing collegiate sports. Her mother, Susan, played volleyball at Eastern Illinois and her father, Scott, played hockey at Marquette. Her grandfather was a professional golfer.
On why she chose UNM, the setter said, “I love the atmosphere of the volleyball program and the amazing coaching staff.”
Academically, Erfurth was academic all-district in 2017 and 2018, a member of the National Honor Society, and academic all-state, while ranking 13th in her class of 408 students.
— New Mexico Volleyball (@UNMLoboVB) April 15, 2020
Smith, 6-2 middle blocker from Woodlands, Texas, played all four years at Ridge High School. Smith was part of a team that advanced to the 15-6A area finals in 2019 and the 15-6A regional quarterfinals in 2018.
“Another great future Lobo comes to Albuquerque from the State of Texas,” Newman-Gonchar stated about Smith. “Emma is a poised and powerful player that will look to add great depth to our middle blocker position. She is the complete package: a great student, a great volleyball player, and an awesome embodiment of our core values. We are thrilled to have Emma joining our Lobo volleyball family.”
Smith earned middle blocker of the year for the 15-6A district, District 15-6A First Team, GHVCA Postseason Team, TAVC All-Texas Team 6A, TAVC Academic Team and A/B Honor Roll in 2019.
She was also a five-year member of TAV Houston.
“I chose UNM because it checked all the boxes of what I was looking for in a university and athletic program,” Smith stated.
At UNM, Smith intends to major in elementary education.
Lobo fans, meet Emma.
— New Mexico Volleyball (@UNMLoboVB) April 15, 2020
Soriano is a 5-6 libero from Fontana, Calif. and received high-praise from Newman-Gonchar on her defensive abilities.
“When you think of great defenders, you think of athletes that simply refuse to let the ball hit the floor, and this sums up how we feel about Jaz. She has great defensive range and can receive serve at a very high level. She will add tremendous depth to our cadre of liberos. Coming from one of the top clubs and high school programs in Southern California, she is another player who we are ecstatic to have joining our program.”
While playing on the varsity team at Rancho Cucamonga High School for three years, Soriano played in 147 sets and recorded 446 digs, 478 assists, 61 service aces and six kills. Her most successful year came as a junior with 331 assists, 371 digs, five kills and 44 service aces, averaging 4.0 digs per set, 11.6 digs per match and 3.6 assists per set. Soriano was a three-time Baseline League Champion in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and was named first team all-league as well as Defensive Player of the Year. She also played club ball for Forza1 North and Midcity Volleyball Club.
Academically, the newest Lobo was on the honor roll all four years and a scholar athlete. At UNM, Soriano intends to major in psychology and English.
“The volleyball program felt like the perfect fit for me,” Soriano said. “The culture the coaching staff is building is something I felt I wanted to be a part of.”
As previously mentioned, the Lobo coaching staff signed eight student-athletes to the 2020 class with three middle blockers (Smith, Avital Jaloba and Milica Djukic) and outside hitters (Kali Wolf, Hayley Torres and Tori Tua), a libero (Soriano) and a setter (Erfurth).