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December 08, 2006

Eagles announce early signings

EVANSVILLE, Ind.The University of Southern Indiana volleyball team announced that 5'9" outside hitter Brittani Oliver (Indianapolis, Indiana) and 5'9" defensive specialist Janae Curnutt (Arcadia, Indiana) have signed national letters of intent to play for Head Coach Leah Mercer's Screaming Eagles in 2007.

Oliver is a senior at Warren Central High School where she earned first-team All-State honors as a senior. She helped WCHS to the semifinals of the Lawrence North sectional where it lost to eventual Indiana Class 4A state champion Indianapolis Cathedral.

The three-time All-Conference and All-County performer also was named to the Indianapolis Star's High School Volleyball Super Team after racking up 305 kills, a .456 attacking percentage, 226 digs, and 82 blocks as a senior in 2006. Her efforts as a senior netted her the All-Indianapolis East Team Player of the Year.

As a club volleyball player, Oliver helped lead her Indianapolis Juniors squad to a 13th-place performance at nationals. She also has recently made the 18-1 Team Indianapolis club squad.

In addition to volleyball, Oliver also competes in softball, soccer, track, and cheerleading at WCHS. She is a member of the National Honor Society and has earned a spot on the honor roll each year.

Curnutt is a three-year captain and senior at Hamilton Heights High School where she finished second in the state in service aces per game (1.27 sapg). Curnutt, who possesses a black belt in karate, was a three-time Noblesville Ledger Athlete of the Year for volleyball, a four-time All-Conference performer, and a three-time All-County performer.

In 2006, Curnutt recorded one of the top individual match performances in the state when she posted 10 service aces and hammered out 33 kills against Perry Meridian High School on August 26. Her efforts, which included 339 kills and 279 digs, helped lead HHHS to the semifinals of the 2006 Yorktown Section Tournament. HHHS was the Mid-Indiana Conference champions in 2005.

Curnutt also helped her 17-1 Circle City club team to a fifth-place finish in the Open Division at the 2006 Junior Olympics.

Like Oliver, Curnutt brings an impressive academic resume to USI. She has been in the top 10 percent of her class three straight years and has earned the Presidential Academic Excellence Award three times.

"I am very excited to bring two student-athletes of such prestige to USI," Mercer said. "Brittani comes from an amazing high school program that she led to a ranking as high as fifth in the state this season. She is a gifted athlete that I expect will make an immediate impact on the outside next year.

"Janae's ball control and aggressive serving is a perfect fit for our offensive philosophy," Leah continued. "She will compete for a defensive spot immediately."

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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