Ryann DeJarld

Irish Volleyball Inks Four On Signing Day

Nov. 15, 2014

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Prep standouts Ryan DeJarld, Katie Houser, Meg Morningstar and Rebecca Nunge announced they will continue their volleyball careers at the University of Notre Dame this week. DeJarld, Houser and Morningstar signed National Letters of Intent (NLI) to enroll in August 2015, while Nunge will be an early enrollee when the spring semester begins in January 2015.

The talented class certainly fills needs with a big six-member senior class departing after 2014, as this foursome provides the Irish with two middles, an outside and a libero / defensive specialist.

“With how the game has developed over the years, I think it is really important to have point scorers and Katie, Meg and Rebecca all have that ability to score points with either their hitting or blocking,” head coach Debbie Brown says. “I think that is a need we looked for on the recruiting trail for sure. Ryan, meanwhile, gives us a tall, athletic libero and defensive specialist, who has an outstanding volleyball IQ. We are really excited at the versatility this class brings.

“The All-America rankings are great for our class and certainly speak to the skill level of this group.”

First up is second team Under Armour All-American Ryann DeJarld from Evergreen Park, Illinois. The daughter of John and Jen DeJarld, Ryann was recently named the Chicago Sun Times Player of the Year and was also honored by Prep Volleyball as a Defensive Dandy.

“Ryann has played outside all through high school and during her club career, but we have recruited her as a libero and defensive specialist,” Brown says. “She has really solid passing skills and is a strong defensive player, and at 5-9, 5-10 has really good range for a libero. She thought she might be a little undersized to play outside in college, so she really wanted to become a libero. She’s never really played the position because they’ve always needed her to hit, but she has a great defensive mindset. Her mom is her high school coach so she has grown up in the gym, which makes her one of those gym rats who has a great volleyball IQ.”

Next up is second team Under Armour All-American Katie Houser from Winchester, Virginia. The daughter of Archie and Patty Houser, Katie is not only a standout on the court, but also an all-state performer in the high jump during the track and field season.

“Katie is a strong outside hitter with good ball control skills,” Brown says. “She is a talented six-rotation player and hits a pretty heavy ball.”

Meg Morningstar, a USA Today Gatorade Pennsylvania State Player of the Year nominee, is from Wexford outside of Pittsburgh. The daughter of Darren and Kim Morningstar, Meg was a team captain and earned all-state honors as a senior. She also plays for the basketball team.

Meg Morningstar

Meg Morningstar

“Meg is a wiry, long and lanky middle blocker who improved tremendously last year,” Brown says. “She’s always been a good blocker, but she really improved her offense. I think she will be someone that can be a strong point scorer for us.”

Lastly is Rebecca Nunge, a third team Under Armour All-American from Newburgh, Indiana. The daughter of Mark and Beth Nunge, Rebecca is a Wendy’s High School Heisman state finalist and was a standout on the basketball court throughout her high school career.

“Rebecca was a middle in high school and also a setter, but we recruited her to play in the middle and a little bit of right side,” Brown says. “Her movement skills are really, really good and I think she can develop into a strong six-rotation player. It will remain to be seen whether we keep her in the middle or move her to the right side, but she is really good blocker as she has a natural feel for getting her hands over the net.”

Unlike the rest of her future teammates, Nunge will graduate high school in December and enroll at the University in January.

“We’ve never done it before (bring a player in early), but it’s a situation where she came to us and was ready,” Brown says. “That’s the most important thing. Leaving high school a semester early takes a special person, it’s not for everyone. She was ready and that made us excited about it. She can get in and start training with us both in the gym and in the weight room. She will be stronger, she will be in better shape and she’ll understand our system better and as a middle that’s huge, because I think middle blocking at the collegiate level is quite a bit different than in high school and club. So I think it will help in her development. Rebecca is also an excellent student who I think wants to do something in pre-med, so it will be great for her to come in and get things figured out in the classroom when she isn’t in season.”

The 2014 version of the Irish (6-19, 3-11 ACC) are at Atlantic Coast Conference power Duke at 1 p.m. Sunday. Fans can follow the match through the live stats and ESPN3 links on UND.com.

For more information on the Irish, follow the program on Facebook (/NDVolleyball), Twitter (@NDVolleyball) and Instagram (NDVBall).

Notre Dame Volleyball November 2014 Signees

Ryan DeJarld

HIGH SCHOOL AND PERSONAL: Pronounced “DUH-gerald” … set to graduate from Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School in the spring of 2015 … earned three letters in volleyball … played for mother, Jen, at Mother McAuley … tabbed a second team Under Armour All-American and selected as a Prep Volleyball Defensive Dandy as a senior … also named the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference Player of the Year and the Chicago Sun Times Player of the Year after earning all-area accolades by the Chicago Sun Times and the Southtown Star … helped lead team to the elite eight of the state tournament … earned all-tournament honors at the Asics Challenge, Autumn Fest Tournament and the Rich East Tournament … team won the Asics Challenge for the first time since 1997 … tabbed all-area by the Chicago Sun Times and the Southtown Star as a junior after leading squad to a state championship … selected to the all-area team by the Southtown Star as a sophomore after helping McAuley place third in the state tournament … played club volleyball with Fearless Volleyball Club and then the Michio Chicago Volleyball Academy … helped squad win a national championship in the open division in the summer of 2012 … off the court is a member of the National Honors Society and the Catherine McAuley Honors Scholars program … is also a leader of McAuley’s Mentor Program … has earned `A’ Honor Roll every quarter in high school … full name is Ryann Kathryn DeJarld … born in Chicago, Illinois to John and Jen DeJarld … has a younger sister, Jane, and a younger brother, Jack … dad, John, played baseball at Iowa … mom, Jen, played volleyball at Iowa … aunt, Kelly Petrowski, played volleyball at St. Xavier in Chicago … will enroll in First Year of Studies … interested in business.

Katie Houser

Katie Houser

Katie Houser

HIGH SCHOOL AND PERSONAL: Pronounced “how-ZER” … set to graduate from James Wood High School in the spring of 2015 … earned three letters in volleyball and two in track & field … named a second team Under Armour All-American as a senior … owns school record for most kills in a season and a career … named the Northwestern District Player of the Year and the Conference 21 Player of the Year as a senior after leading squad to Northwestern District championship and a second-place showing in the Conference 21 … also named first team all-district and all-conference … team currently in 4A state finals … sat out entire junior campaign due to a navicular stress fracture that required surgery … named the Winchester Star Female High School Athlete of the Year as a sophomore … claimed Northwestern District Player of the Year and the Winchester Star Volleyball Player of the Year accolades … also earned first team all-Northwestern District, first team all-Northwest Region and honorable mention all-state honors after leading team to the Northwest District tournament championship, a region runner-up finish and a state quarterfinals appearance … totaled 451 kills on the year to move into top 10 in Virginia High School League history for a single season … named to the Prep Volleyball Soph 79 list … selected to the Prep Volleyball honorable mention Fab 59 list as a freshman … earned first team all-Northwestern District honors … team earned runner-up finishes in the district regular season and tournament and in the region … also a standout on the track … finished fourth in the state in the high jump as a freshman to earn all-state honors … won the high jump and triple jump championships at the Northwestern District Outdoor Championships as a sophomore and the high jump at the indoor championships … finished second in the state in the high jump to earn all-state accolades … played club volleyball for Potomac Elite Volleyball and the Metro American Volleyball U18 squad … helped Metro American 18U team qualify for USAV Open Nationals and finish 18th as a junior … off the court participated in National Honors Society, church youth group and GIS community outreach … earned all-academic honors all three years … boasts a 4.158 GPA … competed in gymnastics as a youth … full name is Kaitlin Marie Houser … born in Fort Hood, Texas to Archie and Patty Houser … has an older brother, Tomas, a younger brother, Aidan … will enroll in First Year of Studies … interested in business.

Meg Morningstar

HIGH SCHOOL AND PERSONAL: Set to graduate from North Allegheny Senior High School in the spring of 2015 … earned four letters in volleyball and three in basketball … nominated for USA Today’s Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Pennsylvania … selected as a team captain as a senior … earned all-section, all-district and first team all-state honors after averaging 16 kills and eight blocks a match in leading squad to section championship and runner-up finish in Western PA Interscholastic Athletic League … named all-section, all-district and first team all-state as a junior after helping squad to section and district championships and an undefeated season … tabbed all-section and all-district as a sophomore after leading team to a section championship and third place finishes in the district (WPIAL) and at state (PIAA) … earned varsity letter in first season of action as a freshman … plays club volleyball for Renaissance Volleyball Club … helped squad nationally qualify at the 16U and 17U levels … named all-league in the Ohio Power League for 17U team … off the court is a senior leader in the Young Life Christian Youth Leadership program and is the yearbook editor … interested in art set design and creative direction … earned the Gold Key in Scholastic Art Award … played club volleyball with current Irish student-athlete Hanna Muzzonigro … full name is Meg Lyn Morningstar … born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Darren and Kim Morningstar … has two younger sisters, Piper and Paige … father, Darren, played basketball at the University of Pittsburgh and then in the NBA and Europe … will enroll in First Year of Studies … interested in business.

Rebecca Nunge

Incoming freshman Rebecca Nunge

Rebecca Nunge

HIGH SCHOOL AND PERSONAL: Pronounced “NUN-g” … set to graduate from Castle High School in December 2014 … will enroll at Notre Dame at the beginning of the spring semester in January … earned four letters in volleyball, three in basketball and one in track & field … saw action at middle blocker and setter … named a third team Under Armour All-American as a senior in volleyball … also was tabbed a Wendy’s High School Heisman state finalist after earning first team all-conference, first team all-metro, team MVP and all-metro Player of the Year honors … helped team to sectional and conference championships … set school season records in kills (458), kills per set (4.7), hitting percentage (.401), service aces (119) and aces per set (1.3) … served as team captain during final campaign … named Metro Player of the Year and tabbed first team all-conference and first team all-metro as a junior and sophomore … helped team win sectional and conference championships both years … finished with 435 kills, 72 blocks, 40 aces and 367 assists while attacking at a .377 clip as a junior and 458 kills, 104 blocks and 47 service aces while hitting .354 as a sophomore … opened career by earning first team all-conference and first team all-metro as a freshman in helping squad to a sectional championship … had 288 kills and 83 blocks … earned all-conference honors twice in basketball … also named the team MVP twice … off the court participated in the National Honor Society, Young Life and was the vice president of the Peer Tutor group … named academic all-state as a senior … played club volleyball with Evansville River City … helped team finish 39th in the Open Division at the AAU National Championships in 2014 … full name is Rebecca Ann Nunge … born in Lynchburg, Virginia to Mark and Beth Nunge … has three younger brothers, Jack, Bobby and Joey, and a younger sister, Jessica … father, Mark, played basketball at the University of Rochester … mother, Beth, played basketball and softball at Central College … cousin, Chelsea Poppens, played basketball at Iowa State University … will enroll in First Year of Studies … interested in biology.

–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director