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Recruiting heats up in the desert

Recruiting heats up in the desert

UNLV Class of 2025

The Rebels of UNLV have hit the recruiting ground HARD this summer. Malia Shoji and crew
have 6 stud commits in the 2025 class- Alexa Ankerstar, Maya Banks, Sloan Cleveland,
Kaelynn Sims, Kaia Thiele, and Tia Traudt. This class brings it all with heavy arms, two craft
setters, and an aggressive game.
UNLV has been successful in the last few years with their on court results. The current staff is
looking to keep that standard, maybe even raise it. Malia Shoji was hired in January after
spending the last 8 seasons at Utah, the last 5 as the associate head coach. Shoji is a “tireless
recruiter”, has a “great work ethic” and “not only cares about (her athletes) as players, but as
people too”. All things that stood out to name her the next head coach at UNLV.
Her staff includes Daniel Jones, former head coach at Montana State, Gretchen Reinert, former
volunteer assistant at Stanford, and Deja Harris, former volunteer assistant at UNLV in 2021.
The staff is no stranger to success with NCAA elite eights, sweet sixteens, conference
championships, and international experience. All that experience is showing in this 2025 class.
Alexa Ankerstar is a setter from Austin Juniors. During the club season, she ran a 6-2 with LSU
commit, Takyla Brown. She has a great ability to connect with her middles in transition and
setting whoever she wants on the run. Ankerstar stays deceptive with a consistent, high contact
point and mixing up her offense. Not to mention, she can also pass really well. Overall, a great
athlete who can do it all.
Maya Banks is an opposite from Forza1 North. Banks is a crafty hitter who has great court
vision. Her ability to take brave swing out of system will translate well at the college level. She
ran a lot of 2 balls out of the middle during club, where she was very efficient. Banks has a
range of shots that will help her find her way at UNLV.
Sloan Cleveland is a DS/L from Madfrog. She has such a calm platform on serve receive. One
of my favorite parts of Cleveland’s game is her out of system setting- a skill very underrated at
the club level. If UNLV runs a 6-2 with the two setter in this class, this could pay off big time for
their offense. Sloan is super quick on her feet and adds a flat, nasty serve.
Kaelynn Sims is a MB/Opp from Dallas Skyline. Sims is terminal wherever she is on the court,
but is most efficient on the slide. She has great lateral speed, vision, and discipline hands for
her age. At 6’0” tall, Sims could fly under the radar to Power 5 programs, but the Rebels got a
gem with her high ceiling.
Kaia Thiele is a setter from Alamo. Thiele is an aggressive setter who, like Ankerstar, is quite
the deceptive setter. She has a great ability to read the opponent's blockers well and make
things happen for her hitters. Kaia can launch a set from cross court and have accuracy- talk
about strength. She will be an exciting piece for this class when they step on campus.

Tia Traudt is an outside from VC Nebraska. She played up on their 17s team this past season
and she showed out. Traudt has a HEAVY arm and makes great use of the blocker’s hands,
especially out of system. She makes serve recieve look easy with her quick, simple movements
and vision.
This class is deep and will bring a lot of competition to the gym in Las Vegas. Watch out for the
Rebels on the recruiting trail.

Kaitlyn Myers