November 9, 2006

Volleyball Signs Pair of Student-Athletes to National Letters of Intent

Nov. 9, 2006

GREELEY, Colo. - University of Northern Colorado head volleyball coach Lyndsey Benson announced the signing of two student-athletes to national letters of intent during the fall early signing period on Thursday. Ashley Lichtenberg (Bettendorf, Iowa/Bettendorf H.S.) and Julie Stephenson (Augusta, Kan./Augusta H.S.) will join the Bears program in 2007.

"Both of our signees are exactly what we are looking for in a student-athlete to represent our university," said Benson. "They are quality people, great students and can take us to the next level in the Big Sky Conference. Both athletes come from good high school and club programs that will prepare them for the transition to the college level."

Lichtenberg (6'2, OH) plays for her mother, Diane, at Bettendorf High School where she was a 4A all-state selection as a junior (2005) and should repeat that feat when the awards are announced this season. This season she has once again helped the Bulldogs to the Iowa State Tournament, which begins this weekend. She is a two-time all-conference selection and was the Mississippi Athletic Conference (MAC) Player of the Year as a junior in 2005. A team captain, she was an All-Tournament selection at the 2005 State Championship, where Bettendorf finished as the runner-up. She played club volleyball with the Iowa Rockets. The daughter of Mark and Diane Lichtenberg, Ashley, who has a 4.0 GPA, plans to major in business at Northern Colorado. Her mother played four years of college volleyball at Iowa State.

"Ashley is a strong athlete that hits a hard ball," Benson said. "She will be a big block on the left side and be the type of hitter that opponents have to prepare for. She is going to be a dominant hitter at the college level."

Stephenson (5'11, OH) played for coach Brian Hallmark at Augusta High School in Augusta, Kan. She helped the Orioles to a second-place finish at the Kansas State 4A Tournament and a 38-4 overall record. For her efforts she was named to the state all-tournament team. Stephenson played club volleyball with Molten Shockwave. The daughter of John and Joan Stephenson, Julie plans to major in biology at Northern Colorado. She also has a 4.0 GPA in high school.

"Julie is a great athlete that will bring great training and ball control immediately to the court," Benson said. "I think she is the type of outside hitter that will be competitive in the Big Sky Conference. She has a variety of shots and can serve receive and play defense very well."

Northern Colorado is currently 12-13 overall and 7-7 in the Big Sky Conference. The Bears, who have clinched a spot in the Big Sky Tournament, host Weber State (Thursday, 7 p.m.) and Sacramento State (Saturday, 7 p.m.) this week at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.