May 1, 2001
University of Houston volleyball standout Jennifer Wittenburg, a First Team All-District and All-Conference USA selection, has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA the UH department of compliance announced on Tuesday, May 1. The return of Wittenburg and the addition of three new signees from the spring, which brings Houston's total signing class to six, will make the Cougars a strong contender for national postseason play for the 13th consecutive year in 2001.
Wittenburg proved to be one of the country's dominating collegiate players in leading UH to the NCAA Postseason Tournament in 2000. A number of injuries, however, have limited her to playing just 54 career matches since she graduated from nearby Cy Falls High School in the spring of 1996.
"Jennifer has worked very hard through some of the setbacks she's endured these last few years and she's certainly deserving of this opportunity," said Houston Head Volleyball Coach Bill Walton. "I'm happy for her and our program. (Assistant Athletic Director) Douglas King and the rest of our compliance staff did a great job working for Jennifer to get her a sixth year. We're thankful and wish Jennifer a healthy season ahead. I'm looking forward to the 2001 season."
Wittenburg finished second in the nation with 6.16 kills per game last season. Walton and the Cougars have also added three new signees this spring, including true freshmen Loure Dews and Mirela Vasconcellos and junior transfer Jenny Tanneberger to go along with three signees from the fall.
Tanneberger is an experienced competitor who played the previous two seasons at the University of Texas. She has already posted over 220 career kills and 82 blocks in two years at the Division I level. The native of San Antonio, Texas, played as many as three positions in over 50 career matches for the Longhorns.
Mirela Vasconcellos is a native of Recife, Brazil. Currently living in Clarksville, Maryland, Vasconcellos was the starting setter for her club team (Asics Metro) and brings a wealth of international experience to the court. Loure Dews is a versatile 6-foot-2 middle blocker from Brazoswood High School. In addition to earning all-District 24-5A honors in volleyball last season, Dews also earned varsity letters in basketball.
The new trio will join Houston's three signees from the fall. The fall signees are Nicole Meusborn, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter from Cypress Creek High School in Houston, Kristy Nilson, a 5-foot-10 rightside hitter/outside hitter from Salt Lake City, Utah, and Cielisse Schroeder, a 5-foot-11 middle blocker and outside hitter from Pearland, Texas.