Class of 2018 commit, Alli Stumler, leaps for a scoring attempt at the net during a match for Christian Academy | Photo courtesy of Alli Stumler
Coach Craig Skinner has transformed the University of Kentucky volleyball program into one of the best in the SEC and the country during his tenure as head coach. The biggest reason is his tireless effort on the recruiting trail, which continues with the 2018 class. Alli Stumler, one of the biggest outside hitters in the Class of 2018, committed to Kentucky as a sophomore.
Stumler, a 6-0 native of Floyds Knobs, IN., will bring a winning pedigree to the Wildcats, something the coaching staff has focused on with recent classes. The UK commit has led the Christian Academy Warriors to three consecutive state championship matches while walking away with one title in 2016. Not only does the Indiana record books show the Warriors as state champs for 2016, Stumler also added her name to the book with the most points in a five-set match with 34 kills.
Stumler is a multi-sport athlete at Christian Academy, where she also excels as a member of the basketball team. Her 6-0 frame helps her be a double-double machine and she even posted a triple-double last season. However, instead of exploding for rebounds in college, Stumler will use her length and athleticism at the volleyball net, rather than the net of a basketball hoop.
“Volleyball began when I was in 2nd grade (8 years old),” said Stumler. “Both of my parents played — My mom played in college and my dad played in leagues.”
The Christian Academy senior has earned a lot of hardware over her first three years of high school and more is likely on the way. Stumler is a three-time first-team All-State selection and a four-time AAU All-American, while also taking home News and Tribune Athlete of the Year honors. She is a four-time ICGSA All-State first-team selection and a three-time JVA All-National Team member.
Being one of the most talented recruits in the country, Stumler held offers from schools such as Indiana, Louisville, Nebraska, and Purdue, before ultimately deciding Kentucky was the place for her. Following a visit to Lexington, she knew she had found her home.
“I felt like Kentucky was the place for me because of the environment the coaches and teammates created,” said Stumler. “The team was very welcoming and when I went on my visit I just felt at home.”
Stumler and the Christian Academy Warriors have already begun the season and the future Wildcat has been putting on a show. According to maxpreps, the Warriors own an 11-1 record; with Stumler leading the way in kills (204) and digs (118). She has reached double-digit kills in every match this season, including 26 vs. Paoli last week. For her career, Stumler owns a line of 1,252 kills, a .465 hitting percentage, 157 blocks, 925 digs, and 200 aces.
When the Christian Academy star steps foot on campus, the Wildcats are inheriting an aggressive player who leads by example. She has dominated the competition in high school, but the level playing ground of club volleyball has prepared her for what she will face in the SEC. However, Stumler knows the strengths of her game, but specifically the areas that need improvement.
“I need to improve my game when I get to college by being an overall bigger and better player,” said Stumler. “The girls are going to be bigger and better in college and I will need to learn how to play at a higher level.”
The addition of a player like Stumler is something fans are used to seeing under the direction of Coach Skinner. The 2017 recruiting class is already making an impact on the court for the Wildcats this season, led by Madison Lilley, Gabby Curry, and Avery Skinner. Stumler hopes to have the same immediate impact but is ready for whatever role is best for her and the team.
“Fans can expect to see dedication and relentless pursuit from me,” said Stumler. “Whether in the game, on the bench, back row, front row, I will give 100% no matter where I am — My team deserves my best every day.”
You can follow Stumler on Twitter @AStumler as she concludes a spectacular high school career, while in pursuit of a fourth state finals appearance and second state championship.