Arizona Wildcats

Arizona Beach Volleyball Welcomes 2020 Signing Class

Photo/Mark Honbo - Arizona Athletics

(TUCSON, AZ)   The Arizona Wildcats and Head Coach Steve Walker are happy to have the Cats 2020 signing class join us in Tucson. With the 2020 season being cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wildcats are excited to welcome five incoming high school graduates to the team for the eagerly awaited 2021 season. The signing class includes: defender Maki Bispham, blocker Mady Noble, split blocker Abby Russell, blocker Shelby O’Neal, and defender Miranda Erro.

Head Coach Steve Walker
“For several reasons, we really like the composition of our incoming recruiting class.  We were fortunate to add very high-level talent that can potentially make an immediate impact at each position on our team.

“They are as team-oriented a group of players a coach could ever hope for, but it will be very exciting to see their individual games grow as they progress through our program.  And given their growth attitude, there is no doubt their athletic talents will blend very well with the group we have returning.”

The five incoming freshman will add to a group of Cats that had the second-best start to a season in school history, going 10-2 in the first 12 matches before the season was cut short. Three of the five incoming players are Arizona natives, including two Tucson natives reuniting with their old teammates, Alex Parkhurst and Summer McDonough.

Below are detailed bios on all five members of Arizona’s 2020 signing class:

Maki Bispham | 5-8; Defender; Federal Way, WA (Federal Way High School)

  • Lettered three years in Volleyball as a setter and libero
  • All-Conference First Team as a Junior
  • Part of the Emerald City Classic All Tournament Team (2017)
  • Chose Arizona because, “There is a lot of support available for student-athletes and I liked the style of coaching. The warm weather and beautiful campus were also a big plus.”

Coach Walker says: “Maki was one of our early verbal commits in this class, and we’re excited by the fact that she brings a large amount of competitive experience with her to UofA. Maki certainly has a well-earned reputation as a terrific defensive player, but the thing that we really liked about her is she’s just so focused on improving her game at every opportunity. She comes from an area of the county that is fast becoming a hotbed for beach volleyball talent, and has shown the ability to steadily compete at a high level against the best competition on the juniors circuit. We look for Maki to emerge in time as a real team leader.”


Mady Noble | 6-2; Blocker; Tempe, AZ (Corona Del Sol)

  • Lettered all four years in both Indoor and Beach Volleyball
  • Received Central Region Player of the Year Honor Senior year (Indoor)
  • Played All-State First Team Junior year (Indoor)
  • Beach USAV HP – Al National Team (18′, 19′)
  • Chose Arizona because, “I will be close to home, I am very close with my family. After my first visit to U of A, I instantly fell in love with the campus and the community feel.”

Coach Walker says: “Mady is one of the most decorated juniors level beach volleyball players that the state of Arizona has ever produced.  We were thrilled Mady made the commitment to concentrate all of her efforts on the beach game, and since that time I’ve seen her game really ramp up.  Mady has the ability and length to play the power game we are accustomed to seeing in our conference, but we really like fact that she has a very well-rounded skill set to go with a high level of understanding of the game.  We’re looking for Mady to keep her workmanlike mindset, elevate her first-rate game even more, and in time, also assume a significant leadership role.”


Abby Russell | 5-11; Split Blocker; Tucson, AZ (Salpointe Catholic High School)

  • Lettered all four years in both Indoor and Beach Volleyball
  • Made All-Region (Kino) in indoor volleyball 4 years in a row (16, 17, 18, 19)
  • Made All-State (Pairs) in 2019
  • Set school record for career kills in Indoor Volleyball (2019)

Coach Walker says: “In what continues to be an exciting trend, this fall, Abby and her classmate, Miranda Erro, will reunite with their former club teammates Alex Parkhurstand Summer McDonough as Tucson beach volleyball signee’s. Abby has worked very hard to improve her skills since moving all of her attention to the beach game.  Abby can play both blocker and defender with no drop off in production, which isn’t easy to do in beach volleyball. Given her ability to play multiple positions, her versatility will serve her and our program very well in her time here.  We’re looking forward to seeing Abby make a splash in our program both as a player and as a future locker room leader.”


Miranda Erro | 5-8; Defender; Tucson, AZ (Ironwood Ridge High School)

  • Chose Arizona because, “U of A is my dream school and I wanted to stay close to home. Also, I wanted to play with my friends and be in the great hands of the amazing coaching staff.”

Coach Walker says: “Miranda, a Tucson native, is no stranger to Bear Down Beach. We opened doors for camps and clinics dating way back to 2013, before we ever played a single point as a program, and Miranda was among the first athletes to cut her teeth on campus. We are thrilled to have Miranda be part of this recruiting class. She has improved her overall game significantly in the last year. I really like how she is marrying her game, which is grounded is fundamentals, with steadily improving physical play. Miranda is pushing herself to be among this years’ best defenders, and we are glad she’s staying close to home the next four years.”

Shelby O’Neal | 6-1; Blocker; Schertz,Texas

  • 4th at AVP First (Association of Volleyball Professionals) National Championships 2017, Hermosa Beach, CA
  • 5th at AVP First San Francisco, CA 2018
  • 9th at Beach Volleyball Clubs of America 2018, Hermosa Beach, CA
  • Chose Arizona because “the amazing coaching staff, the family-like environment and the opportunity to play in the Pac-12. Plus, I’m blessed to get to play both indoor volleyball and beach volleyball at such a prestigious university.”

Coach Walker says: “Shelby is a very exciting addition to the program who, in time, has the potential to make a significant impact in the sand for us.  She will be wearing two hats in her time at the UofA, as she will be playing for coach Rubio in the McKale Center during the fall sports season. Given her physical makeup, Shelby will definitely have the ability to change the complexion of games at the net, but the thing we really like is she possesses the skills to play the entire game. We went through the entire recruiting process with Shelby and her family, and from that positive experience, we really look forward to having her be a part of our family as well.”

Press Release courtesy of Arizona Athletics


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