Nashville, Tenn. – Head volleyball coach Kathy Roulhac has announced the signing of five additional incoming student-athletes to join next year’s Tiger Nation squad.
Katie Burnett, Shauntia Carr, Ileanushka Maldonado, Taylor Patterson and Taylor Swayzer join previously inked players Arijana Anderson and Zoe Soestre to round out TSU’s 2013 recruiting class.
“I think this is the best recruiting class that we’ve had since I started [at TSU],” Roulhac said. “I am very, very happy about the work [the coaching staff] has done in regards to looking everywhere to get the best players we can.”
Roulhac went all the way to Wyoming to find Burnett who had played her last two seasons at Northwest State. While playing for the Trappers, Burnett racked up a number of accolades including Region IX Libero of the Year and a spot on the the All-Region IX, All-Conference and All-Tournament Teams. She also led her team to its first-ever district championship while averaging an impressive 5.3 digs per set.
“We lost some experienced players that could play libero, so to be able to bring in a former Libero of the Year [in Burnett], it was the perfect fit,” Roulhac said.
TSU will also welcome a middle blocker in Carr, who attended Bowie High School in Austin, Texas. While playing at Bowie, Carr was named the 2012 District 15-5A All-First Team Middle Blocker. Carr also possesses great athletic ability, as she recorded three consecutive blocks in a match during her junior year and played center for the basketball team.
“The way we run our offense, everything is first tempo and Shauntia gives us that piece that we have been looking for,” Roulhac said. “She compares favorably to [former Tiger and OVC Player of the Year] Shaquita Williams.”
Maldonado, another libero, will enroll at TSU after a stellar two-year career at Polk State College in Winter Haven, Fla. As a freshman for the Eagles, she appeared in all 37 matches and averaged a team-best 3.59 digs per set. She even set a school record for digs in a game with 35 against Clearwater Christian College. As the starting libero during her sophomore campaign, Maldonado led her team to a 23-13 record and a fourth place finish in the Suncoast Conference.
“Maldonado has a huge upside, and I am looking forward to coaching her and seeing what she can do,” Roulhac said. “She will make us stronger on defense than we were before.”
TSU also picked up a setter in Patterson who will enter as a freshman after starring at New Castle High School in Ind. She was a First Team All-Conference selection for all four years and was chosen to be on the State All-Second Team, twice. Last year alone, she had 1,115 assists, 157 kills, 58 aces and 288 digs while leading her club to a 33-2 record and a Conference Championship.
“Taylor is a left-handed setter, which is what I always look for, but she brings a lot of experience and I expect her to give [incumbent TSU setter and All-OVC First Team selection] Erika Moss some competition,” Roulhac said.
The last incoming player for the TSU volleyball team is outside hitter Swayzer who hails from Houston, Texas, but spent the last two years playing at Missouri State West Plains. Last year, Swayzer was chosen to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American Second Teams. She also had 340 kills, a .207 attacking percentage, 23 aces, 456 digs, 47 blocks and 410 total points while playing an integral part in the Grizzlies’ 28-10 season.
“Swayzer was our number one outside hitting prospect that we targeted, and just recently let us know that she would be signing with us,” Roulhac said. “Her commitment puts the icing on the cake.”
Swayzer’s commitment brings TSU’s signing class up to seven and provides a balance of offensive and defensive depth.
Roulhac and her staff will now have to ready her freshman before TSU’s first match on Aug. 30 against Georgia Southern.
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