JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 19, 2011) - The ETSU volleyball team has announced the signing of six student-athletes who will join the team for the 2011 season, head coach Lindsey Devine recently announced.
"With this recruiting class, I was looking for girls that fit the winning mentality and competitive attitude that is expected from ETSU volleyball players," said Devine.
Kayla Williams (El Paso, Texas/Frank Phillips College), Bethany Gesell (High Point, N.C./High Point Christian Academy), Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn./Dobyns-Bennett HS), Katie Muey (Alexandria, Indiana/Alexandria Monroe HS), Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn./Science Hill HS), and Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn./Dobyns-Bennett HS)will all join the Bucs in 2011.
Kayla Williams, a 5'9" setter, will have two years at ETSU after transferring from Frank Phillips College in Borger, Texas. Williams was enrolled at ETSU and competed with the Bucs during the spring. Williams was a co-captain during her sophomore campaign and dished out 576 assists, while also adding 147 kills on .302 hitting for the season. Her best match of the year came against the College of Southern Idaho where she recorded a triple-double with 35 assists, 20 digs, and 10 kills. Williams appeared in 92 matches during her freshman campaign as a setter and contributed 388 total assists with an average of 4.22 assists per game. She was ranked 7th in the WJCAC in assists per game and is ranked 8th in single season total assists at Frank Phillips College. Williams also accumulated 104 digs, 26 kills, 13 aces, and 7 total blocks. Williams was also selected as an All-Academic Scholar following her freshman campaign. Originally from El Paso, Texas, Williams was a four year letterwoman at Montwood High School in El Paso where she was named to consecutive All-District and All-City 1st and 2nd teams. Williams participated in volleyball, basketball, and track and field.
"Kayla transferred to ETSU in the spring semester so she has had the opportunity to work with our coaches and get familiarized with our system of play," added Devine. "In spring play, Kayla was our primary setter. She is a very athletic setter who is also able to attack the ball with a great amount of power. She fits so well with our incoming freshmen class because of her competitive attitude and relentless desire to win."
Click Here to watch video highlights of Kayla Williams
Bethany Gesell is a 6'0" right side hitter from High Point, N.C. where she enjoyed a stellar high school career. She led High Point Christian Academy to the 2009 2A State Championship, the school's first ever in volleyball. She has been selected all-conference and all-state four times in her high school career. Gesell was also TAC 2A Player of the Year three times and PACIS 3A Player of the Year once, while also earning 2A State Player of the Year honors during her junior year. In addition, Gesell was the 2009 and 2010 News and Record All-Area Player of the Year. She finished her senior season with 580 kills, 105 aces, 64 blocks, and 265 digs. She also played Junior Olympic Volleyball with the Piedmont Volleyball Club for four years. Before her senior season, Gesell was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Preseason All-America Watch List. Gesell was also a standout softball player where she was named all-state multiple times and was the school's Female Athlete of the Year during her freshman and sophomore years.
"When I watched Bethany play in club these past two years, I knew she was a player I wanted to play for ETSU," said Devine. "With her powerful left handed attacking, she will add a key element to our offense. She is a confident player who I feel has great leadership qualities."
Click Here to watch video highlights of Bethany Gesell
Meredith Hardy, a 6'1" middle blocker, joins ETSU from nearby Kingsport, Tenn. and Dobyns-Bennett High School. During her time at Dobyns-Bennett, Hardy helped lead the team to the 2009 state title, while the team finished as state runner-up in 2010. Hardy was named to the all-conference, all-district, and all-region teams in 2008, 2009, and 2010. She was also named to the all-state team in 2009 and Conference Hitter of the Year on three occasions. Hardy was also named to the All-Net Elite Six Team in 2008, 2009, and 2010. She recorded 1,875 kills, 284 solo blocks, and 362 block assists during her high school career. Hardy helped lead Dobyns-Bennett to an incredible 200-26 overall record in her four years under head coach Kathi Shaffer.
"I am excited to have one of the best middle blockers from the state of Tennessee joining our team," said Devine. "She is a dominating middle attacker and blocker who moves very fast along the net. Watching her develop over the years, Meredith has continued to impress me. She is a fierce competitor, with a physical presence that is exactly what we needed to replace from our graduating class."
Katie Muey is a 5'1" libero from Alexandria, Indiana, where she was a four-year letterwinner for head coach Ashley Pierce at Alexandria Monroe High School. Muey earned all-conference and all-county honors in 2008, 2009, and 2010, while also being named The Herald Bulletin Volleyball Player of the Year in 2010. She was also on the Indiana All-Star Volleyball team following her senior year and an AAU All-American in 2008. Muey finished her senior season with 234 kills, 621 digs, 45 assists, 30 aces, and 14 blocks. In addition, Muey earned three letters in track, two in swimming, and one in cheerleading during her high school career. She was on the conference champion 4x100m relay team in 2009, while also earning a sectional championship in the long jump in 2009.
"Katie is a very powerful and athletic defensive player," said Devine. "Her drive, determination and quickness will help with our ball control. She has a very positive spirited attitude which is contagious. She is that hungry, loud defensive player who front row players love having behind them."
Click Here for the Herald Bulletin Player of the Year interview with Katie Muey
Ivery Rice, a 5'10" outside hitter, is another local standout that joins the ETSU program. She is from nearby Science Hill High School where she was a four-year letterwinner for head coach Kim Hyatt. The 5'10"ÂÂÂÂ outside hitter was a three-time all-conference, all-tournament and team MVP. Rice helped lead the 2007 team to a 47-6 record, which is the best in school history. During her senior season, Rice compiled 356 kills, 265 digs, 38 solo blocks, while hitting .311.
"Ivey is exactly the type of student-athlete I want here at ETSU," said Devine. "She comes from an amazing family; she has a great work ethic and is so passionate about volleyball. She is a complete player who can swing, pass and play aggressive defense."
Jamie Rutledge is a 5'8" setter from nearby Kingsport and Dobyns-Bennett High School, where she was a four-year letterwinner for head coach Kathi Shaffer. After earning all-conference honorable mention during her freshman season, Rutledge was named all-conference, all-region, all-state, all-Northeast Tennessee, and Big 8 Setter of the Year in both her sophomore and junior seasons. During her senior season, she was named all-conference and all-region once again, while also being named Big 8 Player of the Year. In her four-year career at D.B., Rutledge compiled 4,487 assists, 149 aces, 148 blocks, 1,136 digs, 764 kills, while serving at a .917 clip. Rutledge was a high school teammate of fellow newcomer Meredith Hardy and current Buccaneer Megan Devine.
"Jamie is a player that coaches love to recruit," said Devine. "She hates to lose. With her athleticism and passion for the game, she will be an invaluable asset to our team. She has an impressive work ethic, but it's her competitive drive that sets her apart from many players."
Click Here for video highlights of Meredith Hardy, Ivey Rice, and Jamie Rutledge
The six will join a group that notched its most wins since 1979. The Bucs went 26-9 with a 7-3 Atlantic Sun record. The Bucs return six letterwinners, including three starters, from their 2010 squad.
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