Mount Olive, N.C. --- The Mount Olive volleyball team will gain height and power with the addition of nine new signees, head coach Joelle Mafo announced today. Joining the returning class of Trojans this fall are middle blocker Sydney Kuhbander, right sides MaKayla Huber, Dejaré Cumberbatch, and Jimnelly Del Valle, outside hitters Michaela Seawell and Ania Keene, setters Nicholle Yeo and Courtney Garris, and defensive specialist/libero Andrea Rivera. Also joining the Trojans, from the spring early signing period, are outside hitter Gentry Benda and middle blocker Jordan Woodward.
Mount Olive gains a 5'7" setter from Plainfield, Ill., in Nicholle Yeo. The sister of men's volleyball student-athlete Shane Yeo, Nicholle played setter at Plainfield North High School. She received the 'Tiger Award" during her junior and senior years, which is an award given to the most valuable/spiritual player. Yeo was an honor roll student during her junior and senior years.
Courtney Garris, a native of Four Oaks, N.C., joins the Trojans as a 5'6" setter. She played for her high school team at South Johnston high school, as well as playing on the JOCO 1 Volleyball club team and Eastern Elite travel team. Garris is a Trojan Ambassador, a part of a National Honor Society, and received Coaches Award, and a scholar-athlete award during her high school career.
Sydney Kuhbander adds some height to the Trojan roster coming in as a 6'1" middle blocker from Louisville, Ky. Kuhbander played volleyball at Ballard High School where she played in 211 sets, tallied 387 kills, 65 solo blocks, 149 total blocks, and 52 aces.
Ania Keene transfers to Mount Olive from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. A San Antonio, Texas native, Keene played outside hitter for the Aggies. She had a career-high of 18 kills and 47 attacks against Dallas Baptist during the fall 2017 season. Other career highs tallied at Cameron University were three assists, four service aces, three total blocks and 16 digs as a freshman in 2016.
A local product from Fuquay Varina, Michaella Seawell, looks to join the Trojans on the court this fall. Coming in at 5'10", Seawell is a dual position player at outside hitter and defensive specialist that played on the NC Elite 16 Cardinal club team as well as the Carolina Chaos team. Seawell was an all-conference athlete and was named team captain during her junior and senior seasons. She was also nominated four times as a tournament MVP during the club season.
Coming in as a right side hitter/setter combo is Makayla Huber from Greensboro, N.C. Huber played at Ragsdale High School and for the Piedmont Volleyball Club. The 6'1" RS/S combo played in 31 sets tallying 44 kills, eight total blocks, 45 digs and 46 aces during the last season. She received a Hitter of the Year award, an All-Conference nod, and Scholar-Athlete honors during her senior high school volleyball season.
Dejaré Cumberbatch joins the Trojan line-up after playing high school volleyball at North Raleigh Christian Academy and Triangle Volleyball Club. The Raleigh, N.C., is a 5'9" right side/middle blocker combination that played on a team that won back-to-back NCISAA 3A Championships. Cumberbatch is an Honor Roll student and is also a member of a National Honor Society.
Jimnelly Del Valle is an overall utility player who can fill the spots of right side, setter, and libero. Del Valle is a native of Tampa, Fla., that played on the Tampa Bay Raptors club team.
On the defensive side the Trojans gain defensive specialist/libero Andrea Del Mar Rivera Reyes. Reyes, a Coamo, Puerto Rica native, played at Monarch high school and for the Tribe Elite Volleyball club in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Benda, a transfer from the University of Bridgeport, is a native of Raleigh, N.C., and attended Wakefield high school. She received the 'Lamp of Knowledge" award and was an honor roll student during her junior and senior years. Benda collected a number of accolades as she was named Athlete of the Week in Raleigh, Best Offensive and Best All-Around player, MVP and All-Tournament during club seasons.
Woodward, a middle blocker/right side, comes to Mount Olive from Centennial, Col. She attended Green hope high school where she graduated a semester early. On the court, Woodward helped her team make back-to-back appearances in the state championships.
"I am excited about this recruiting class because each one of these student-athletes represents the true definition of Student and Athlete," said Mafo. "They will bring a lot of experience, skill, intensity, and competition to our gym and that is what we need most in order to be competitive. I look forward to training and teaching these new girls, and seeing how well they embrace their roles as future Trojans, and future members of our volleyball family."
The Trojans look to improve their 10-19 overall record, 5-9 in conference play, and return to the Conference Carolinas tournament.