STARKVILLE, Miss. – As the 2014 season inches closer for the Mississippi State volleyball program, head coach Jenny Hazelwood announced Monday the addition of five newcomers who will join the Bulldogs in the fall.
The Bulldogs add freshmen Chantal Martin, Lourdes Rosario, Leticia Valente and Tyra Long, along with transfer Shelby Anderton, to the squad for the upcoming season.
"We are so thrilled to add a number of very high level players to the Mississippi State Volleyball program,” Hazelwood said. “We had two outstanding signees in the fall and now we add even more strength to this 2014 class. This group will have an amazing impact and will definitely help take this program to the next level."
Shelby Anderton; Setter; Memphis, Tenn. (Middle Tennessee State)
Coming by way of transfer from Middle Tennessee State University is Anderton. A setter for the Blue Raiders, Anderton was top 10 in aces (0.26 aces per set) and top 15 in assists (6.32 assists per set) in Conference USA, while appearing in all 114 sets for MTSU during the year. The incoming junior led the Blue Raiders in assists her two seasons in Murfreesboro, Tenn., helping MTSU improve from 10-23 her freshman year to 17-13 in her sophomore campaign.
A Collierville, Tenn., native, Anderton was a four-year letterwinner and three-time captain at Evangelical Christian School. She earned First Team All-Region honors all four years in high school, also earning All-State honors from 2009-11 and helping ECS capture the state championship in 2009.
Hazelwood on Anderton: "Shelby is coming in with two years of high-level college volleyball experience, which is so important for us. She is a very athletic setter who has been running a fast and efficient offense and will allow us to run the kind of offense we want to run. Her experience and leadership will make a big impact on our program."
Chantal Martin; Outside Hitter; Munich, Germany (Hans-Leinberger-Gymnasium Landshut)
Hailing from Munich, Germany, Martin joins the Bulldogs as a skilled right side hitter. Martin has been a standout on the German volleyball scene over the past several years. She helped capture the U-18 and U-20 Bavarian Championship in 2013, while also helping lead her U-20 squad to two top-10 finishes in the German Championship the past two years. Martin was also essential in helping her U-18 team to a top-10 finish in the German Championship in 2013.
As a part of the Bavarian Selection 96/97 squad, Martin assisted in capturing the North Californian Championship in 2012, while placing third in the 2010 National Championships. Martin was also a nomination for selection to the German Youth National Team in 2010.
Hazelwood on Martin: "Chantal adds a lot of strength to our pin attacker positions. She brings the kind of size to the front row that we need in the SEC and her international experience will be a huge asset as well. Chantal is a very powerful attacker and a solid blocker and we are very excited to see what she does in the years to come."
Lourdes Rosario; Outside Hitter/Opposite; Bayamon, Puerto Rico (Piaget Bilingual Academy)
Rosario comes to Starkville by way of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, where she garnered many accolades on the court. The outside hitter saw first-place finishes in the Angel Matos Volleyball Challenge her sophomore and senior years in high school, while also picking up a first-place finish in the Power League North Coast and the AAU Volleyball Grand Prix her junior year.
Along with the numerous championships, Rosario was also named a 2013 Angel Matos Volleyball Challenge All Star and a 2014 East Coast Power League All Star.
Hazelwood on Rosario: "Lourdes is a phenomenal six-rotation player who is very fundamentally sound. She is an outside hitter who not only hits very well, but has great ball control skills and is strong in every facet of the game. Lourdes is a complete player who will help us be successful in the type of systems we want to run."
Leticia Valente; Middle Blocker; Sao Paulo, Brazil (Centro Educacional Paulista)
The third incoming freshman is Valente, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The middle blocker spent six seasons with her club squad ADC Bradesco. There she led her team to nationals three-straight seasons (2010-2012), along with numerous regional appearances. At the club level, Valente played for coach Durval Nunes with ADC Bradesco.
Hazelwood on Valente: "Leticia is going to be a huge force as a middle blocker in the SEC. She has played at a very high international level and is extremely good as a blocker and an attacker. She will be the kind of player who opponents have to key on and it will allow us to do so much offensively."
Tyra Long; Middle Back/Opposite; Tampa, Fla. (Land O’ Lakes High School)
Also new to the Bulldog squad in the fall will be Long, the fifth and final player joining MSU’s class. A three-year letterman at Land O’ Lakes High School, Long helped the Gators capture district championships in all four years. Long’s high school career culminated with a stellar 2013-14 campaign, which saw her earn First Team All-Conference and First Team All-District honors, while also garnering MVP accolades.
Long also spent those four years playing under coach Laura Steganga and the Tampa Elite at the club level.
Hazelwood on Long: "Tyra is a powerful outside hitter who is very athletic, jumps extremely well and has unbelievable potential. She just moved to the outside hitter position this year and her progress in a short time has been outstanding. Her drive and determination make her one to watch in the years to come. We can't wait to get her in our gym to work with her and see all of the great things that she will do."