STARKVILLE, Miss. – Continuing to build to an already impressive signing class, Mississippi State volleyball head coach Jenny Hazelwood announced Thursday the signing of Amber Gass of Ballston Spa, N.Y., and Cheyenne Spell of Diana, Texas, for the 2014 campaign.
“In order to be a top level team within the SEC, we must have great depth at every position,” Hazelwood said. “The addition of Amber and Cheyenne do just that for our program, providing us with two high level quality back row players.”
Spell joins the Maroon and White after a stellar four-year career at New Diana High School. The defensive specialist was a key leader in making volleyball history at New Diana, helping the Lady Eagles go 135-27 in her four seasons and appear in the regional tournament three-straight seasons for the first time in school history. The Lady Eagles also finished top 10 in the state those three campaigns.
Individually, Spell racked up numerous honors, including being named All- East Texas Honorable Mention four times, and First Team All-District three times, while racking up a number of player of the week honors. A team captain her junior and senior seasons, Spell capped off her time as a Lady Eagle by receiving Texas Girls Coaches Association (TGCA) First-Team All-State honors her senior season and was twice named to all-tournament teams during her final year.
In Spell’s four seasons, she accumulated 1,420 digs, 310 aces, 308 kills and 634 assists in a total of 494 sets played.
Not just impressive on the volleyball court, Spell also spent time playing tennis and softball, while running track and powerlifting at New Diana, proving to be a fine-tuned athlete. Her performance in track and powerlifting earned regional qualifier bids for both sports in 2012, while she garnered the honor of Top Female Athlete of 2013 for her play on the tennis court.
Spell has also shown what it takes to be a true student-athlete, earning TGCA Academic All-District honors all four years, with a TGCA Academic All-State nod in 2013. Spell is also a member of the National Honor Society.
“We are excited about Cheyenne, because she brings a great deal of versatility with her overall skill set,” Hazelwood said. “She will be able to help us in a couple of positions out on the court.”
Gass, who was a standout libero at Ballston Spa High School, transfers to State from Hudson Valley Community College, where she appeared in nine matches and played 31 sets in 2013. The incoming junior stood atop many statistical categories for HVCC, including leading the Vikings in kills per set (2.06) and aces per set (2.26), while standing second in kills (64) and aces (70) and third in digs (81).
While at Ballston Spa, the three-year letterwinner and two-time team captain earned MVP honors all four seasons and was twice named First Team All-Region. After helping lead the squad to a perfect 18-0 record her freshman season, Gass was crucial in helping Ballston Spa reach the sectional finals as a sophomore and the sectional semifinals her senior year.
The daughter of Eugene and Jeaniene Gass was also a Suburban Council First Team (all-league) selection in 2009 and 2010 and a member of the Junior International High Performance Team in 2010. Gass also excels in the classroom with fall 2013 Dean’s List and spring 2014 President’s List honors at HVCC.
“Amber had a nice showing at the USA Volleyball Women’s National Team Tryout, which was a showcase of some of the top talent in the country,” Hazelwood said. “We are excited to add another player with her caliber of skills.”
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