With the 2018 volleyball season fast approaching, Head Coach Justin Hoskins has released the final roster with 10 new faces on the team. The Tigers return Jelena Dukic, a 5-9 setter from Futog, Serbia who recorded 1,082 assists in her freshman season.
"Jelena brings back a lot of valuable experience and leadership," stated Hoskins. "Her 1,082 assists last season were 9th most in NJCAA DI. I expect a lot of good things from her this season both on and off the court. I believe both Jelena will be a leader for us both on and off the court."
Coach Hoskins and his staff will look to build off their 20-win season a year ago. Since Hoskins' arrival in 2016, he has engineered a revival of the program. The 2015 Tigers finished 4-21 before Hoskins took the reins. In his first year, the Tigers improved to 12- 22 and then 20-16 in 2017. Hoskins hopes this young talented group will help put them over the top in a very tough Region IX.
"I definitely feel like we have the talent necessary to make some serious noise both within the region and nationally. It's going to be really important for us to get everybody on the same page and it will take some time for us to fully implement our system. However, I'm confident that if we're able to make strides throughout the season, we'll be playing some really good volleyball come tournament time."
Meet the Tigers
Jelena Dukić – S – Futog, Serbia
Coaches take: Jelena brings size and physicality to the setter position. She will be a leader for us both on and off the court. She sets with consistent location and tempo and will put our hitters in a position to terminate the ball.
Marija Egic – RS – Futog, Serbia
Coaches take: Marija is long and athletic. She has played at a high level in Serbia. She has a fast and aggressive approach to the ball that allows her to hit with a lot of pop. In addition to her front row prowess, she is able to play six rotations.
Rocky Gonzales – S/DS – Las Cruces, NM
Coaches take: Rocky is an athletic setter who knows how to lead a winning program. In addition to setting, she may train as a defensive specialist for us this fall. Rocky has shown an ability to be effective in a variety of systems and will afford us a lot of flexibility in what we do both defensively and at the setting position.
Tarah Henderson – OH/MH/RS – Wamego, KS
Coaches take: Tarah is a physical hitter with a heavy arm. She has the potential to see the court at any of the three front row positions. Wherever Tarah ends up seeing playing time, she will be expected to make a contribution.
Jade Jenkins – OH/MH/RS – Christchurch, New Zealand
Coaches take: Jade brings a lot of high-level playing experience and an ability to play not only any front row position, but also in the backcourt. She has a long frame and quick arm. Coach Hoskins is excited to see how Jade responds to the quicker pace of play than she is used to, and believes Jade will make a difference for us on the court this season.
Maudie Lincoln – OH/RS/DS – Clinton, IA
Coaches take: Maudie brings a desire to work hard and contribute to a winning program. She will train at both pins as well as in the backrow. She will have opportunities to earn playing time and I believe she will take advantage of those opportunities and help our program win a lot of matches this year.
Chiara Mottola – MH – Rome, Italy
Coaches take: Chiara is a very athletic middle out of Italy. She jumps well and has a quick swing. She is able to run every pattern necessary for a middle to be effective and she can terminate. She moves well along the net and puts up a formidable block.
Fauneil Olander – L/DS – Winside, NE
Coaches take: Fauneil will be transitioning into a L/DS role for us after playing the bulk of her high school career as an outside hitter. She has all of the attributes that we look for in a passer. Her athleticism and work ethic will help her make the position change smoothly.
Halee Pedro – L/DS/OH – Kailua, HI
Coaches take: Halee has a chance to impact our program as either a passer or an OH this upcoming season. An athletic player, Halee has experience playing both positions and a skillset that allows her to be effective in both roles. Her ball control will help keep our offense in-system and quick.
Sadie Smith – OH – Tama, IA
Coaches take: Sadie gives us a consistent hitter on the outside. She can hit a variety of patterns and can hit the ball with some good pace on it. She also has potential to be a difference maker for us at the service line.
Elena Yee – OH/RS/DS – Milford, UT
Coaches take: Elena had a very successful high school volleyball career. She is athletic and determined. At the net, she jumps well and can hit around and through the block. Her athleticism also translates to the back row. While the speed of attacks may take her some time to get accustomed to, she has all of the physical and mental attributes necessary to be a good passer.
"I believe this year's squad is by far the most complete team we've put together here in my three seasons. We have a lot of athletic players who are versatile and can impact the game in a variety of ways. As long as we stay healthy and build a strong chemistry, I think we'll see this team put a lot of tallies in the win column."
The Tigers begin practice on August 1 and open up the season with an away match at Central Carolina Community College in Sanford, NC on August 22.