Dover, Del. (Aug. 6, 2018) --- Preseason camp is underway for the 2018 Delaware State women’s volleyball team. The Hornets begin their new season on Aug. 24 against Missouri in the James Madison Invitational. DSU’s home opener is Sep. 5 against American University. The Hornets’ MEAC North opener is Sep. 28 at home vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore.
DELAWARE STATE UNIVERSITY 2018 VOLLEYBALL OUTLOOK
Delaware State is hoping a “youth movement” will spark a turnaround for its volleyball program. The Hornets have added seven talented freshmen to a returning mix of three sophomores, a redshirt junior and just one senior in their quest to return the program to respectability in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference this season.
The DSU newcomers are expected to have plenty of opportunities to prove themselves following the graduation of five seniors from the Hornets’ 2017 squad.
Heading the list of returning players are outside hitters Sydney Armbrister (r-sr.; Miami Shores, Fla,.) and Mayah Ngundam (So.; Bowie, Md.), along with middle blocker Kiera Holtzclaw (so; Atlanta, Ga.).
Armbrister was second on the Hornets, and tops among returning players, in kills at 1.69 per set (164 total) in 2017. Among the team’s most consistent players, she tallied at least three kills in each match last season, including a high of 10 in two contests.
Ngundam was third on the team with 131 kills (1.42 per set) as a true freshman in 2017. She also ranked third on the Hornets with 46 blocks (four solo) a year ago.
Holtzclaw was DSU’s leader with 55 blocks (five solo) as a first-year player in 2017. In addition, she was fifth on the team, and third among returning players, with 99 blocks last season (1.25 per set). Her .202 attack percentage was tops on the ’17 squad.
Leimaluhia Taula (Sr.; West Jordan, Utah) is the team’s top returning defender. She tallied 192 digs (2.0 per set) to rank second on the squad after transferring from New Mexico Military Academy prior to last season. Taula also recorded 14 services aces to rank fourth on the team a year ago.
Jade Williams (so., Washington, D.C.) earned valuable experience as a true freshman in 2017, appearing in 26 matches, including 19 starts.
Delaware State’s list of 2018 newcomers consists to three outside hitters, two setters and a defensive specialist.
Highly-regarded newcomer Devin Ruble (fr.; OH, 6-1; La Plata, Md.) joins the team this season after a stellar high school career. A former Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Year, Ruble helped lead Cobbs Island High School to two state championships and a second place finish in her four varsity seasons.
Two other former Maryland high school standouts are also new to the Hornets this season.
Nia Scott (fr.; Libero; 5-7; Bowie, Md.) was a highly touted defensive specialist and team MVP during her senior year at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, where she helped lead the team to county and regional championships.
Sydney Sheppard (fr.; S; 5-9; Glen Burnie, Md.) will battle for the starting setter spot for the Hornets this season. She received All-America recognition after leading Arundel High to county championships during junior and senior seasons. She also competed for some of the area’s tops Club/AAU programs.
Milexa Cardona (fr.; S; 5-8; Kissimmee, Fla) also brings extensive AAU/Club experience to the Hornets this year. She was a member of two national championship teams and a national runner-up squad in the travel circuit.
Caroline Rakoski (fr.; OH; 6-1; Atlanta, Ga.) brings a reputation as a solid hitter to the Hornets. She helped lead St. Pius X to three state final four appearances and selected as the team’s Best Offensive Player after leading the squad in kills during her senior season.
Alondra Ramos (fr; OH; 5-10; Orlando, Fla.) spent more than a decade competing for some of Florida’s top Club/AAU teams before signing on with the Hornets.
Delaware State will open the 2018 on the road in the James Madison (Va.) Tournament on Aug. 24. The Hornets will also compete in tournaments hosted by St. Francis Brooklyn, North Carolina A&T and Lafayette before beginning MEAC North play against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Sep. 28.