Jan. 22, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A quartet of the nation's top recruits will join the University of Tennessee volleyball program for the 2014 campaign, Lady Vol Head Coach Rob Patrick announced.
Outside hitter Kelsey Bawcombe, middle blocker Iesha Bryant, defensive specialist Claudia Coco and outside hitter Kanisha Jimenez Santiago have all signed National Letters of Intent to join the Big Orange next season.
"The 2014 Tennessee volleyball class is one that fills many needs for us and provides us with experienced depth that we were lacking this past season," Patrick said. "All the players coming in have played volleyball on very successful high school and club teams during their scholastic careers and we always love bringing winners into our program. They will add physicality and a high level of volleyball experience, as well as some great ball control techniques that will allow us to play at a higher and more consistent level this coming year."
Coco graduated high school in December 2013, and enrolled in classes at Tennessee for the Spring 2014 semester.
|2014 Tennessee Volleyball Signees|
|Kelsey Bawcombe||OH||6-2||Temecula, Calif. (Temecula Valley HS)|
|Iesha Bryant||MB||6-1||Carthage, Texas (Carthage HS)|
|Claudia Coco||DS||5-4||Johns Creek, Ga. (Chattahoochee HS)|
|Kanisha Jimenez Santiago||OH||6-1||Bayamon, Puerto Rico (Disciples of Christ HS)|
Kelsey Bawcombe, OH (Temecula, Calif.)
Temecula, Calif., native Kelsey Bawcombe is a 6-foot-2 outside hitter who comes from the thriving Southern California volleyball scene. Bawcombe was named to the Southwestern League First Team after leading the Temecula Valley Bears this past season. After beginning her volleyball career at libero, Bawcombe switched to outside hitter after hitting a growth spurt. Bawcombe was named to 2013 Prep Volleyball's Senior Aces. As part of the 951 Elite Club Volleyball Team, Bawcombe competed at the Junior Olympics twice, earning a bronze medal and fifth-place finish.
Hailing from Carthage, Texas, Iesha Bryant is a 6-foot-1 middle blocker who was named 2013 District 20-3A Overall Most Valuable Player after leading the Carthage Bulldogs to the District Championship title and a school record 33 wins. Bryant closed out her senior campaign with 481 kills and 103 blocks. Bryant earned Texas Sports Writers Association All-State Second-Team honors, as well as Texas Girls Coaches Association All-State First Team accolades.
A 5-foot-4 defensive specialist out of Johns Creek, Ga., Claudia Coco set a state and national record for career digs as she amassed 2,754 career scoops during her high school tenure at Chattahoochee High. She earned 2013 AVCA Under Armour All-American Honorable Mention accolades as well as 2013 American Family Insurance All-USA Volleyball Team honors. She guided the Cougars to the State Championship match in 2010 and 2013, as well as the State Final Four in 2011 and Elite Eight in 2012. Coco was named All-State in 2012 and 2013 and All-Area all four years of her high school career. Coco also was recognized as the 2013 Georgia Defensive Player of the Year and 2013 Georgia Senior All-Star. She's a three-time Prep Volleyball Defensive Dandie honoree (2010-12) and was named to Prep Volleyball's MEQ Dream Team Libero and Court Report Dream Team Libero. Coco graduated high school a semester early and enrolled in classes at Tennessee in January 2014.
Kanisha Jimenez Santiago will join Tennessee as one of the most internationally experienced players. The 6-foot-1 outside hitter is from Bayamon, Puerto Rico and has competed for the country's junior national and national teams, earning bronze medal honors at the Norcerca Continental Championship in 2013. She represented Puerto Rico at the U-20 World Cup last summer, and made her national team debut this past fall in the Grand Prix of the International Volleyball Federation. Jimenez led her high school team, Disciples of Christ, to three Copa Nuevo Dia championships, as well as a runner-up finish.