Nov. 13, 2008
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee volleyball program has signed Leslie Cikra from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, who is ranked as the nation's No. 11-ranked recruit by PrepVolleyball.com, Lady Vol Head Coach Rob Patrick announced Thursday. The 6-3 front-row player is UT's second recruit out of the state of Ohio in the past two seasons and will join the team in the fall of 2009.
"I am very excited about Leslie's potential," Patrick said. "She is a multi-dimensional front-row player who can play either right-side, outside hitter or middle blocker and is already touching 10'4" even before going through our strength and conditioning program. She will add a lot of length and athleticism to our program next year, which is quite a statement when you look at who we will have returning on our roster.
"Leslie could be a lot like Mindy Flynn in the respect that she can play any of the three front-row positions effectively," Patrick said. "She can hit every tempo set and has the ability to hit off either one or two feet. Leslie also has a great attitude and has really taken her game up a notch over the past year while playing for the Renaissance Volleyball Club out of Cleveland. She has really received some great coaching and we feel like she will be able to come in and immediately play at a high level for us."
In addition to being listed as No. 11 on PrepVolleyball.com's 2008 Senior Aces List, Cikra was also named a top-50 junior recruit by the Web site in 2007. The Chagrin Falls H.S. product was named to the Ohio State Volleyball Coaches Association (OHSVA) District II First Team in both 2007 and 2008 and earned Chagrin Valley Conference honors in 2006 and 2007, being named to the second and first teams, respectively. This year, she has claimed All-Ohio Third Team accolades, as well as The News Herald Player of the Week laurels and Under Armour Second-Team All-America honors.
A member of the Renaissance VBC from 2005 to present, Cikra has helped her club squad win a number of championships. During her first year on the team, it claimed titles at both the East Coast Championships and the Ohio Valley Region (OVR) Regional Tournament. In 2006, Cikra's team emerged victorious at the OVR National Bid Tournament before placing fifth at the USA Volleyball Junior Nationals in Atlanta.
Cikra's club team repeated its sixth-place performance at the national competition in Minneapolis, Minn., the next season after winning the Best of America Tournament. This past summer, Cikra led Renaissance VBC to a ninth-place showing at the 2008 nationals in Dallas, Texas.
Her success is not limited to the volleyball court either, as she has staked claim to a number of academic awards over the past two years as well. After earning the Principle's Academic Distinction Award as a junior in 2007, Cikra was named the recipient of the Principle's Cum Laude Award in 2008, in addition to earning a spot in the President's Education Awards Program. She is also a member of the art and recycling clubs and helps teach volleyball to middle school and elementary-aged children.