Nov. 30, 2010
="" alt="Knight Head" border="0" class="imported"> Read John Denton's Knights Insider | ="" alt="Twitter Logo" border="0" class="imported">Follow us on Twitter | ="" alt="Facebook Logo" border="0" class="imported">Get social with the Knights on Facebook
By Sarah Tarasewicz
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF head volleyball coach Todd Dagenais and his staff announced Tuesday that a trio of prep standouts, Kayla Keller, Delaina Sarden and Ashley Gialenios, have signed National Letters of Intent and Grant-in-Aid to play for the Knights beginning in 2011.
"This perhaps is the most important recruiting class that we have put together since we have been here," Dagenais said. "Michelle Chatman, our recruiting coordinator, really did a nice job of identifying all the needs that we have to have, and was really able to go out there and build the relationships that allowed us to bring in this high-level class. This is a class that could come in early and really help us significantly as we go forward in trying to make ourselves a very competitive team in this conference."
OH - 5-11 - Reagan High School - San Antonio, Texas
Keller recently wrapped up her prep career by being named a 2010-11 Under Armour Girls High School All-America Honorable Mention selection by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) after tallying 663 kills, 308 digs, 51 service aces and 20 total blocks as a senior and helping lead her squad to a 42-5 overall record and a perfect 10-0 mark in District 26 play. Throughout her senior campaign, Keller was also named to Prepvolleyball.com Senior Aces 2011 "The 150", Lonestarvolleyball.com All-Texas Team Special Recognition, San Antonio Express-News Player to Watch List, Under Armour AVCA All-American Watch List and was the San Antonio Express-News Player of the Week on Aug. 17.
During her prep career, Keller garnered Texas Girls Coaches Association All-State First Team accolades and San Antonio Express-News Super Team and All-Area Team (5A) honors as a junior, after also being honored with spots on the all-district second team as both a sophomore and freshman.
Not only has Kayla proved to be a standout on the court, but she also excels in the classroom. The outside hitter earned all-state academic and all-district academic honors, while also being a member of Reagan High School's National Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars.
"Kayla is what we call a `Terminator'," Dagenais said. "Every match that she is in, she is the leading attacker. That is something that we have been looking for. We have been looking for somebody that is not only the best on their team, but the best in their county and the best in their state and she brings that kind of athletic ability and that kind of volleyball experience with her. She is a terrific all-around player that can also pass and play defense, and it's going to be tough to keep a player like that outside of our lineup."
MB - 6-1 - Peachtree Ridge High School - Lawrenceville, Ga.
Sarden, a senior at Peachtree Ridge High School, joined fellow signee Keller on Prepvolleyball.com's Senior Aces 2011 "The 150", which recognizes the top 250 Class of 2011 recruits in the country. The middle blocker was recently named to the All-Gwinnett County First Team after being named to the second team as a junior. Prior to the start of her senior season, Sarden also garnered a spot on the Under Armour AVCA All-American Watch List.
In the classroom, Sarden holds impressive credentials. She was the Peachtree Ridge High School Spanish Student of Distinction during the 2007-08 school year, a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and the National Spanish Honors Society and also garnered scholar-athlete accolades.
"Delaina is a long, lean and versatile athlete with an engine that doesn't quit," Dagenais said. "She also has this wonderful personality that makes everyone love her. She is going to be a physical presence in this conference. We are really looking forward to getting her in the practice gym and getting her acclimated to college volleyball as quickly as possible, because she is a very high-level athlete for us and she is going to contribute to us a great deal."
OH - 6-0 - Northview High School - Johns Creek, Ga.
Gialenios is a four-year letterwinner for the Northview High School volleyball team. The senior recently earned spots on the all-state team, the all-state all-star team and the all-region team as the captain of her squad. As a junior, Gialenios led the state of Georgia in service aces, before going on to be named the NHS Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year. She also made her first appearance on the all-region team in 2009. In her first two seasons at Northview, Gialenios helped lead her team to back-to-back Georgia State Volleyball Championships in 2007-08.
Academically, Gialenios has been a member of the honor roll every semester of her high school career, while being a member of the Principal's Honor Roll three different times. The outside hitter has also won numerous art awards throughout the state of Georgia.
"Ashley was committed to a team previously and when the coach that she committed to moved on, she reopened her commitment and we were able to get her to commit to us," Dagenais said. "She is a very physical outside/right side hitter. Not only can she play both positions, but she can pass and play defense even better. She has done very well, even playing in the state championship match in the state of Georgia. She is a very competitive athlete, a fantastic all-around player and is somebody that we decided to take because we know that ball control is at a premium in our conference and she gives us an opportunity to have a lot of ball control.
"I think all three come in and bring specifically different things for us, and each one of the things that they bring are things that we need. I am really looking forward to adding these three to Kaye-Alese Green (Jacksonville, Fla.), who is coming off her ACL reconstruction and is getting stronger and stronger every day. Since she redshirted for us this season, she will also be a freshman next year. In essence this is a recruiting class of four, and all four are going to play important roles for us."