Head coach Jocelyn Adams’ offseason signings include three freshmen, two of whom are from the greater Houston area. The Lady Tigers also signed two junior college transfers, both internationals.
The three freshmen are defensive specialists Nia Ford (Sugar Land, Texas/Ridge Point) and Kaitlyn Scroggins (Pearland, Texas/Dawson), and outside hitter Danielle Lilley (San Bernardino, Calif./Citrus Valley). The junior college transfers are middle blockers/hitters Radka Břicháčková (Liberec, Czech Republic/Lee College) and Maria Salazar Gutierrez (Santiago de Cali, Colombia/Monroe College [N.Y.].
“We feel very confident about this class thus far and are excited about the things yet to come in our program,” Adams said. “We are looking forward to the years of great success they will have at TSU.”
Ford was a three-year letterwinner at Ridge Point High School, and played club volleyball with Houston Juniors. Her club career includes competing for a USA Junior National championship.
“Nia is lighting quick on the defensive side of the ball and can read hitters, which makes her a more proficient defender,” Adams said. “She will add tremendous depth to our defense; we are looking for Nia to make an instant impact for the Lady Tiger program.”
Scroggins is a standout athlete from the talent-rich Dawson High School volleyball program. Earning all-district Honorable Mention her senior season, she is a former outside hitter who can be a scoring threat from the back row.
“Kaitlyn’s previous experience as a six-rotation player will keep opponents on their toes as she can pack a heavy punch,” Adams said. “She is court-aware and sees shots developing thereby putting herself in a great defensive position. We are looking for Kaitlyn to do great things for the Lady Tigers.”
A 5-foot-10-inch hitter, Lilley is also a six-rotation player with strong offensive and defensive skills. Following her senior season, she was named Citrus Valley’s team MVP, earned all-district First Team honors, and was selected to play in the Inland Valley All-Star match. She played club volleyball with Rancho Valley Juniors, and competed at the USA Volleyball Junior Nationals.
“Danielle is a very versatile and astute athlete who has a big arm and will give opponents trouble,” Adams said. “She brings a lot of athleticism to the outside position; she can soar and place the ball well. We think she can make an impact from day one and we are very excited about her future at TSU.”
Břicháčková spent her freshman season at San Jacinto College in Pasadena before transferring to Lee College in Baytown after San Jacinto College shuttered its volleyball program following the 2017-18 academic year. The 6-foot-1 frontliner averaged 0.75 blocks per set as a freshman, and hit at least .224 in both of her junior college seasons.
“Radka will be a formidable presence and at 6-foot-1 she will bring the size we have been looking for. She is a big presence at the net and can play the middle blocker or opposite-side hitter position,” Adams said. “She will be just what the Lady Tigers need to contend for the SWAC title.”
MARIA SALAZAR GUTIERREZ
Salazar, a 6-foot-2 frontline player, led Monroe College in hitting (.287) and kills per set (3.27) this past season as a sophomore. She knocked down 486 kills in 61 matches during her two-year junior college career.
“A true lefty, this opposite is poised and polished and will add tremendously in our offensive attack,” Adams said. “Maria’s shots are deceptive and we are looking for her to further improve her proficiency as she develops into the pin hitter we need to be successful in the SWAC.”