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Golden Eagle volleyball signs setter Ashleigh Hancock of New Zealand

At least the sixth from "Down Under" to play at Tech

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Ashleigh Hancock, a setter from the secondary school of Waimea College, New Zealand, has signed a national letter of intent to play volleyball this season at Tennessee Tech University. Hancock is the second athlete from New Zealand to participate in an intercollegiate sport at TTU.

“Ashleigh will be a tremendous addition to what we are trying to accomplish,” said Golden Eagle head coach John Blair.

Blair, who recruited Hancock after seeing her skills on highlight videos, was impressed with her athletic ability.

“She appears to be quite athletic,” said Blair. “She was running the offenses and not just setting. She makes good quick decision.”
 
Hancock graduated from Waimea College in December 2009 after leading her team to the national title, earning the Most Valuable Player award at the tournament. She was selected to the 2007, 2008 and 2009 to the New Zealand Secondary Team.
 
In 2008 Hancock was selected to both the New Zealand U17 team and the New Zealand junior team where she participated in the Junior Asian Championships in Taiwan. She was also named a captain of the 2009 Junior New Zealand Team.
 
Hancock’s signing will create competition for the setter position this season within the Golden Eagle ranks. Last season’s primary setter Melanie Culp led the Golden Eagles with 1,107 assists (9.88 aps) which ranked fourth in the OVC.
 
“Melanie and Ashleigh will both compete for the same position,” Blair said. “Nothing is set in stone.”
 
Hancock is Tech’s third international signee this season following men’s basketball players Dennis Ogbe and Liam McMorrow. She is the latest in a short list of Golden Eagle athletes from “Down Under” including soccer player Hannah Bromley, the only previous student-athlete from New Zealand. Others from Australia are baseball catcher Neale Adams in 1998 and James Bennett on the men’s tennis team in 2005. Last year's men's tennis roster included Nick Stafford and Yianni Doropolous, also from Australia.
 
The Golden Eagles, who finished last season with a 10-18 overall record, including a 9-9 OVC mark, begin their 2010 campaign against Albany, Aug. 27, at the Clemson Invitational in Clemson, S.C.