By Jocelyn VerVelde, Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - The Golden Eagle volleyball program added its four newest members recently as the 2014 recruits signed their national letters of intent. Head coach Dave Zelenock will be adding depth to every position as he has recruited a setter, an outside hitter, a middle blocker and a defensive specialist.
6-0 - Setter - Casstown, Ohio
High School: Miami East
Smanatha Cash leaves her high school as the all-time kills leader with 787, and second all-time in assists with 1,204. She also finished her career with 197 aces, 99 blocks and 416 digs. She will bring a winning attitude to the team as she was a part of four consecutive undefeted league titles, and a 101-10 high school record. She was a part of back-to-back state championship teams in 2011 and 2012, and named first team all-district three years. During her career, Cash earned many honors including All-Ohio first-team (twice), being named a Prepvolleyball.com All-American in 2012, and being named to the Under Armor All-American watch list. Cash was also named by Prepvolleyball.com as one of the top 250 players of the senior class (along with Kellie Williams, below). Her high school coach, and father, John Cash, had this to say, "Sam has been the highlight film player of the program. Whether it is her smooth yet slimy setting style, or her explosive slide attacks, she has done all of this at a very high level. She is a leader on the floor in her play. If it's on the line, Sam makes the right play with her hands or her arm. Her IQ is above the business standard. She is a setter, not just someone who sets the ball."
Zelenock on Cash:
Sam is a winner. She has a confidence about her that is contagious. She knows what it takes to win and is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure the team reaches its goals. Sam and Sharon are going to work great together; they both come from successful programs and are great people. Sam is much taller and more physical at the net than Sharon so she has an edge on that side, but Sharon will have been setting our offense for a whole year longer than Sam so she will have a lot of experience. Sharon is a really good defender and can transition very fast so she has a bit of an edge on Sam on that side of things. They both get the most of their teammates and it's going to be fun to watch them push each other.
5-7 - Defensive Specialist - Casstown, Ohio
High School: Miami East
Allison Morrett, like Samantha Cash, will bring a winning attitude to the Tech program as she was a part of four consecutive undefeated league titles, and a 101-10 high school record. She was a part of back-to-back state championship teams in 2011 and 2012 with Cash. Morrett left her legacy at Miami East as she is the all-time dig leader with 855 during her four years. She also added 176 kills, 223 assists, and 128 aces during her prep years. Morrett was honored during her senior year by being named to the first team all-district and also named to the Under Armor All-American watch list. "Allison has been a defensive gem for the Lady Vikings in her career," said Miami East head coach John Cash. "She has a solid game in the back row and is known for her stingy play when needed the most. She is a leader on the floor vocally. She is very positive with her encouragement to others. Allison is a tough competitor that is eager to learn."
Allison is a rock. I've never seen her get flustered in a match. She is so steady that she brings a nice calming vibe to the team. She has a great skill set from high school and club that really has prepared her for college. Playing in the back court takes a lot of skill and she is going to come in very prepared. The group of defensive players we have next year have a variety of athleticism, experience, skill and speed. Each player in that group adds to the value of the position and will be able to help others.
6-0 - Outside Hitter - Charlotte, N.C.
High School: Charlotte Latin
Kellie Williams is a four-year letterwinner from Charlotte, N.C., who looks to make an impact right away. The aggressive outside hitter finished her prep career with 1,185 kills, 1058 digs, 145 blocks, and 203 aces. Williams is just the third player in Charlotte Latin program history to go over the 1,000 kills mark. She was honored as a three-time NCISSA-3A all-state selection, and a four-time all-conference selection. She was also named to the Under Armor All-American Watch List. Williams joins Samantha Cash (above) as one of the top 250 volleyball seniors in the country.
Zelenock on Williams:
Kellie is a force. She is athletic, hits a fast ball, and has nice ball control. Above all of her physical attributes is her intensity. On and off the court she is so driven in whatever she does. She is used to winning and brings with her a lot of experience that is going to help give a shot of confidence to the the group. We have a pretty talented group of outsides for the fall, Kellie is the most athletic in that group but will need to learn quickly in the fall from the older players who have a lot of experience at how to score in the OVC. Our style of offense suits her very well so we have no doubt she will be successful in it. The returners know she is going to come in here guns blazing so they are going to be pushing hard in the spring/summer to be ready to compete with her. All of our outsides have the ability to specialize, the real test is who is going to become the 6 rotation outside we need.
5-11 - Middle Blocker - Missouri City, Texas
High School: Lawrence Elkins
K'Vonna Johnson joins the TTU family as an extremely versatile student-athlete. Winning four letters in basketball and three in volleyball, K'Vonna will utilize her athleticism on the court. Playing both setter and middle blocker in high school and club, Johnson averaged 28 assists, 11 kills and 13 blocks per match. Named the team captain her senior year, Johnson earned two first-team all-district awards, and was named one of VYPE High School Sports Magazine's 2013 "Hottest Hard Court Prospects" as a setter. Academically, Johnson was named Academic All-District and is a member of the National Society of High Scholars.
Zelenock on Johnson:
K'Vonna is a transformer. You tell her what you need and she turns into it. While she is primarily going to be a MH/Op for us, we know wherever there is a need we can put her. If we run into a situation like this year with one setter, she can easily set. If all of our outsides get injured she could go to that pin. If our liberos all get hurt I think she could even do that. She is so cerebral and understands things so well, I have no doubt that whatever she decides to be good at…she will be. K'Vonna is an exceptional athlete, she might be the fastest in the program, we will see what Kennedy and Keyes have to say about that though. Her ability to get up in transition and score is going to be a huge help to us in the fall, when she's approaching hard she's a blur, so it's going to be really hard for opponents to keep up with her.