ATLANTA- Looking to continue the rise of Panther volleyball, the Georgia State coaching staff has signed three talented players to the roster for this upcoming fall.
Two are student-athletes from San Juan, Puerto Rico, both setters expected to compete for a starting position immediately. The third is a local standout from metro-Atlanta.
Andrea' DeLeon comes to the program from San Juan's Bonneville School, where she had a distinguished prep career. Her touring club team was ranked second in the United States by PrepVolleyball.com at the 16 Open level and won the JVA World Championships in New Orleans in 2010. They also took the bronze medal at the AAU Nationals that year. She was then part of the Puerto Rico junior national championship team in 2011. DeLeon was also selected to be part of the Coaches All-Alliance Team all four years at the Bonneville School.
Natalia Nieto also hails from San Juan, where she played at Academia Discipulos de Cristo. Nieto led her squad three straight years to the championship of the El Nuevo Dia High School Volleyball Tournament. She played at the club level with Voleibol Vaqueros Bayamon.
The team also adds local attacker D'Anna Kester, of Providence Christian Academy in Norcross, Ga. Kester has starred on with the Prolink Atlanta Volleyball Club of Cumming, Ga.
Under second year head coach Tami Audia, the Panthers posted their second straight winning conference record in 2011 and qualified for the program's first Colonial Athletic Association tournament appearance since 2005.
Here are Audia's comments on the incoming class and their potential impact on the program:
"Andrea' is a dynamic setter who runs the court and connects with her hitters very well. She is a fun player to watch that will be a defensive power for us too. She has a great personality and energy about her in all facets of the game."
"Natalia is a very clean and polished setter. She knows the game of volleyball very well and has the ability to run an effective offense. Also a great defender, Natalia is a leader on the court both by example and with her voice."
"D'Anna is a player that I think you will see possibly in any position. Her height and skill allow us to put her possibly at right side, outside or even setter. She gives us a lot of flexibility and will bring the level of competition up at each of our positions."
The Panthers will begin their 2012 season in August.