RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University announced the addition of six volleyball recruits during the NCAA's Late Signing Period on Monday. Jhessica Martins, Annett Farkas, Jessica Warner, Lea Williams, Samantha Salvi and Jasmine Waters have signed National Letters of Intent to play for VCU in 2010, Rams' Head Coach James Finley said.
"This could be the most complete class ever to enter VCU," Finley said. "Recruiting is the lifeblood of a program, and it's important that, coming off a stellar season, this program continue to improve with the athletic ability of this year's class of student-athletes."
JHESSICA MARTINS, 6-1, Outside Hitter (Uberlanoia, Brazil/Martin
A number of Brazilian nationals have starred in recent years for VCU, and Martins hopes to add her name to that list. A native of Uberlanoia, Brazil, Martins is a 6-1 outside hitter who will transfer from NAIA institution Martin Methodist College in Pulaski Tenn. In her only season in a Martin Methodist uniform, Martins was named an NAIA All-American and averaged 4.60 kills and 0.60 blocks per set. She hit .326. Martins will major in sociology.
Finley on Jhessica Martins: "Jhessica brings the complete player to VCU. She is extremely powerful from the front and back row attack. Jhessica brings good ball control and a very strong jump serve. She is not a finesse player. Jhessica will just keep coming after you will her very heavy arm".
ANNETT FARKAS, 6-1, Middle Blocker (Budapest, Hungary/University
of New Orleans):
A 6-1 middle blocker, Farkas will transfer from the University of New Orleans, which recently announced it was terminating its Division I status. A native of Budapest, Hungary, Farkas will have sophomore eligibility. She will look to step in the middle and help replace graduating senior Ivana Rich, the school's all-time leader in blocks.
In her freshman season with the Privateeers, Farkas appeared in 32 of 33 matches and averaged 1.01 kills, 0.74 blocks and 0.50 digs per set. She ranked second on the team in blocks and hit .240 for the season. Prior to her collegiate career, Farkas played on the Hungarian Junior National Team and was a member of the Hungarian Junior National Championship squad in 2008. In April, Farkas was named to Hungary's National Team. She will pursue a double major in business and fashion design.
Finley on Farkas: "Miss Farkas is an extremely intelligent young woman who will bring experience and the ability to score, as well as good, strong blocking. Anett's most valuable skill may be her ability to adjust to her opponents."
JESSICA WARNER, 5-4, Libero/Defensive
Specialist (Germantown, Md./Northwest H.S.):
Warner starred as a libero and defensive specialist at Northwest High School in Germantown, Md. A four-year starter, Warner was named Northwest's Most Valuable Player and voted a team captain her final two seasons. On three occasions, Warner was named a "Player to Watch" by the Montgomery Gazette.
In 2008, Warner was invited to the USA Volleyball High Performance Youth Holiday Camp, where she trained with Tom Hogan, an assistant coach for the USA Women's National Team. A member of the Metro Volleyball Club, Warner will major in psychology.
Finley on Warner: "Jessica has great speed and a solid foundation. The fire and even temperament that Jessica plays with will help her become accustomed to the speed of the college game very quickly. She brings good court vision and understands how and when to share information with her team".
LEA WILLIAMS, 6-1, Outside Hitter (Plainsboro, N.J./West Windsor
Williams, a 6-1 outside hitter, gives VCU another dynamic offensive weapon. Williams was a standout at West Windsor-Plainsboro South High School in Plainsboro, N.J. as well as a member of the Atlantic Valley Volleyball Club, where she played on the organization's National Level squads.
The volleyball court wasn't the only place Williams excelled. She is a member of the National Honor Society and received an Outstanding Academic Achievement award, as well as an Academic Excellent citation during her prep career. Williams is set to major in education.
Finley on Williams: "After three years of recruiting and watching Lea grow as a player, we are extremely excited about what Lea brings now and for the future. She has a great vertical leap, long arms and a passion to win. She will step in the gym and challenge everyone around her every day."
SAMANTHA SALVI, 5-5, Libero (Hawthorn Woods, Ill./Carmel Catholic
Salvi will bolster VCU's back line after a decorated high school career at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Ill. Salvi served as co-captain during a senior season in which she was named First Team All-Area by the Daily Herald and All-Area Gold List by the Chicago Sun Times.
Salvi showed a steady hand behind the serving stripe with 98-percent accuracy last season. She also recorded a 2.30 passer rating (on a 3.0 scale) as a senior. Salvi was a member of the Rolling Thunder Volleyball Club from 2004-07 before moving on to play with Sky High Volleyball in 2008. She will study criminal justice.
Finley on Salvi: "Samantha has a natural ability to be where the ball is being hit. Sam is a very good communicator on the court and has a wonderful platform. We believe Sam will push her competition immediately."
JASMINE WATERS, 6-4, Middle Blocker (Landover, Md./Temple University):
A transfer from Temple University, Waters will have three years of eligibility remaining at VCU. Waters gives the Rams another formidable middle blocker with her 6-4 frame and experience. In her lone season at Temple, Waters earned Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team honors. Waters appeared in all 26 matches for the Owls and averaged 1.57 kills, 0.77 blocks and 2.01 points per set. She also hit .275, the third-best mark for the 14-12 Temple squad. Waters is a chemistry major who plans to attend dental school.
Finley on Waters: "Standing at 6-foot-4, with a great vertical leap and long arms, Jasmine is the type of athlete we are always looking for. She's coming off a great freshman year, making the A-10 All-Rookie Team, and we're excited about her future at VCU."
VCU's six late signees join Ciara Brown, Irene Ojukwu and Bridget Camacho, who signed during the early period, for an outstanding nine-player class for 2010.
"This class has everything we need in it, size, speed, experience and great athleticism," Finley said. "We are very excited about working with this group of student-athletes and look forward to seeing them compete in 2010 and beyond. Welcome the future of VCU Volleyball!"
The Rams were 27-9 a year ago and reached the Colonial Athletic Association championship match for the third time in Finley's five seasons.