RAMS INTRODUCE 2016 RECRUITING CLASS

RICHMOND, Va. - VCU Head Coach Jody Rogers revealed the Rams' 2016 recruiting class Tuesday. The 10-player class features a blend of talent which promises to fortify the Rams for seasons to come. Rogers points to the group's skills, intensity and work ethic as reasons to look forward to the 2016 season and beyond.

"Our 2016 class will complement the already loaded young team we have here at VCU," Rogers said. "Each one of these girls possesses the intangibles that will make them successful here at VCU and will push the team to achieve at a high level."
 
Here's a look at the 2016 VCU Volleyball recruiting class:
 

Madalon Simpson, Libero/DS, Louisville, Kentucky/Mercy Academy - Club: MAVA
A three-year varsity letter winner, Simpson comes to VCU with a great deal of success at the high school and club levels. She led Mercy Academy to KHSAA State Championship in 2014. Her team was later named a National Champion by prepvolleyball.com. Simpson also sparked Mercy's third-place KHSAA finish in 2013. Simpson followed up her 2014 campaign with a KHSAA All-Region Team selection as a senior in 2015. In addition to her high school accomplishments, her club team, MAVA, was runner-up at the 2014 AAU Championship and third in 2015. For her efforts, Simpson was named an AAU All-American following the 2015 season. On top of it all, Simpson has maintained a 4.0 GPA in high school and is a two-year member of the National Honor Society.

Coach Rogers on Simpson: "Madalon comes with a wealth of experience playing at a high level for a very competitive high school and club program. She's defensive-minded and her work ethic will be contagious. Her presence will solidify the back row and help control the first ball that's so important to our fast offense."

Maria Victoria Giommarini, Outside Hitter, Italy/Multicenter School (Naples) - Club: Napoli Volley
Hailing from Italy, Maria Victoria "Vicky" Giommarini is the complete package player, capable of both passing and hitting with great proficiency. A five-time regional and provincial championship winner, Giommarini and her team have placed fifth or higher at the National Championship in four separate years, winning the title in 2013-14. She's also gained international experience, playing in Croatia in the summer of 2012 and later in 2014 with Libertas Martignacco, where she earned the award for "Best Attacker" on her team's way to a first-place tournament finish.

Coach Rogers on Giommarini: "Vicky comes to VCU from Italy with tremendous international experience and high volleyball IQ. She's the complete player we need to enhance our already talented roster. She's a six-rotation outside hitter whose approach to the game will balance our offense and keep us consistent."

Jasmin Sneed, Middle Blocker, San Antonio, Texas/Tom C. Clark High School - Club: San Antonio Magic
Sneed comes to VCU after excelling as a two-sport athlete in volleyball and track at Tom C. Clark High School in San Antonio, Texas. On the court, Sneed produced a tremendous senior campaign, leading her team with 450 kills (3.3 per set), 57 solo blocks and 192 total blocks. For her efforts, she earned a spot on the 2016 All-Star Team and a second straight First Team All-District selection. On the track she was a standout in both the 200-meter run and the 4x400 relay. She was a member of Clark's 2014 squad that won Bi-District and Area Championships and was a regional finalist. Sneed is also a two-year member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society.

Coach Rogers on Sneed: "Jasmin is an explosive middle blocker who will provide depth at the middle blocker position. She's a multi-sport athlete you can place anywhere on the court and know good things will happen. We have high expectations for her to be a force at the position."

Gina Tuzzolo, Opposite, Newport News, Virginia/Peninsula Catholic High School
A decorated high school player, Tuzzolo will arrive at VCU with an impressive list of awards, including 2015 Virginia Independent School Athletic Association Division II Player of the Year, 2015 Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools Player of the Year, three TCIS All-Tournament Team honors, two VISAA First Team All-State awards, a 2014 Daily Press All-Star citation, two Peninsula Catholic MVP trophies and a 2012 Division II State Championship. The hard-hitting lefty opposite also broke Peninsula Catholic career records for kills (1,324) and blocks (384) before enrolling at VCU in the spring of 2016.
 
Coach Rogers on Tuzzolo: "Gina is one of two players who were able to come to VCU this spring [along with Diamond Boxley] – she'll really benefit from working with the team and getting a head start on her education. She's incredibly bright and will elevate our team's academic success. Her desire to learn and get better really sets her apart. I'm excited to see her athleticism come to life on the court."

CeCe Madison, Outside Hitter, Midlothian, Texas/Midlothian High School
A dynamic, powerful outside hitter from Midlothian, Texas, Madison comes to VCU after a successful high school career. Madison earned three All-District honors (twice as a First-Team selection) and her school's top offensive player award. Madison was named Hitter of the Year as a junior and senior. She received a First Team All-Academic selection and Defensive Player of the Year award last season to round out an impressive career.

Coach Rogers on Madison: "CeCe is an explosive six-rotation outside who can terminate from anywhere on the court. Her ability, work ethic, and attitude set her apart, and we are excited to land such a tremendous student-athlete. Her transition to the college game will be seamless, and she'll dominate in the A-10."

Alica Kandler, Outside Hitter, Daytona Beach, Florida/Daytona State College
A transfer from Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, Florida, Kandler comes to VCU with some serious hardware in tow. Her superlatives include two NJCAA All-America and Florida NJCAA All-State Team awards, two National and Regional Player of the Week honors, two First Team All-Conference citations, a Mid-Florida Conference Player of the Year trophy, and Daytona State's Offensive MVP. An international player from Germany, Kandler also played for the German Youth National Team for three years and placed first at the European Championship Qualification with the National Team in 2013.

Coach Rogers on Kandler: "VCU will be lucky to benefit from all the intangibles Alica brings to the team. Her experience, composure, and ability will lead to first ball opportunities for our offense and she's really got a knack for terminating plays."

Diamond Boxley, Middle Blocker, Farmville, Virginia/Prince Edward County High School
A product of Farmville, Virginia, Boxley enjoyed a decorated prep career. A four-year varsity player, Diamond was named Team MVP by the Farmville Herald in 2016. She's also earned First Team All-District and All-Conference honors, in addition a James River District Player of the Year award in 2015. An academic all-star, Boxley ranked second in her class at the Southside Regional Governor's School and graduated early before joining VCU in the spring of 2016.

Coach Rogers on Boxley: "Along with Gina, Diamond is exceptionally smart and was able to come to VCU this spring. Her success in the classroom and on the court can be attributed to her competitive mindset, and will go a long way toward preparing her for next fall season. She has a wealth of talent that we'll just be tapping into."

Tyler Sroufe, Setter, Tampa, Florida/Wharton High School - Club: Tampa United
Arriving to VCU from Tampa, Florida, Sroufe is a dynamic player molded for running Coach Rogers' up-tempo offense. A four-year varsity letterwinner, Sroufe has earned several awards throughout her high school career, including two All-County Second Team honors and a Bright House Player of the Game citation. The American Volleyball Coaches Association, along with Max Preps, selected Sroufe as a Player of the Week on August 31, 2015 for the state of Florida, matching future teammate Gina Tuzzolo's selection in the state of Virginia.

Coach Rogers on Sroufe: "Tyler is as physical and athletic a setter you'll find anywhere, possessing the perfect blend of talent and leadership needed to run our fast offense. She has the 'hate to lose mentality' needed as a setter and in our program. I'm excited to watch her in our system."

Catja Weijzen, Outside Hitter, Netherlands/Tauras Oskam
Weijzen, from the Netherlands, comes to VCU with great international experience. She was first selected for the Youth National Team at the age of 14, and played with the squad for three years. Her team placed second at the World Sports Festival in Vienna, Austria in 2013, then won the Volleyball Cup in Italy in 2014. Her club team, Tauras, plays in the top "A" league and finished fourth nationally. Skilled in the sand as well, Weijzen was selected for the 2012 Youth National Beach Volleyball team. In 2015 she was ranked second in the country in her age group.

Coach Rogers on Weijzen: "Catja has played at a really high level internationally and can contribute immediately. I love her competitiveness. She has a real passion about being the best that, combined with her physical tools, will have a significant impact on the program."

Dajah Ard, Setter, Arlington, Texas/Mansfield Summit High School
A club teammate fellow VCU signee CeCe Madison, Ard brings experience, talent, and composure to the setter position at VCU. A three-year varsity competitor, Ard was a 5A First Team All-District selection in 2014 and 2015, years in which she dished out 1,207 and 1,352 assists, respectively. These accolades earned her a place on the University Interscholastic League (UIL) All-State Team.
 

Coach Rogers on Ard: "Dajah has an extremely high IQ in the setter position and has the ability to make great decisions that enable the offense to score in crucial moments. Her competitiveness and mental toughness will enhance what VCU Volleyball is all about."

 
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