MIAMI (May 15, 2012) - Head Coach Trevor Theroulde has announced the addition of four student-athletes to the 2012 FIU volleyball squad, as Lucia Castro, Maryna Samoday, Kimberly Smith and Brittany Spencer recently signed National Letters of Intent (NLI).
The foursome rounds out the previously-signed group of Ashlee Hodgskin, Gloria Levorin, and Hayley Miller, who committed to FIU during the early-signing period in November 2011.
"I expect all four signees to make significant contributions to the team's success and assist us in realizing our goal of winning a championship this year," Theroulde said. "They bring size, athleticism and experience, and will add depth to our rotations. They will definitely improve the level of competitiveness within the team during practice and in game situations, as they will all vie for starting positions. I am interested to see how these athletes fit into the team and how their potential translates to on-the-court results."
Castro comes to FIU from Ponce, Puerto Rico, having played volleyball and softball at Caribbean School. The 6-foot-1 right side earned multiple MVP honors and was tabbed 2010 Athlete of the Year, in addition to being a member of the Puerto Rican National Team. Castro, who owns vast club experience in addition to her national and high school experience, was also recruited by the likes of LSU and Duke.
"Lucia is a very physical player, and she understands the game because of her international experience while representing Puerto Rico at the World Youth Championships," Theroulde said. "She plays the game with passion and youthful exuberance, but at the same time displays a level of maturity and poise on the court way beyond her years."
Samoday will be a double-threat for FIU as she will serve as a member of both the indoor and sand volleyball teams. The Sumy, Ukraine, native played two seasons at Seminole State College, earning 2010 All-Region recognition and MVP All-Region honors. Samoday, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter, led the Trojans to their third-straight Region II Championship in 2011 as SSC compiled a record of 35-5.
"Maryna is a player who will have an immediate impact on the court," Theroulde said. "She has tremendous leadership abilities and a high work ethic with an exceptional volleyball IQ. I strongly believe that being one of the top youth sand volleyball players in the world provides her with a tremendous court awareness and vision. I am looking forward to seeing her on the court."
Smith hails from Zionsville, Ind., where she was a four-year letterwinner in volleyball at Covenant Christian High School. The 6-foot-3 middle blocker played two seasons at Robert Morris University-Illinois where she led the Eagles to a CCAC Championship in 2011, en route to First Team All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-Region honors. Smith enjoyed top-35 NAIA national rankings in hitting percentage, total blocks and blocks per game last season, and earned Best Offensive Player recognition in 2010.
"Kimberly is just a tremendous athlete and she is a middle who was courted by many schools," Theroulde said. "She brings to the team physicality and a presence in the middle, and has the potential to dominate at her position."
Spencer is a native of Chesterfield, Va., as she played volleyball for two years at Matoaca High School, earning First Team All-District honors. The 6-foot-2 middle blocker spent one season at Miami Dade College, and was ranked among the top-25 in the country for hitting efficiency with a mark of 40.9 percent. Spencer has club experience with USPAV and was also recruited by Syracuse, N.C. State and Hofstra.
"Brittany is a player who will work to maximize her potential," Theroulde said. "If she does what she is capable of doing and continues to progress in the manner she has been, FIU fans are in for a treat."
About FIU Athletics: FIU Athletics is home to more than 400 student-athletes in 18 different sports, and is a proud member of the Sun Belt Conference and an affiliate member of Conference USA (men's soccer). Athletic events are played in seven different venues on FIU's campuses (Modesto A. Maidique and Biscayne Bay), including U.S. Century Bank Arena and Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium.
About FIU: Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. Its colleges and schools offer more than 180 bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida's anchor institutions, FIU is worlds ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission and enrolls nearly 48,000 students in two campuses and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. More than 140,000 alumni live and work in South Florida. FIU is a member of the Sun Belt Conference and has 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu/.
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