'Dogs Add Roberts, Jovanovic and Hutcheson to Newcomer Class
May 13, 2014
FRESNO, Calif. - Helping the Fresno State volleyball team replace one of its most talented senior classes in school history, head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell announced the addition of three more players for the upcoming fall campaign.
The `Dogs will welcome two transfers, outside hitter Haylee Roberts (Bakersfield, Calif.) and setter Jelena Jovanovic (Belgrade, Serbia), and freshman defensive specialist Jacqueline Hutcheson (Exeter, Calif.) to up their newcomer class to six members.
Roberts, a 6-3 outside hitter, looks ahead to her first collegiate season after she signed with Oregon as a prep senior but did not play for the Ducks in 2013. As a prep, the three-time All-Area pick was an All-Area MVP for Liberty High School as a senior in 2012. A Prep Volleyball Senior Ace nominee, she was also accorded Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 and Under Armour All-America Honorable mention status.
"Haley was a standout national recruit," Netherby-Sewell said. "She's a positive spark plug who will breathe life into our toughest matches. She is tall and talented, can play the middle efficiently, and also has the arm swing to make a huge impact on the right or left side."
Jovanovic will be a junior after she started the last two seasons at Florida Atlantic, and the former team captain played all 56 of its matches. In 2013, the 5-8 setter averaged 9.32 assists per set, and ranked second on the team and 18th in the Conference USA in aces (0.22 p/s). As a freshman, she led the team in both categories (9.11 assists / 0.29 aces per set) en route to sixth-place rankings in the Sun Belt Conference in each at season's end. In prior years, her Serbian club squad claimed two national championship silver medals and one regional gold medal.
"We fought hard for Jelena, and she's well worth the wait," Netherby-Sewell said. "I knew after 15 minutes with her, we needed her. She's mature, strong, polite and confident - all qualities we hope for in our setters. She has been playing since a young age in Serbia, and her Division I experience will help make a big impact on our program right away. We now have two strong setters in our program, and both will make us better this year."
As a prep, Hutcheson was a three-time Central Sequoia All-League choice, three-time All-Tulare County honoree and All-Central Section Elite Senior selection. The team captain also led Exeter High School to two Redwood Invitational titles and a Sunnyside championship, and it helped it contend for the Simi Valley Final / Central Section each year. In her eight-year club career, she has played four years in the power league, and her Central Cal 17-1 Gold squad placed fifth in the 2013 Junior National Championships.
"Jacque is small but mighty," Netherby-Sewell said. "She's a great all-around player. After receiving a strong recommendation from Mike Batesole who coached Jacque's brother a few years back and then coaching her at camp last year, I knew we had to find a place for her in our program. She's fast, jumps well and knows the game. I'm interested to see what she can do at this level after buying into the Bulldog vision and getting a little training behind her. My guess is she'll make some of the tall ladies we play against feel very small."
The trio join a recruiting class that already includes three Bulldog freshmen to be - outside hitters Taylor Brubaker (San Clemente, Calif.) and Carly Scarbrough (Sarasota, Fla.) and middle blocker Lauren Torres (Visalia, Calif.).
Brubaker, a 6-0 outside hitter, helped lead her San Clemente High School team to a league title and runner-up finish in 2011 and 2013, respectively, and CIF third- and second-round placings.
Scarbrough, a 6-1 outside hitter, was a captain, team MVP and all-area team choice for Riverside High School squads that claimed a Patriot League title and runner-up finish.
Torres, a 6-0 middle blocker, has helped lead her El Diamante High School team to three West Yosemite League titles, a D-II championship and runner-up finish, and was a Fresno Bee Fall All-Star.
The talented newcomer class will help ease the loss of a five-member senior class that was instrumental to the program's recent success.
Outside hitters Korrin Wild and Marissa Brand were former All-MW and All-WAC honorees, while first-year Bulldog and right-side hitter Holly Franks was the 2013 MW Newcomer of the Year. Middle blocker Lauren Albertson was a team co-captain and started all three of her seasons as a `Dog, while right-side hitter Megan Callahan started as a junior in 2012.
Fresno State's list of returnees from 2013 include senior and sophomore libero/defensive specialists Christina Lee and Maggie Eppright, sophomore setter Brooke Legaux, junior and senior outside hitters Zana Bowens and Jaimee-Lee Morrow, senior right side hitter Katie Pearson, and senior and junior middle blockers Maci Murdock and Molly Pearson.
In MW action last fall, the `Dogs (17-15, 11-9) capped their 43rd season of play with their first pair of back-to-back winning seasons since 2003 and `04, and tied for fourth place in the MW Conference - two places better than their MW Preseason Coaches Poll position.