Houston Volleyball Adds Six to 2014 Roster

May 15, 2014

HOUSTON - The University of Houston Volleyball program has added five freshmen and a transfer for the 2014 season, announced head coach Kaddie Platt Thursday afternoon.

Set to begin her third season, Platt is very confident in the new recruits and excited for them to join the team for the upcoming season.

"This year's recruiting class is full of great, hardworking student-athletes. They are quality students who have high standards in the classroom and are hardworking competitors in the gym," Platt said. "They all bring something special to the team.  We are excited about their future contributions the team's success." 

Keandra "Keke" McCardell
5-8 | Setter | Missouri City, TX | Ridge Point HS

Keandra "Keke" McCardell is a 5'-8" setter from Missouri City, Texas. She played high school ball for Ridge Point High School and was a member of the Houston Skyline Volleyball Club.  She will add depth to the setter position for the Cougars. McCardell is left-handed which gives her the ability to be more offensive due to the natural rotation to hit a pass from the right side of the court. 

During her senior year, McCardell recorded 1069 assists in just 121 sets played and 347 digs as a setter. She led the Lady Panthers to a 12-2 record to take second in District 22-4A and a postseason appearance. The team went on to become the 2013 Area Champions and a regional quarter finalist. McCardell is a two-time All-District 22-4A Setter of the Year and First Team All-District.

McCardell was also selected to the Greater Houston Volleyball Coaches Association North All-Star Team. 

"Keke is a great athlete and playmaker.  She creates opportunities for her team to compete with impressive defensive plays and good offensive decisions," Head Coach Platt said. "She has unlimited potential as a setter. She is quick, athletic, left-handed.  She is great at running the middle and knows how to get her hitters involved.  We are so excited about the immediate impact she will have on the program." 



Chyla Thomas
6-3 | Middle Blocker | Atlanta, GA | San Jacinto College

Chyla Thomas is a 6'-3", middle blocker transferring into Houston from San Jacinto College. She will add competitiveness high above the net to Houston's defensive and offensive systems.

"Chyla is a big presence at the net, touching 10'-3". She has a high contact point when attacking the ball and will be a dominant player on the court with a lot of hard work. We are excited about how big she can play," Platt said. 

Before spending a season at San Jacinto College, Thomas started her collegiate career at Florida State College in Jacksonville, Fla. In just 34 sets played, She recorded 43 kills, 21 blocks and a .248 hitting average. Thomas was selected to the all-conference team and was the freshman team captain.

Thomas played her high school career for Milton High School in Milton, Ga. She was the captain of her high school and club teams and was selected first team all-area player during the 2011-12 school year. Thomas was a multi-sport athlete also competing in track & field.

Madison Kucera
6-1 | Outside Hitter | Edna, TX | Edna High School

Madison Kucera is a 6'-1" outside hitter from Edna, Texas. She played volleyball, basketball and softball for Edna High School and was a member of the Tex Star Volleyball Club team. 

Kucera is coming off an excellent senior season as she recorded 671 kills and a hitting percentage of .516, the sixth best percentage by an outside hitter in the nation. She hit .450 or better during her junior and senior seasons.  

"Madison is a powerful attacker and has a strong blocking presence at the net," Coach Platt said. "She attended our summer camp last summer and we were sold with her work ethic, heavy arm, good jump, and her willingness to learn. We are excited about her potential and getting her focused on one sport." 

Kucera is an all-around player who will add muscle in the back row. In just three seasons, she picked up 882 digs according to MaxPreps.com. 

Sarah Afflerbaugh
5-11 | Outside Hitter | Westwood HS | Austin, Texas

Sarah Afflerbaugh is a 5A All-State outside hitter and was her club team captain and MVP.

Afflerbaugh helped Westwood to a Bi-District Championship in 2011 and was named all-district Newcomer and All-CenTex Newcomer. During her junior season, she led the Lady Warriors to a 37-9 record while earning Lonestar All-State honors and an AVCA Phenom Program Candidacy (Dec 2012). During club play this season, Afflerbaugh led her Texas Fury Volleyball Club team as the captain and earning the postseason MVP award.

Outside of volleyball, Afflerbaugh was an All-district basketball player for the Lady Warriors.

In her senior season, Afflerbaugh played in 134 sets, recorded 482 kills and a .310 hitting average. She also recorded 130 blocks and almost 1,000 kills in her three years on varsity. Afflerbaugh is an all-around player picking up 767 digs in just three years of high school play.

"Sarah comes from a highly competitive program and knows how to win.  She is a solid six rotation player with great shot selection.  She will provide competitive-depth in the outside hitter position.  We are excited to see her develop as she devotes her time to one sport." 

Chenelle Walker
6-1 | Middle Blocker | Fort Myers, FL | Riverdale HS

Chenelle Walker is a 6'1" middle blocker that hails from Fort Myers, Fla., where she played for Riverdale High school.

The four-year volleyball letter winner was a three-time all-area selection and a two-time all-conference honoree. Most recently, Walker was named one of the Wendy's High School Heisman State Winners in 2013, which honors students that excel in academics, athletics, and leadership.

In her four seasons, Walker recorded 647 kills, a .400 hitting average and 186 blocks.

She was selected to the All-State Volleyball team.

Walker helped the Florida International High Performance team to fourth place and ninth place finishes at the High Performance Championships in 2012 and 2011, respectively. In addition, she guided the USA South Volleyball Club team to a 2012 Tri-County Invite championship and Junior Olympic Qualifier in 2012 and 2013. Walker was also a National A2 Volleyball team invitee.

"Chenelle is a middle who works hard to close the block and really gets good blocking positioning.  She has great lateral quickness and good blocking instincts touching 10'-2".  We are excited about her work ethic and desire to be her best," Platt said. 

Bryanna Lawrence
5-8 | Middle Blocker/Outside Hitter | Arlington, TX | Mansfield Timberview HS

Bryanna Lawrence is a 5'-8" outside hitter coming to Houston from Arlington, Texas, where she played varsity volleyball for Mansfield Timberview High School.

Lawrence was also a member of the DFW's 17 Premier club volleyball team. She was also a letter winner in basketball and track and field.

Last season, Lawrence led Timberview to a bi-district championship in the post season. She was named first team all-district in her junior and senior seasons and was voted offensive player of the year and hitter of the year.

"Bryanna is super athletic. She is a dynamic, aggressive and a super-competitive player. Bryy is a solid six-rotation player.  Her dynamic hitting gets the spotlight, but she has great passing and defensive skills as well.   She has great energy on the court and will be fun to watch compete." 

Follow Houston Volleyball on Twitter @UHCougarVB and "Like" /HoustonCougarVolleyball on Facebook. Houston Volleyball is now on Istagram as well, UHCougarVB.

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