San Jose, Calif.—Whitney Barnes, a 5-11 outside hitter from Turlock, Calif., Haylee Nelson, a 6-0 middle blocker from Fremont, Calif., and Mamie Garard, a 5-10 setter from Noblesville, Ind., are the first three volleyball signees for the 2018 season at San José State University, as announced by Spartan head coach Jolene Shepardson.
Barnes currently attends Pitman High School and was a member of the volleyball team where she was a first team all-conference selection. She led the team to three consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Division I titles. Barnes plays club for the Rage Volleyball Club. Her club team was runners-up at the 2014 Junior Nationals and the champion at the 2015 Junior Nationals. Barnes is also a member of her school’s track team where she competed in the 2017 state championships in the shot put. She is the school’s first student-athlete to compete in the state championships in two different sports as she helped the 2014 volleyball team reach the CIF tournament.
"Whitney just radiates winning. She has had a lot of success in her life and has created all of it with her consistent drive and skill. She will compete and push to raise the level in our gym to match her past success,” said Shepardson.
Nelson is a middle blocker at Newark Memorial High School. She is a three-time first team All-Mission Valley Athletic League selection and the 2017 MVAL Most Valuable Player. This season she averaged 5.5 kills and 1.1 blocks per set. Nelson plays for the Red Rock Volleyball Club where her team was the Pacific Northwest third-place qualifier for the 2016 Junior Nationals Open Division. Nelson also plays basketball and softball at the school. In basketball she was selected the MVAL’s MVP for the 2016-17 season after averaging 19.4 points, 16.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game in league play.
"When you have a well-rounded, pure athlete with a massive heart, you get results which is what I found in Haylee. She adds offensive versatility to our program all along the net and is a perfect match competitively with the rest of her class,” stated Shepardson.
Garard is a three-time varsity captain for the Zionsville High School team. She is a second team All-State honoree as well as three-time all-conference, two-time North All-Star team selection and first team all-district selection. Garard recorded over 3,000 assists during her prep career and her 2017 team won the section championship. Garard plays for Munciana Volleyball Club where her teams placed third and fifth at the AAU Nationals – Open Division. Off the court, she is the President and founder of the Eagles for Education Club and has received High Academic Honors.
"From the first moment I watched Mamie play I knew she would be able to lead our team that is ready to gain that success under her leadership,” said Shepardson. “Mamie inspires all - whether you are watching her or playing with her. She makes every one around her better.
“I am thankful to have players like Haylee and Whitney stay in their backyard to make a big impact here at San José State. While student-athletes like Mamie recognize the huge benefits of attending our university right here in the Silicon Valley. The 2018 class is the next level of greatness for San Jose State Volleyball.”
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