ANCHORAGE – Alaska Anchorage volleyball head coach Chris Green announced Friday that three players have joined the Seawolves’ roster for 2017, adding junior-college standouts Tara Melton and Anjoilyn Vreeland, along with incoming freshman Vera Pluharova.
Melton, a 6-1 middle blocker/right-side hitter, was a 2016 NJCAA First Team All-American at Glendale (Ariz.) Community College, where she helped her hometown school to a 54-8 record in her two seasons, including a national third-place finish in 2015.
Last season, the former Cactus High School star averaged 3.05 kills per set, 0.78 blocks per set, and ranked third nationally in attack percentage at .435, powering the Gauchos to a 23-5 mark and their second straight district finals appearance. As a freshman in 2015, Melton averaged 2.03 kps, 0.83 bps and hit .354 for a GCC squad that went 31-3, delivering a season-high 14 kills in the district finals against Scottsdale and 13 kills in the NJCAA Third Place Match sweep of Des Moines Area.
Meanwhile, Vreeland will become the latest local talent to join the Seawolf program, giving the defending NCAA Div. II finalists four Anchorage products on their 2017 roster, including former Dimond High School teammate Leah Swiss.
Prior to averaging 3.08 digs per set at Blue Mountain (Ore.) Community College last season, the libero/defensive specialist was a 4-year letterwinner at Dimond, helping the Lynx to four straight 4A State Title matches, including championships in 2012 and 2015.
While Melton and Vreeland have already enrolled at UAA and practiced with the team during its spring season, Pluharova recently signed a National Letter of Intent and will join the Seawolves as a true freshman from Nechanice, Czech Republic. The 6-2 middle blocker played the last two seasons for the prestigious TJ Slavia Hradec Kralove club team, which faced the Seawolves during their 2015 European summer tour.
“Tara played at the highest level in junior college and proved that she can be an elite offensive performer,” said Green, the 2016 AVCA NCAA Div. II National Coach of the Year. “Together with Vera – who we feel can develop into a force – and (fellow incoming freshman) Jalisa Ingram, we will have good depth in the middle and hopefully overcome the loss of a 4-year starter in Erin Braun. Anjoilyn has been very impressive in the back row this spring and comes from elite high school and club programs, so we are confident she will add great depth, at minimum.”
Melton, Pluharova and Vreeland join fall signees Casey Davenport (5-6, Fr., S, Auburn, Wash./Mountainview HS) and Jalisa Ingram (6-2, Fr., MB/RS, Flagstaff, Ariz./Coconino HS) to bring the Seawolves’ incoming recruiting class to five players.
UAA went 34-3 and won its second straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference title in 2016, while reaching the National Title Match for the first time. The Seawolves return nine players from that team, including four starters.
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