USC Upstate head volleyball coach Jennifer Calloway has announced this afternoon that three players will be joining the Spartan program for the upcoming 2016 season.
The three additions for the 2016 signing class are Gloria Ikenegbu, Tamara Kaiser and Montana Swanson. The signees hail from the states of South Carolina and Virginia.
“We are excited to bring in some local talent this year,” said Calloway. “This is another bright and talented class. We are losing four significant pieces of our puzzle due to graduation, but these three will be expected to fight for playing time immediately.”
Ikenegbu is a 5-11 middle hitter from Anderson, S.C. and attended T.L. Hanna High School. She earned varsity letters for both volleyball and track, and has been a member on the Honor Roll each of her four years of high school. Ikenegbu has earned numerous accolades on the volleyball court including Offensive Most Valuable Player, Impact Player Award and All-Region. She has finished second in Region I-AAAA in blocks and fourth in kills. Her teams at T.L. Hanna have appeared in an Upper State Championship game and gone undefeated in region play. This past season, she recorded 265 kills and tallied 106 total blocks. Ikenegbu also had 110 kills and 106 blocks during her junior season. She is the daughter of Chuck and Esther Ikenegbu
“Gloria is extremely explosive and has a great arm,” said Calloway. “She will add much needed depth to the middle position.”
Kaiser is a 5-10 setter from Chesterfield, Va. where she played at Cosby High School. She lettered four years in volleyball at Cosby and was a three-year starter. During her senior season, Kaiser was the Conference 3 Player of the Year, while also earning Second Team All-State, First Team All-Conference and All-Region, and Second Team All-Metro accolades. She was a First Team All-Conference honoree as a junior, and also garnered Second Team All-Region and All-Metro recognition. Kaiser broke the school’s single-season record for assists with 743 in her sophomore season en route to being named First Team All-District and Second Team All-Conference. She ended her prep career with 1,990 assists. She is the daughter of Winfried and Iris Evelyn Kaiser.
“Tamara adds another setting option for us this year,” Calloway added. “She has a very high volleyball IQ and is very deceptive with the ball. We are looking forward to seeing what role she will fill for us as we get into the season.”
Swanson is a 5-7 outside hitter from Charleston, S.C. where she attended Bishop England High School. She received three varsity letters at Bishop England in volleyball, basketball, and track and field. Swanson played on multiple Class AA state championship teams at Bishop England in all three sports. She was a team captain in both 2013 and 2014. Swanson has been named the SCCAWS Class AA Player of the Year three times in her career and Player of the Year by the High School Sports Report, and was a MaxPreps Class AA All-American in 2014. As a senior, Swanson recorded 318 kills for a .312 hitting percentage, compiled 297 digs, 40 total blocks and 24 service aces.
“Montana is a great competitor and has excellent ball control,” Calloway said. “She will compete the minute she steps on the court with our hitters. I cannot wait to see how we can use her best.”