CWU volleyball adds more depth

Simo Rul, Staff Reporter

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The CWU women’s volleyball team is coming off of a season where they made it to the NCAA west regional. The Wildcats look to build on that with five new signings from Washington, Arizona, Oregon, and Hawaii.

Outside hitter Kayla Banyai is from Chandler, Arizona. She made four state tournaments at Hamilton High School and also made it to the final four in 2016.

“Kayla is physical, and has a good feel for the game,” head coach Mario Andaya told CWU Athletics.

Defensive specialist Robin Meador went to Marysville Getchell High School where she got two all-conference nods, a first team pick this year and all-area first team libero honors.

“How she works on the court has shown us she can play at a high level, and embrace the grind of passer and defender in this game. She plays with great poise, which is key for this position,” Andaya told CWU Athletics.

Outside hitter Sierra Sharma is from Springfield, Oregon. She was an all-league pick three times and getting first team honors in 2016.

“Sierra has the physical tools to be special,” Andaya said to CWU Athletics.

Outside hitter Makala Swart is from Naches Valley, Washington. She won the SCAC West Player of the Year three times, she also was SCAC all-league, all-state, and was picked to the state tournament team.

“She’s a high-flyer, has power, and has a strong skill-set. Makala continues to grow in the game each year, but she still has a huge ceiling,”  Andaya told CWU Athletics about Swart.

Middle blocker Kylee Yamashita is from Pukalani, Hawaii. She was a MIL all-star Division first team.

“Kylee plays with a lot of energy, and sees the game well,” Andaya told CWU athletics.

Andaya feels excited for the class coming in.

“We have really good pin hitters or outside hitters coming in,” Andaya said. “We have a good middle [coming] from Hawaii.”

He feels the Wildcats have covered positions with these signings.

“Across the board we have a really balanced class, as far as positions go,” Andaya said.

There will be some chance for the freshman to compete for a spot.

“They’re going to be thrown into the mix, for sure,” Andaya said. “We had three true freshmen last year that started for us.”

All the newcomers have good odds to compete for playing time, but nothing is guaranteed.

“The freshmen will certainly be evaluated and to see whether or not they can help us next year,” Andaya said. “But time will tell whether or not they can keep up with the speed right away and the level of training.”

Andaya spoke about the challenges of recruiting in state and importance of bringing in players from other states.

“We did bring a lot of out of state kids in” Andaya said. “We battle a lot with some in-state schools for the same kids. It’s nice to have that diversity.”

Andaya also touched on how the school itself helps with recruiting.

CWU “is doing a very good job,” Andaya said. “It’s helping us as recruiters for the school just because of [what] our institution has to offer academically and then also socially.”

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CWU volleyball adds more depth