ORANGEBURG, S.C. (June 29, 2023) – South Carolina State head women’s volleyball coach Melissa Paige announced the signing of ten (10) student-athletes who will play for the Lady Bulldogs during the 2023-2024 season.
The recruiting class includes Maggie Ellender (5’8/Setter/Spring, TX/Klein Oak High School); Xiara Pickett (5’8/Opposite Hitter/ Round Rock, TX/ Temple College); Miya Benson (5’2/ Libero/ Dallas, TX/ Alabama A&M); Trinity Stevenson (5-3, Defensive Specialist/Jonesboro, GA/Jonesboro HS); Rosalyn Nightingale (5’3/Defensive Specialist/Charlotte, NC /William Amos Hough HS); Kaia Benett (5’8/Setter/ Bowling Green, KY/ Bowling Green HS); Jara Davis (5’8/Setter/ Darlington, SC/Wilson HS); Kiyah Felder (6’1/ Middle Blocker/ Houston, TX/ Temple College); Shamira Andrews (5’9/ Opposite Hitter/Sumter, SC/ Sumter HS); and Hailey Harris (6’1/ Middle Blocker/Houston, TX/ Temple College).
Ellender comes to SC State after playing four seasons with Klein Oak High School, where she was named First Team All-District in 2022.
Pickett transferred to SC State from Temple College after two seasons with the Lady Leopards. As a Lady Leopard, she recorded a total of 255 kills (2.30 k/s), 34 service aces, 286 digs (2.58 d/s), 40 blocks (0.36 b/s), and averaged 2.8 points per set. Pickett played her prep career at Stony Point High School and was a two-year letter winner. She was Stony Point High School’s season leader in blocks and earned Second Team All-District during the 2020 season. She was a part of the 2019 Max Performance Volleyball Club, the second-place finisher at Colorado Crossroads. During the 2020 season at Max Performance Volleyball Club, her team qualified for the Tour of Texas and earned an eighth-place finish.
Benson transferred to SC State after one season at Alabama A&M. As a Lady Bulldog, she recorded a season-high 14 digs against Alcorn. She played her prep career at Desoto High School, where she was a four-year letter winner. As a Lady Eagle, she averaged 3.8 digs per game and ranked in the top six in 6A Texas Region II Division 11 in 2022. She was named Receiving Defensive Player of the Year in her freshman and sophomore seasons while earning Receiving Team All-District her junior year and First Team All-District as a senior.
Stevenson earned four letters during her prep career at Jonesboro High School, the 2021 County Champion, and the 2021-2022 Region Runner-Up. As a Lady Cardinal, she was named 2021-2022 First Team All-Region, 2019-2020, and Second Team All-Region, 2020-2022 Captain, and received the 2023 MVP Award.
Nightingale played her prep career at William Amos Hough High School, where she was a member of the Queen City Conference regular season and tourney championship teams. Also, she was a member of the 2022 North Carolina State Semi-Finals 4A Runner-Up team. In the State semi-finals, she was named the Player of the Game against Sun Valley.
Barnett played her prep career at Bowling Green High School and was a four-year letter winner. As a Lady Purple, she received many accolades, including KHSAA Academic All-State (2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022), District 14 MVP, 2019, District 14 Varsity MVP (2021), District 14 All-District honors (2020), KVCA Region 4 Volleyball Player of the Year (2021 & 22), KHSAA First Team All-State (2021& 2022), and 4th Region Athletic Director Player of the Year (2021& 2022). She also was named to the AVCA phenom list, KVCA watchlist, and AVCA All-America Watchlist, and was an Under Armour All-American.
Davis played her prep career at Wilson High School, where she was a four-year letter winner. As a Lady Tiger, she received many accolades. She was a recipient of the 2019 Coaches Award, a 2020 First Team All-Region Setter, 2021 First Team All-Region Setter, 2021 Coaches Award recipient, and First Team All-Region Setter, in 2022. She is the s school’s first volleyball player to continue her career at a Division I institution and was named 2022 Female Athlete of the Year, earned the 2022 Inaugural Captain Award, 2022, and SCHSL Volleyball North/South All-Star accolades. She recorded a total of 1,587 career assists and served 25 straight points in 2020.
Felder transferred to SC State from Temple College after spending two seasons with the Lady Leopards. As a Lady Leopard, she recorded a total of 185 kills (1.93 k/s), 0.145 hitting percentage, 88 digs (0.92 d/s), 56 blocks (0.58 b/s), and averaged 2.3 points per set. Felder played her prep career at Benjamin O Davis High School where she was a three-year letter winner. She received the Newcomer of the Year award her sophomore year and was crowned MVP her senior year.
Andrews played her prep career at Sumter High School where she was a member of the 2020-2021 5A Varsity Lower State Championship Team. As a Lady Gamecock, she was named 2x Varsity 1st All-Region Team, 2022-2023 North-South Team, 2022-2023 5A All-Region Team, and received the 2023 Best Offensive Player of the Year award.
Harris transferred from Temple College after her freshman season. As a Lady Leopard, she recorded 189 kills (1.77 k/s), and 105 blocks (0.98 b/s), and averaged 2.5 points per set. She was ranked number one in the nation in NJCAA for total blocks and hitting percentage in 2021. She played her prep career at Benjamin O Davis High School, where she earned three letters. As a Lady, the team was ranked second in the district during the 2018-2020 seasons.