Lamar volleyball team signs four new players
May 2, 2012
BEAUMONT - Lamar University volleyball coach Justin Gibert has signed a trio of middle blockers and an outside hitter to National Letters of Intent for the 2012 season as he looks to add size and athleticism to his team.
The middle blockers headed to Lamar are Courtney Moore, Sara Landis and Chelsea Grant, while Rebekah Rightnour comes in at the outside hitter position. Lamar will have an upcoming need at the middle blocker position as seniors Wendy Krell and Christina Hobbs are heading into their final season for the Lady Cardinals.
Landis is the lone out of state signee as she comes from Sacred Heart School in Falls City, Neb. The 6-foot-3 Landis was named first-team Pioneer All-Conference and was a second-team all-state selection. An outstanding athlete, Landis also led her basketball and track and field teams to the state playoffs.
"Sara has a strong arm, hits the ball hard, good blocking height and is just a huge presence at the net," said Gibert. "She plays at a small high school and for a small club team so there will be some development to do with her, but she'll be able to be mentored by the two seniors. She has tremendous upside."
Grant comes to Lamar after an outstanding prep career at Killeen Ellison High School. The 6-foot-1 Grant was a two-time first-team All-District 12-5A selection and was named to the Daily Herald All-Area Team after averaging 2.9 kills and 1.7 blocks per game as a senior.
"Chelsea is a huge jumper and will probably be the most athletic player on our team," said Gibert. "She will be a huge blocking presence at the net. She hits a good ball and contacts the ball so high that she is able to hit some angles that the other team will find hard to defend. She has a huge ceiling."
Moore was a first-team All-District 18-5A selection following her senior campaign at Houston's Eisenhower High School where she averaged 3.78 kills per game. The 5-foot-10 Moore is extremely athletic and was also an all-district performer in basketball.
"Courtney is smaller in stature, but is a great jumper," said Gibert. "She has quick feet, moves well at the net and closes blocks very quickly. She is really developing her potential and the best part of her game right now is her physical attributes. We look at her as a replacement for Christina Hobbs because of her quickness and athleticism."
Rightnour joins the Lamar program after recording nearly 1,200 kills over her final two seasons at Byron Steele (Cibolo) High School. The 6-foot Rightnour was named first-team All-District 25-5A three times and helped the Knights to a pair of district titles.
As a senior, Rightnour finished with 5.3 kills and 4.6 digs per game while attacking at a healthy .324 percentage. The school record holder in the shot put and discus, Rightnour also was a four-time academic all-district honoree.
"Rebekah is a big offensive kid with a big arm who hits the ball hard," said Gibert. "I really liked how she hit the ball high and deep into the court. We wanted someone who could score on the outside for us. She has a lot of offensive power and hits a wide range of sets. She does a great job of hitting sets that are off a little bit and making adjustments."
Lamar returns 10 players off of last year's 11-21 team. The Lady Cardinals finished 9-7 in Southland Conference play and lost in the opening round of the conference tournament to host Central Arkansas as the No. 4 seed.
"We were at 14 players last year and found that it just wasn't quite the number we needed to train as effectively as we wanted," said Gibert who will also add a group of invited walk-ons for a total of 16 active players. "I think it will be a competitive environment in practice which will help our intensity in training. I think we're the most athletic team in conference, but adding that intensity and depth will be critical."