Bill Ziskin

UAlbany Volleyball Adds Seven for 2017 Campaign

UAlbany Sports Information   05-23-2017

ALBANY, N.Y. – The UAlbany volleyball team will add seven new players for the 2017 season with six freshmen, including two Capital District locals, and a junior college transfer.

The Great Danes reached the America East Tournament title match for the third consecutive year in 2016, finishing 16-10 with a 9-3 conference record.  UAlbany won the West Point Invitational, including victories over UConn and St. John's, part of a 10-match winning streak.

Head coach MJ Engstrom, the winningest coach in UAlbany's Division I history, returns for her 10th season at the helm of the Great Danes.

“We are extremely excited about the 2017 class!” said Engstrom. “We've added size, athleticism, and great students to our program. This is the largest class we've had from New York in a very long time. Additionally, it's great to be adding players from Georgia and Florida – an area from which we historically have had few student-athletes hail. We've also added much needed experience in the setting position. Overall this group has a great work ethic both on and off the court.”

Larissa Focosi – Jr. – S – 5-7 – Sao Paulo, Brazil/Iowa Western C.C.

Focosi will have two years with the Great Danes after two seasons with Iowa Western, helping the Reivers to second place in NJCAA DI play in 2016.  She finished in the top-3 in total assists both years, totaling 3,621, earning NJCAA Second Team All-America honors in the 2015-16 season.

Zoey Chilcote – Fr. – MB – 6-1 – Davie, Fla./Western

From the Sunshine State comes Chilcote, a volleyball and swimming athlete at Western High.  A two-time Most Improved Player with the team, she finished with 113 kills and 32 blocks in her senior season.  She competed in the 2016 AAU Girls' Junior National Championships with the Suns 17s, and finished her club career playing for Tribe VBC this season, and played with Gilli Kalb. 

Gilli Kalb – Fr. – OH/DS – 5-9 – Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Westminster Academy

Kalb joins the Great Danes after serving as a volleyball and water polo player at Westminster Academy in Florida.  The 2015 all-county player tallied 359 digs, 160 kills and 24 service aces in her final two years, leading the Lions to second place in regionals in 2015 and 2016. Kalb was a member of Tribe VBC where she and Zoey Chilcote were teammates this season.

Selah Malcoln – Fr. – OH – 5-10 – Johns Creek, Ga./Johns Creek

Malcoln is the first-ever player from the state of Georgia to play under Engstrom at UAlbany.  Helping Johns Creek to a combined 111-39 record in her final three years, the team's defensive co-player of the year in 2015 led the Gladiators to a pair of region VII title match appearances, including the championship in 2014.

Diana Pinchuk – Fr. – OH – 6-1 – Niskayuna, N.Y./Niskayuna

Pinchuk will stay in the Capital District from Niskayuna High, the first from her high school to play Division I volleyball.  The two-time Suburban Council All-Star helped the Silver Warriors win 13 matches and the Section II semifinal round in 2016 and competed with the Legion Volleyball Club. 

Lexi Shannon – Fr. – OH – 6-3 – Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Albany Academy

The Albany Academy graduate and three-year letterwinner in volleyball enrolled at UAlbany starting in Spring 2017.  The two-time Colonial Council First Team All-Star finished with 493 career kills, leading her team to the 2015 Section II quarterfinals.  She played for Lakeside VBC in her club career. 

Danielle Tedesco – Fr. – MB – 6-3 – Cazenovia, N.Y./Cazenovia

Tedesco will head east from central New York to the Capital District.  A multi-sport athlete at Cazenovia in volleyball, basketball and softball, the two-time team captain was the Section III Player of the Year in volleyball in 2016, earning all-state honors her final three seasons.  Tedesco played for Crown City VBC.

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