UAlbany Volleyball Announces Freshman Class for 2018 Season
ALBANY, N.Y. – The UAlbany volleyball team has released its freshman class for the 2018 season, adding eight new players for the campaign.
“I’m really excited about this group,” said UAlbany head coach MJ Engstrom. “It’s the largest class we’ve ever had, and it is full of kids who can control the ball. All of these players know how to work hard both on the court and in the classroom.”
UAlbany was the 2017 America East regular season champion, finishing 11-1 in the league and 11-15 overall, earning a berth into the National Invitational Volleyball Classic (NIVC) for its first postseason berth since 2011.
Engstrom, the winningest coach in UAlbany’s Division I history, is back for her 11th season with the Great Danes. Josh Pickard is back as the associate head coach while Kevin Cardoza joins the team for his first year as assistant coach.
“We think that most of them will have an opportunity to see a lot of court time this season,” said Engstrom. “Four of the eight are from New York, including two from here in the Capital District, plus two from the Syracuse area. We also bring in three from Virginia and the first-ever player from Kansas!”
Player – Position – Hometown/High School - Club
Anna Chalupa – L/DS – Overland Park, Kan/Blue Valley Northwest - Adidas Team Dynasty
The first-ever Great Dane from the Sunflower State, Chalupa was the 2017 All-Eastern Kansas League Defensive Player of the Year. The senior team captain helped Blue Valley Northwest to the 2015 state title match, finishing with 987 digs and 130 service aces in her high school career.
Grace Cozad – OH – Vienna, Va./Oakton - Paramount VBC
From just outside the nation’s capital comes Cozad, who led Oakton High to a couple of 6A North regional appearances. She earned 6A Region D First Team honors as a senior, compiling 289 kills and 173 digs in her final season.
Taylor Didawick – L/DS – Chesapeake, Va./Grassfield – Coastal Virginia
Didawick heads north from southeastern Virginia to join the Great Danes. A two-time all-region player and the 2017 Monitor Merrimac Conference Player of the Year, she also has named Second Team All-Virginia in 2017.
Olivia Dykstra – OH – Duanesburg, N.Y./Duanesburg – Northeast Thunder
A two-time team captain at Duanesburg, Dykstra earned All-State Fifth Team honors as a senior, her fourth year as a team all-star. As a senior, she led a team of seven players to 16 victories, being named the Mohawk Region MVP.
Charlotte Macken – L/DS – Clifton Park, N.Y./Shenendehowa – LVC
From Shenendehowa comes Macken, a two-time First Team All-State libero, helping her team to a pair of NYSPHSAA semifinal appearances, including the 2017 title match. As a senior, the Section 2 Player of the Year earned 381 digs and 62 service aces.
Alex Payne – OH – Syracuse, N.Y./Jamesville-DeWitt – SyrV
A team captain on the 2016 Section 3 champion Jamesville-DeWitt, Payne is a two-star athlete in volleyball and track. She helped the volleyball team go 41-10 in the last three years, setting a school record with 330 kills as a senior, earning 672 in her career.
Maddie Stone – S – Syracuse, N.Y./Baldwinsville – SyrV
One of the best players from central New York, Stone was honored as a Second Team Class AA All-State player from Baldwinsville in 2017. Also a standout track athlete, she helped the program win a pair of sectional titles in 2016 and 2017.
Andersen Vaughan – S – Leesburg, Va./Loudoun County – Virginia Elite VBC
A two-time Washington Post All-Met setter at Loudoun County, Vaughan led her school to three Class 4A state titles in Virginia and a combined 80-7 record in those seasons. The senior team captain had 1,882 assists, 584 digs, 211 kills and 123 service aces in three years.