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Razorbacks add Olympian, two All-Americans

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Razorbacks add Olympian, two All-Americans

FAYETTEVILLE – Head coach Robert Pulliza and the University of Arkansas volleyball team announced three additions to the roster for the 2011 season. The Razorbacks added the talents of Roslandy Acosta, Kasey Heckelman and Marci King. All three student-athletes will be juniors entering the 2011 season. This marks the third recruiting class for Pulliza since becoming the Razorbacks’ head coach.

"Since we arrived in Fayetteville, our goal has been to make Arkansas one of the best programs in the country," Pulliza said. "With this recruiting class, we’re certainly one step closer. Each of these three athletes will bring different strengths that will complement the players that are here now. It is certainly a great time to be a Razorback."

Acosta, a native of Vargas, Venezuela, spent the first two seasons of her collegiate career at Cowley College where she was named the 2010 AVCA Two-Year National Player of the Year after an outstanding sophomore season. The 6-2 opposite has twice been named a First-Team All-American, recognized by both the AVCA and NJCAA, while leading the Tigers to second- and third-place national finishes. Acosta was also a two-time Jayhawk East Conference Most Valuable Player for Cowley College.

She brings a wealth of international experience to Fayetteville as a member of the Venezuelan National Team. In 2008, Acosta represented her home country at the Olympic Games in Beijing and had the distinction of being the youngest volleyball participant. She has also served as a leader for her team when she served as the captain for the Venezuelan Junior National Team.

King, a native of Prescott, Ariz., began her collegiate career for Eastern Arizona University. Following an impressive sophomore season, she was named to the NJCAA Division I All-American First Team, collected All-NJCAA Region I first-team honors and was selected as the ACCAC Player of the Year. King was also voted to the 2010 AVCA Two-Year College All-America Second Team.

The 6-1 middle blocker lead the ACCAC with her .405 hitting percentage and 1.22 blocks per set. She finished 22nd and 14th nationally in those categories, respectively. King also averaged 2.59 kills per set in 2010. As a freshman, she was an All-ACCAC honorable mention performer and was second in the league with a .357 hitting percentage.

Heckelman joined the team in January in time for the spring semester. The Bloomington, Ill., native played her prep volleyball at Bloomington High School and was named the No. 71 player in the country on the 2009 Senior Aces list by PrepVolleyball.com. She was a three-time selection to the all-area and all-conference teams. Playing for the Illini Elite Club, Heckelman was a member of the 2008 AAU national championship team and earned AAU All-America honors in the process.

During the 2010 season with the University of Louisville, Heckelman appeared in 18 matches with two starts as an outside hitter. She averaged 1.24 kills per set and 1.50 points per set as a sophomore attacker, and in a career-best effort, tallied 11 kills against CSU-Bakersfield. Her previous best came in a 10-kill performance as a freshman against Toledo.

This class adds to an impressive run of additions to Razorback volleyball under Pulliza. His first recruiting class included 2009 SEC Freshman of the Year and AVCA All-American Jasmine Norton and SEC All-Freshman performer Amanda Anderson. That class earned a top-45 ranking by PrepVolleyball.com. In 2010, Raymariely Santos became the third SEC All-Freshman selection for Pulliza.

Arkansas is in the middle of its spring competition schedule and will next head to Overland Park, Kan., for a tournament hosted by Kansas State. The rest of the Razorbacks’ spring season includes the Lone Star Classic tournament in Dallas, Texas, and road match at Missouri State.



Sports Category : Volleyball (W)