FAYETTEVILLE – Following their senior season with the University of Arkansas volleyball team, setters Raymariely Santos and Ashley Vazquez have signed professional contracts to extend their respective careers in the Puerto Rico Superior League. Santos will play for her hometown team Leonas de Ponce while Vazquez will play for Criollas de Caguas.
Over the past two years, the Razorbacks have sent seven players into the professional ranks with the program’s most recent signings. Five of the seven-Santos, Vazquez, Roslandy Acosta, Jasmine Norton, Janeliss Torres-Lopez-went on to play in the Puerto Rico league. Amanda Anderson (Denmark) and Kasey Heckelman (Finland), seniors during the 2012 season, began their professional careers in Europe.
Santos capped her collegiate career by earning AVCA All-America Honorable Mention accolades. She is Arkansas’ first All-American setter since the 2006 season when Roberta Tarnauskaite was recognized. The Ponce, Puerto Rico, native finished her Razorback career ranked second in assists (3,661), 12th in digs (933) and 18th in service aces (62). Santos became just the fourth player in program history to record a triple-double with her performance of 13 kills, 26 assists and 11 digs in a four-set win at Tulsa.
Vazquez finished tied for second on the team with 26 service aces including a career-high seven aces against New Mexico. That number is tied for the third-most aces by a Razorback in one match. She also tallied her first double-double with 23 assists and a career-best 14 digs at LSU. The Gurabo, Puerto Rico, native and Santos combined to set Arkansas to a .434 hitting percentage against Ole Miss in the fourth-best offensive performance in program history.
In a continuation of her role last summer with Team USA/BIP, Emily Helm traveled with the team to Rome for a second-place finish in the Coppa Citta di Roma. Helm and Team USA/BIP continued their European Exposure Tour the following week in Italy.
One year after beginning their professional careers in Puerto Rico, Acosta and Norton have both signed with teams in Europe to extend their playing days. Acosta is a new member of the LP Kangasala club in Finland and helped the team to a gold-medal showing in the Finnish Cup. Norton will play in Sweden as a member of SVK Sollentuna.
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RAZORBACKS IN THE PROSRoslandy Acosta – LP Kangasala (Finland)Amanda Anderson – Brondby (Denmark)Kasey Heckelman – Pislaploki (Finland)Jasmine Norton – SVK Sollentuna (Sweden)Raymariely Santos – Leonas de Ponce (Puerto Rico)Janeliss Torres-Lopez – Leonas de Ponce (Puerto Rico)Ashley Vazquez – Criollas de Caguas (Puerto Rico)