CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina women’s volleyball head coach Karen Glover announced the addition of six newcomers for the 2018 incoming class. Sydney Carlson (Mountain Brook, Ala./Mountain Brook), Jada Gardner (Coral Springs, Fla./Saint Thomas Aquinas), Merry Gebel (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette), Alexys Mann (Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg), Haley Multerer (Mequon, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels) and Noelle Soldo (Charlotte, N.C./Marvin Ridge) have all committed to continue their careers with the Catamount volleyball program.
“I am excited to add this newest group of student-athletes to our Catamount family,” said Glover. “Each of these ladies is extremely talented and will provide us with a lot of depth and versatility.”
Sydney Carlson, a 5-9 setter, prepped at Mountain Brook High School. Carlson helped lead MBHS to back-to-back state championships in 2015 and 2016. It capped off a streak of three-straight for the high school which were the first three state titles in program history.
She also competes for Southern Performance Volleyball Club. She helped lead her team to the 2017 Club National Championship at AAU Nationals. The team also placed first at the K2 Classic and was third at the JVA World Challenge this past season. Carlson was named MVP at the 2017 AAU Nationals. In 2015, she was named an AAU Academic All-American. She is a three-time AVCA Phenom pick and won the NCVA Pacific Coast Beach Qualifier in 2017. She also helped her team place second at the SPVB National Junior Championships while earning a spot on the All-Tournament team.
Carlson also excels in the classroom where she is a member of the National Beta Club, the National Spanish Honor Society, the National Honor Society, the National Society of High School Scholars and Mu Alpha Theta.
Jada Gardner, a 5-10 middle, spent her prep career at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She helped lead the team to three-straight state championships her freshman, sophomore and junior campaigns before finishing in the state semifinals as a senior. Overall through her four seasons at Saint Thomas Aquinas, the team compiled a 112-15 record. She was named All-County as a sophomore and a junior and was a Player to Watch as a freshman.
On the club circuit, Gardner competed for Boomers Volleyball Academy for five seasons and competed at USA Nationals three times. Her team won the Capital City Classic, Tri-County and Cloverleaf tournaments. Her team received a USA Volleyball A2 invitation on 2016 and her squad ranked third in the state of Florida out of 110 teams in 2017. They finish 10th at the JVA World Championship as well. This season she joined Tribe Volleyball Club and will compete with the 18 Elite.
Gardner comes from a strong family of athletes. Her father Lawrence ran professionally for Nike while her sister Tanekka was Claflin University’s first female All-American in track & field.
Merry Gebel, a 5-10 outside hitter, competed at Lafayette High School in Wildwood, Mo. She was a two-time team captain while leading her team to three-straight state championships as a freshman, sophomore and junior. She is a two-time All-Conference, All-District, All-Region and All-State selection. She was named the conference Player of the Year as a senior and was an AVCA honorable mention All-American. She was voted team MVP as a junior and a senior and broke the program’s career serving percentage mark at 98 percent. She was a six rotation player for LHS her final three seasons and was voted best all-around on the team as a freshman.
Alexys Mann, a 6-0 outside hitter, competed at Reynoldsburg High School in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. She was a two-time first team All-Ohio Capital Conference selection as a junior and senior. She earned a scholar-athlete award as a senior and was honorable mention all-conference as a sophomore. She led the team in blocks as a sophomore while leading the team in service aces and kills as a freshman. During her club career she was named to the 2016 JVA Watch List.
Mann also excels in the classroom where she is a member of the Junior National Honors Society and was named to the ESTEM Student Board.
Haley Multerer, a 6-1 middle blocker, competed at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School in Milwaukee, Wis. She led her team to three top-five finishes in the state including a state championship as a sophomore. Over her three seasons on the varsity squad, the team compiled an impressive 115-32 record. As a junior, she was named honorable mention All-Conference before collecting numerous honors as a senior. She was named third team All-State as a senior while also earning state tournament All-Tournament team honors. She was also a second team All-Conference selection and was named to the Mizuno Charger All-Tournament team.
During her club career, her team finished fifth at the 2014 and 2015 AAU Nationals Open Division while taking seventh in 2017.
She has earned first or second honors all four years of her high school career in the classroom. She was a member of the All-Academic team and was vice president of the Hometown Heroes Club.
Noelle Soldo, a 5-8 libero, competed at Marvin Ridge High School in Waxhaw, N.C. Her team advanced to the North Carolina final four twice including her senior season. She was selected to the all-conference team her sophomore and junior seasons including being named conference MVP as a sophomore. She is a two-time member of the Union County, N.C. Super Team and was named the Union County, N.C. Super Team Player of the Year as a sophomore. She was named to Prep Volleyball’s Soph ’79 as well. Over her four years on the squad, MRHS compiled a 102-12 record with four-straight Southern Carolina Conference Championships. She finished with 1,197 career digs at MRHS to rank second in the programs record book. On the club level, she competes for Carolina Juniors Volleyball where she was named team captain.
All six student-athletes will join the Catamounts as freshmen on the 2018 squad while Mann will be enrolling early and participating in spring practice and classes.