ARLINGTON, Texas -- In advance of his first season as UTA's volleyball coach, J.T. Wenger has added a pair of talents to the 2017 roster, it was announced on Friday afternoon.
"We are excited to be adding Tessa (Harfield) and Haley (Higgins) for this fall," Wenger said. "Tessa is a metroplex native who is a great addition in the middle hitter position. Haley is a great competitor at the setter position. Between the two, they both bring great experiences to this team, and, with Cameryn and Kailyn, our new additions will help advance our program immediately."
Harfield and Higgins join UTA's early signees, Kailyn Gilbreath and Cameryn Zahradnik, as new additions to the 2017 roster.
The Mavs are under the direction of first-year coach J.T. Wenger, a former star player at UCLA and assistant coaching veteran with the Bruins, Colorado and Michigan State. UTA welcomes back senior outside hitter Qiana Canete, a second-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection in 2016, and libero Taylor Murata, who set the UTA freshman record for digs last year. In addition, the Mavs return Madison Smith, Libbie Vickers, Madelyn St. Germain, Allie Deese, Zhannelle Geathers, Madison Helt, Kylie Jedlicka, Madison McConnell and Ashlynn Ford for 2017.
Tessa Harfield, MB, 6-1 (Haslet, Texas; Northwest HS) –Three-year letterwinner at Northwest High School for Coach Dayna Horak … Played with Tejas Volleyball Club … A first-team all-district selection 4-5A in 2013 … Named 2015 Blocker of the Year in Wise County … A three-time Academic All-District honoree … Earned all-tourney honors at the DISD Classic. Personal: Daughter of Art and Charlotte Harfield … Has a brother, Brad (28) … Born in North Richland Hills, Texas … Is interest in majoring in education with an ambition in educational diagnostics.
Haley Higgins, S/OH, 5-11 (Boerne, Texas; Samuel V. Champion HS/Henderson State) – Played in 2016 for coach Kristee Porter at Henderson State University … Had 546 assists 136 digs and 90 kills for Henderson State, helping lead the team to the conference championship for the first time in program history … Was tabbed Great American Conference Player of the Week once in 2016 … Selected as an honors college participant and to the academic honor roll … Four-year varsity letterwinner for coach Troy Errington at Samuel V. Champion HS … As a senior, had 302 kills, 549 assists and 41 service aces, adding 187 digs and 37 blocks … Had three triple doubles as a senior … Helped lead team to state regional finals in 2012 … Is active with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes … A four-time all-district honoree … Played club volleyball for SA Force … A four-time academic all-district selection … Named academic all-state as a senior … Named athlete of the week twice … Also played varsity soccer as a freshman. Personal: Daughter of Mark and Lexie Higgins … Has two brothers, Hunter (27) and Bryan (32), and three sisters, Hayden (24), Halayna (18) and Brooke (36) … Sister Hayden played collegiate volleyball at UT Dallas … Born in San Antonio, Texas … Interested in majoring in international business and Spanish with a minor in marketing … Has a career ambition to work in public relations for an international company.
UTA EARLY SIGNEES
Kailyn Gilbreath, S/H, 5-9 (Fort Worth, Texas; Boswell High School) – A four-year starter at Boswell High School … A three-time first-team all-district honoree … Three-time academic all-district … On the AVCA Under Armor Phenom and All-America watch list … Named to the 2016 National All-Tournament team at the Girls Junior National Championships … Earned all-tourney honors at the 2016 San Marcos Raging Rattlers Tournament … As a junior in 2015, was named district offensive player of the year … Earned all-tournament honors in the Anna Kang Hawaiian Invitational and the 2015 San Marcos Ragin Rattlers … On the DFW 6A leaderboard top-10 in kills, aces and digs … Was tabbed Super second-team by the Star-Telegram … Member of the National Honor Society as a junior and senior, ranking among the top 10 percent in 2016 …In 2014, was named district MVP and super second-team Star Telegram … Earned all-tournament team honors in the Ragging Rattlers San Marcos and EMS-ISD Tournaments … As a freshman, helped club team (Tejas VBC) to the 2013 National Championship (USA division) … Named to the all-tournament team at the Ragging Rattlers San Marcos and Granbury Classic Tournament … Was named 2013 Newcomer of the Year … Coached by Kevin Anderson at Boswell HS … Personal: Daughter of Shane Gilbreath and Debbie Sperling.
Cameryn Zahradnik, OH, 6-0 (Keller, Texas; Keller High School) – Four-year starter at Keller High School … Daughter of former UT Arlington standout Jessica Bowlin Zahradnik, a one-time UTA record holder in digs … Tabbed to the 2016 Plano Invitational All-Tournament Team … First-team all-district 5-6A in 2015 … Named first-team all-district in 2014 and to the PrepVolleyball SOPH 79 … A three-time first-team all-district honoree … Named to the 2016 Texas Association of Volleyball Coaches Preseason All-Texas Team … In 2015, was tabbed to the DFW SuperTeam and a Prep Volleyball Top-50 recruit … Named 2013 Newcomer of the Year in District 5-5A … Played club volleyball with TAV, Dallas Premier and Tejas … Competed at junior nationals open volleyball championships from 2012-16 … Won a Gold Medal in 2013 14-U Championships … Earned a Gold Medal in the 2015 16-U Championships … A member of the AVID Program at Keller HS … Coached by Jamie Siegel … Personal: Daughter of Tyson and Jessica Zahradnik … Mother Jessica played at UTA from 1995-98 … Is an active member of the Milestone Church.