GREENSBORO, April 24, 2013 – The North Carolina A&T volleyball youth movement is complete. Head coach Hal Clifton announced signing of three players on Thursday.
Jade Boone (6-0, middle blocker, Concord, N.C., Jay M. Robinson) Liz Martino (5-7, setter, Elmhurst, Ill., Immaculate Conception) and Jillian Nobles (5-11, middle blocker, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach Polytechnic School) will be a part of the volleyball program in 2013.
In year three of his stint at A&T, Clifton is expected to have roster that includes six sophomores and three freshmen.
“This class, like last year’s class, will be very instrumental in rebuilding this program,” Clifton said. “These three young ladies will help us build upon the foundation that we put in place last year. Each of these young ladies brings different attributes to
the table and will make an immediate impact in our program both on the court and in the classroom.”
Boone will help to replace the losses A&T had at the middle blocker position this spring with the graduation of Andrea Evans and the return of Aprill McRae to women’s basketball. Clifton added that she could see some playing time on the right side. Last season, she was All-Southern Piedmont at Robinson High School. She also competed for John Brannon and the Carolina Union Volleyball Club.
“Jade is an excellent volleyball player and has continued to improve her game thanks to the training she is getting at Carolina Union Volleyball Club,” Clifton said. “She is getting stronger with her attacking and is a very solid blocker. She can hit all the play sets and does a nice job in transition. She has increased her lateral speed and is able to close from pin to pin.”
Martino will be filling a much needed role this season. The Aggies have been looking for a true setter for the past few seasons. Rising senior Chelsea Fox transitioned into the role as a sophomore in 2011, and competed there in 2012. While she has been successful in that position, Clifton is looking to move her back into either an outside or right side hitter position.
Martino leaves Immaculate Conception High fifth all-time in career assists, and is seventh on the all-time serve percentage. She was also an All-Suburban Christian Conference selection as a junior. Martino was also part of a highly successful club team, the Sports Performance Volleyball team. Clifton noted that Sports Performance is nationally known for producing setters and Division I players. In 2011, the team earned first place at the Sports Performance Volleyball President’s Day Challenge and first at the Alliance Spring Extravaganza. The team also placed third at the National Junior Classic and AAU National Championships. She also helped them to back-to-back ninth place finishes at the AAU National Championships in 2009 and 2010.on.
“She sets a very consistent ball and can run any play set,” said Clifton. “Her volleyball IQ will make our offense much more effective. She knows how to line her hitters up, and she knows how and when to distribute the ball. She will raise the level of play in our gym immediately.”
Like Boone, Nobles will fill a much needed position at middle blocker. At Long Beach Polytechnic School, Nobles earned Del Rey League first-team All-League honors and was named Moore League second-team All-League in 2011. She also earned the team’s 2010 Most Improved Award, and had strong seasons with the Mizuno Long Beach 18-and-under Rockstar club team. Her team competed in the Junior Olympics Silver Division in 2012, and won a silver medal in the 2010 Junior Olympics. Nobles’ athleticism extends also to the golf course, basketball court and softball fields. Clifton credited her club coach for preparing her for the rigors of Division I play.
“Jill is a very strong middle blocker that will bring height, power and maturity to our middle blocker position,” he said. “She has a very nice, fluid arm swing and knows how to find the open spots in the court. She is an aggressive blocker and moves very well along the net. She has excellent footwork and a fiery competitiveness.”
The Aggies open the season on August 30 in a tournament in Radford, Va., against host Radford University at 6:30 p.m.