LAKE CHARLES — McNeese freshman volleyball head coach Sasha Karelov announced her first recruiting class and one that consists of six transfers and two freshmen.
“I’m thrilled to add this group of transfers and freshmen to our schedule this fall,” said head coach Sasha Karelov. “Not only are they talented and successful, but they are also amazing people off the court. They will play a huge role in changing the culture in this new era of McNeese volleyball.
Newcomers include Carlee Brooks (Raleigh, NC/Western Carolina), Nejra Hanic (Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina/Little Rock), Sanni Rantanen (Tampere, Finland/Kuortane HS), Dejah Dade (Corona, CA./UC-Riverside ), Raina McWhirter (Montgomery, TX/Palm Beach Atlantic), Nadia Manitzas (San Antonio, TX/St. Mary’s), Mia Perales (San Antonio, TX/UTSA), and Meagan Mayfield (Baytown, TX/Barbers Hill HS).
CARLEE BROOKS – 6-1, SOPH., MIDDLE BLOCKER – RALEIGH, NC (WEST CAROLINA)
In his first season playing with the Catamounts in 2021, Brooks played in five games and had seven kills and seven blocks…attended Wake Forest High for his final two prep seasons…started his high school career as a standout at Knightdale High School where she set the program record in blocking with 83 total blocks…three-time all-conference player…also played basketball and softball…comes from a very athletic family while her parents played football, basketball, softball and volleyball…played club volleyball for Triangle Volleyball Club.
“Carlee is a fast ground attack and active blocker. She played for the same club I played for and I know she loves to compete.
NEJRA HANIC – 6-0, JR., OUTSIDE HITTER – SARAJEVO, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA (LITTLE ROCK)
Hanic played two seasons at Arkansas-Little Rock where she played 45 games… she hit .153 with the Trojan with 1.93 eliminations and 2.16 points per set… In two of her two seasons at Little Rock, she had 255 kills, 44 digs, 49 blocks (four solo), and 284.5 points…had a career-high 19 kills and 20.5 points against Troy (1/10/2021)…had a career-high in five-block career vs. ULM (10/29/2021)…Graduated in top 15 percent of his high school class…Played club at OK Novi Grad…Leaded his club team to first place in Tournament Makarska International where she won the individual award as well as first place at the Sarajevo International Tournament where she was named Most Valuable Player…guided her club team to a third place finish in the National Youth Tournament.
“Nejra has a quick arm and can score from the left side and the right side. I’m excited to help develop his full game.
SANNI RANTANEN – 6-3, FR., MIDDLE BLOCKER – TAMPERE, FINLAND (KUORTANE SPORTS HIGH SCHOOL)
Member of the U16, U17, U18 and U19 Championship teams…Played for the Champions League Mestaruusliiga her senior season (2020) where she was named Most Valuable Player…Member of the Championship gold medal winning team Northern Europe U19 Nevza…Member of U18 Championship Gold Medal Team of Finland…Northern European Championship U17 Gold Medal Team Nevza…Member of Championship U17 team that qualified for the Finnish national team…Member of the Northern European Championship U17 Bronze Medal Team Nevza…Member of the All-Star U17 Team…Member of the Finnish Championship Silver Medal U16 Team… Member of the North Nevza U16 Championship Gold Medal Team.
“Sanni brings a ton of international experience to our gym. She has a calm and mature demeanor as well as excellent court vision and fluid arm movement.
DEJAH DADE – 5-10, FR., SETTER, CORONA, CA. (UC-RIVERSIDE)
Played three seasons at UC-Riverside where she appeared in 62 games and provided 711 assists, including more than 300 in each of the last two seasons… Provided a career-high 39 assists against Cal-Baptist in his second season where she averaged 6.18 assists per set. … Was second on the team in assists the past two seasons … Graduated from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in 2018.
“Dejah has four years of experience setting and hitting in the Big West. She is a gifted athlete and an excellent communicator. It will definitely improve our gym.
RAINA McWHIRTER – 5-9, SOPH., SETTER, MONTGOMERY, TEXAS (PALM BEACH ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY)
Attended Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2021 where she saw action in two games…Recorded an assist in each win over Florida Tech (October 9) and West Georgia (October 22)…Graduated from Montgomery, Texas High…member of the National Honor Society…won all-district and all-state academic honors…named team MVP his senior season…won all-district most valuable passer his senior year after being second-team all-district as a junior…named to the 5A All-State team in 2020…won the 2018 Homeschool National Championship.
“Raina is a dynamic setter with the drive to be the best at everything she does. She is a natural leader and makes everyone around her better.
NADIA MANITZAS – 5-4, JR., LIBERO, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (ST. MARY’S UNIVERSITY)
Attended St. Mary’s in San Antonio, Texas for two seasons where she finished third on the team with 23 service aces and fourth with 192 digs for an average of 2.18 per set her second season… tied for the lead team with 12 service aces and averaging 1.97 digs per set as a freshman…twice named to the Lone Star Spring Commissioner’s Honor Roll…was a three-time all-district selection at Reagan High (San Antonio)…helped lead the Rattlers to back-to-back co-district championships…graduated Cum Laude.
“Nadia’s platform is calm and she moves easily through the field. Her bubbly personality and ability to connect with others will be great for our culture.
MIA PERALES – 5-6, GR., PASSENGER, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (UTSA)
Attended UTSA for four years…as a senior with the Roadrunners she went 70 sets…third on the team with 179 digs for an average of 2.56 per set, 18 assists and 14 service aces… recorded 10 or more digs in eight games, including 10 or more in his last four games of the season … recorded a season-high 23 digs against La. Tech and a season-high three service aces against the North from Texas…attended Antonian College Prep High School…a three-time all-district draft…led team to the second round of the playoffs as a sophomore and the last four as a junior…had 376 digs and 766 assists as a junior…appointed to the academic honor roll and all academic states.
“Mia has four years of experience in the frame and defense of Conference-USA. She plays one of the best right-back defenses I’ve seen and has a high volleyball IQ.
MEAGAN MAYFIELD – 5-10, FR., MIDDLE/OPPOSITE BLOCKER, BAYTOWN, TEXAS (BARBERS HILL HS)
Attended Barbers Hill High where she was a four-year winner…a member of three District Championship teams…twice All-District…twice All-Academic…as a senior she was the 2021 Baytown Sun Area MVP , 2021 AVCA All-America watchlist, 2021 GHVCA Post-Season Academic Team, 2021 GHCVA Post-Season Team, 2021 THSCA Academic All-State, 2021 District MVP, was one of the Houston area’s top middle tackles in 2021… selected for the SETCA All-Star Game…was also a member of the track team where she holds the school high jump record with a jump of 5’7″…three-time district champion…zone qualifier , regional and state.
“Meagan jumps well and has the potential to play in different positions for us. His attention to detail and coaching ability are unmatched.
2022 McNeese Volleyball Newcomers
Carlee Brooks – 6-1, Soph., middle tackle, Raleigh, NC (West Carolina)
Nejra Hanic – 6-0, Jr., Outside Hitter, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina (Little Rock)
Sanni Rantanen – 6-3, Fr., Central Blocker, Tampere, Finland (Kuortane HS)
Dejah Dade – 5-10, Sr., Setter, Corona, Calif. (UC-Riverside)
Raina McWhirter – 5-9, Soph., Setter, Montgomery, TX (Palm Beach Atlantic University)
Nadia Manitzas – 5-4, Jr., Libero, San Antonio, Texas (St. Mary’s University)
Mia Perales – 5-6, Gr., Setter, San Antonio, Texas (UTSA)
Meagan Mayfield – 5-10, Fr., Center Blocker/Opposite, Baytown, TX (Barbers Hill HS)