Nanooks signs 7 for volleyball program |


University of Alaska Fairbanks volleyball coach Brian Scott is bringing in three transfers and four freshmen for the 2022 season.

“It was a very difficult class to fill.” said Scott. “COVID has created unique complications, with some athletes wanting to use the extra year of eligibility they have earned and others wanting to complete their education and move on. As a result, we had many places to fill.

The three UAF transfers are Jessa Long, Johnasia Michelle Carr and Kristina Head.

Jessa Long, a 5-4 libero from Dixon, Illinois, comes to UAF with her bachelor’s degree from Marshall University and her master’s degree from Florida A&M in her pocket.

On the court, she was the 2021 Southwestern Athletic Conference Libero of the Year, SWAC Defensive Player of the Year and ranked seventh in NCAA Division I in set digs and led FAMU to its first NCAA appearance since 2009.

“Jessa Long is a proven libero,” Scott said. “She has played for two very good DI programs and brings a wealth of knowledge and skills. She will be exciting to watch.

After two years at Seattle University and one at Southwest Florida State, 5-11 middle tackle Carr will also bring his college experience to UAF. The New York Yokers native has played 41 games.

Head, a 6-foot middle tackle from Lyons, Kansas, spent two seasons at Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College and graduated valedictorian.

Scott’s four freshmen are Ella Bines, Elena Guc, Cynphany Henderson, and Kelli Wright.

Bines is a 6-foot-3 right side forward from Bishop Moore Catholic High School in Orlando, Florida.

Bines tallied 77 kills, 1.4 K/S and a .179 hit percentage in his senior year while tallying a total of 18 blocks, including two solo blocks in 57 sets played.

“She will cause problems with her offense and her ability to block,” Scott said. “She is also left-handed, which creates tough challenges for opponents.

The six-foot right forward Guc hails from eastern China, Michigan. The 2019-2021 Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association All-Academic Selection was a first-team All-State selection as a senior while being named the 2021 MVP and earning two Tournament MVPs.

Henderson is a 5-9 passer from Otsego, Minnesota who attended St. Michael-Albertville High School.

Twice selected to all conferences in 2020 and 2021 and rookie of the year in her freshman season, her sister Mikala currently attends and plays volleyball at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“She grew up in the gymnasium and is very good at all volleyball skills,” Scott said. “She is a great competitor and is going to have a huge impact.”

Finally, Wright is a 6-0 outside hitter for Herriman, Utah and Mountain Ridge High School.

“I think we’ve recruited perhaps the deepest and most talented class of athletes over the past few years. I’m very excited about what Nanook volleyball will look like for the foreseeable future.

The Nanooks will open their season in the Hawaii-Alaska Challenge on August 17-18 in Honolulu with games against the University of Hawaii-Hilo, University of Hawaii Pacific and two games against Chaminade.


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