HUNTSVILLE – Coming off a 22-win season, head coach Brenda Gray has added another six names to the Sam Houston State roster for the upcoming 2019 season.

All six hail from Texas high schools, and include setter Morgan Janda (Katy Seven Lakes HS), outside hitter Catherine Krieger (Richmond Foster HS), outside hitter Samantha Rodgers (Midlothian HS), middle blocker/right sides De’Janae Gibson (Willis HS) and Katelyn Nwonumah (Mansfield Timberview HS) and defensive specialist Sawyer Nowak (A&M Consolidated HS).

 

“I think this is going to be one of the strongest recruiting classes we have ever put together,” Gray said. “We have lost four first team all-conference players over the last two seasons, and an all-conference setter, so this was an important class for us.”


Morgan Janda | S | 5-10 | Katy, Texas | Seven Lakes HS

  • - 2018 District 19-6A MVP
  • - Averaged 9.2 assists per set in 2018
  • - Also had 908 career digs and 275 kills in three years on varsity
  • - Led Seven Lakes HS to state tournament in 2017
  • - Also led SLHS to 2016 regional tournament and 2018 district title
  • - Named 2017 first team all-district
  • - Named 2017 GHCVA Setter of the Year
  • - Named 2017 TSWA and TAVC all-state
  • - 2017 TGCA all-star
  • - 2016 District 19-6A honorable mention
  • - Two-year team captain
  • - Played club ball for Texas Tornados 17-18 Mizuno
  • - 2017 Lone Star Qualifier champions
  • - 2018 AAV nationals silver bracket champions
  • - Also participated in beach volleyball and track and field
  • - Also class secretary and member of national honor society

 

Gray On Janda:

“I think she has an excellent opportunity to come in and run our floor as a true freshman. She runs a dynamite floor. Morgan has been coming to our camps since she was 10-11 years old, which is how we know her so well. She is a very energetic, dynamic player who totally loves the game. She is going to be a great addition to this program and to give us the chance to run a 5-1. The ball speed out of her hand is quick. She is very athletic and will make our game faster. She pretty much has the whole package. It was important for us to get another setter with Jaclyn (Ward) graduating, and we have been fortunate enough to have a number of setters come through here who have really done some damage, and I think Morgan can be one of those.”


Catherine Krieger | OH | 5-11 | Richmond, Texas | Foster HS

  • - Career Stats: 1,730 kills; 1,109 digs; 160 blocks; 160 aces
  • - Senior season stats: 526 kills; .323 attack %; 315 digs; 45 aces; 27 blocks
  • - Led prep team to three straight district championships
  • - Led FHS to regional semifinals of state playoffs as a senior
  • - 2018 District 24-5A MVP
  • - 2017 TAVC and TSWA all-state teams
  • - 2017 District 27-5A Hitter of the Year
  • - 2018 UnderArmour All-America senior watch list
  • - Ranked as No. 36 of top 100 athletes in Houston for 2018 by VYPE Magazine
  • - 2016 and 2017 all-area Greater Houston team
  • - Played club ball for Houston Skyline
  • - Qualified for nationals all four years
  • - Won Houston Skyline Award playing for 17s and 18s
  • - Second in club-wide kills and second in regionals during 17s year
  • - Academic all-district honoree all four years of high school
  • - Also member of track and field team

 

Gray on Krieger:

“Catherine hits a very heavy ball, and when she gets up in the air she has the ability to maneuver her body and her shot to her advantage. She was originally committed somewhere else before backing off, and that is definitely our gain. The pair of Catherine and Samantha (Rodgers) should compliment each other well on the outside.”

 
Samantha Rodgers | OH | 5-11 | Midlothian, Texas | Midlothian HS

  • - 2016 first team all-district
  • - 2017 second team all-district
  • - Co-captain in 2018
  • - Led MHS to area championship in 2016 and 2017
  • - Led MHS to bi-district championship in 2018
  • - Played club ball for TAV 15 Blue, 16 Blue, 17 Blue
  • - 2018 GJNC National Champions; all-tournament team
  • - Member of National Honors Society
  • - Also member of track and field team

 

Gray on Rodgers:

“We look at her as an outside who has a long reach and an explosive arm. She is long, lean, explosive and not afraid to hit the ball from anywhere on the court. She hits very sharp angles and it is going to be fun watching her develop. As a whole, this is a really good group that we are bringing in that we feel like is going to push the returners. I think we have a number of kids in this group who could make an immediate impact, and Samantha is definitely in that mix.”


De’Janae Gilmore | RS | 5-10 | Conroe, Texas | Willis HS

  • - Career stats: 1,187 kills; 856 digs; 307 blocks; 56 aces
  • - Named 2017 co-MVP of district
  • - Named to 2016 all-district team
  • - Led high school to bi-district title in 2018 and 2016
  • - Led high school to regional semifinals in 2017 and 2015
  • - Played club ball for Allegiance Volleyball from 2014 to 2017
  • - Played for Revolution in 2017 and 2018
  • - Also four-year member of varsity basketball team

 

Gray on Gilmore:

“I kept seeing some good things in the paper about her high school team, and finally got the opportunity to get out and watch her play and liked what I saw. She has the potential for a huge future in front of her. I actually taught her mother in school some 25 years or so ago and she told her daughter it would be awesome if she could somehow play for Sam Houston, and now this is happening. She has played six rotations for her high school. I’m not sure if she will do that here, but she’s pretty good. De’Janae is extremely quick-footed. Her first step is jet quick and she can take up a lot of space on a court, quickly. And to me, her wingspan is massive, so I see a very future for her.”

 

Katelyn Nwonumah | MB/RS | 5-9 | Mansfield, Texas | Timberview HS

  • - Named to 2018 all-district team
  • - Also member of track and field, and powerlifting teams at MHS

 

Gray on Nwonumah:

“We found Katelyn on the club circuit over the summer. We got really good reviews on her and we are very excited to have gotten her. She can elevate and still moves up-and-down more than laterally, but it is still pretty quick. We are going to see what we can do with her and that she could be a really good diamond in the rough.”

 

Sawyer Nowak | DS | 5-4 | College Station, Texas | A&M Consolidated HS

  • - Totaled 1,817 digs and 193 service aces in career, along with 1,629 serve receptions
  • - Led high school team to state playoffs in 2016, 2017 and 2018
  • - Named 2017 and 2018 district defensive MVP
  • - 2018 team captain
  • - 2017 TAVC all-state selection
  • - Three-time team defensive MVP
  • - 2017 TSWA honorable mention all-state
  • - Four-year varsity starter
  • - Bryan/College Station defensive MVP
  • - Four-time academic all-district choice
  • - Played club ball for TAV Houston
  • - 2018 team captain
  • - Named to all-tournament team at 2017 USAV national championships
  • - 17 USA Disney qualifier champions
  • - 2016 third place finish at USAV national championships
  • - Also member of national honor society and honor roll

 

Gray on Nowak:
“Carli Kolbe played ball for me a few years ago and now is one of several former players in the coaching world, and Sawyer was the libero on her club team. She was very high on her, knowing what we like out of that position and knew that she would fit what we wanted. We went over and watched her and liked her and we are excited to have her as part of the program.”