BRUNSWICK, Ga. – The College of Coastal Georgia Mariners Volleyball Team second year under Head Coach Israel Delgado looks strong.
Last season, the Mariners’ record was 12-6 and 8-5 in the Sun Conference. The team finished third in conference regular-season play. Now, with quite a few new faces, the Mariners are looking to improve upon their 2020 campaign.
The Mariners 2021 recruiting class is large, in fact, 15 of the 19 team members are new to the Blue and Gray. The Mariners have nine freshmen, four sophomores, five juniors and one senior.
Outside hitter, Giovana Larregui Lopez returns for her junior season, her second with the Mariners. Last season, Larregui Lopez earned several significant individual honors. She was named team MVP, nominee for student-athlete of the year, first team All-Sun Conference, and AVCA All-Region. She also earned Sun Conference defender of the week once and was a three-time Sun Conference Attacker of the week. She ranked fifth in the nation in kills per set. Larregui Lopez set the Coastal Georgia kills per set record with 4.63 kills per set in an individual season. In addition, she set the Coastal Georgia record for most kills in a three-set match, with 20.
“I am happy to have Giovana for her second year as a Mariner and her third year as one of my players. I am thrilled to have a strong outside hitter. She has only grown with the experience from last year. Mariners fans can expect to see her improving and performing better throughout the season,” said Head Coach Israel Delgado.
Coach Delgado also expects a lot from fifth-year senior Alison Muldrow who elected to return to use her Covid-19 eligibility year. Muldrow was named second team All-Sun Conference last season. She currently ranks fifth in Coastal Georgia career history with 0.57 blocks per set. Muldrow will serve as a captain for the second year in a row.
“Ali is my super senior,” commented Delgado, “She has become a great leader of this team and accepted the challenge of being the captain of the team last year. She has done a great job leading them, holding them accountable and making them work hard on and off the court.”
Also returning are setter Fabiola Colon and utility player Andrea Soto Sierra, both of whom are sophomores. Colon is a setter who played in 17 matches. She served as a captain and currently ranks eighth in school history with 164 career assists. Soto Sierra competed in five matches before an injury ended her season. She played as a setter and pin hitter last season, this season Mariners fans can expect to see her contribute in the libero or defensive specialist role.
Newcomers on the Court
Seliann Concepcion Rodriguez is a phenomenal addition to the Mariners’ team. She transferred in the spring semester after playing two seasons for Coffeyville Community College. The junior earned Freshman of the Year and All-American honors at the NJCAA school. No stranger to success, Concepcion Rodriguez won the 2018 NJCAA National Tournament.
“We have been waiting for her for a whole year,” said Delgado, “We are more than happy to have her in the group. She will complete our squad. Coastal Georgia will have the best one-two combination on the outside this year. Her game is clean and she is super smart. Her performance will be immediately visible on the court.”
Meghan Oliver, a middle blocker transfer from South Florida Community College is also expected to make an impact on the floor immediately. The junior was a DII FCSSA All-State first team selection, All-Sun Lakes first team conference selection and was named Player of the Year.
“Meghan is a strong middle and we are ecstatic to have her this season. Her blocking will help us to score more points than last year in the front-row defense. She is strong, athletic and very committed to the team. You will see her develop a lot at Coastal Georgia,” said Delgado.
Skylar Gribben is another transfer that the Coastal Georgia Volleyball program sees making an immediate impact. Gribben came from Indian River Community College. Despite being an outside hitter and defensive specialist there, she has stepped into a new role as a libero for the Mariners.
“We see Skylar playing our libero position this year,” said Delgado, “She will bring solid experience and leadership to our team. She adjusted to the Mariners system super quick and she will be a big help in our defense.”
Aside from returner Colon. The Mariners have brought in three new setters: Rebecca Brown, Kyla Mullen and Lindsey Milligan.
Brown is also no stranger to success. A transfer from Owens Community College, the junior racked up a lot of accolades. They include OCCAC first team All-Conference, All-Freshman Team, DIII NJCAA All-Tournament team, Tachikara NJAA Offensive Player of the Week, Volleyball Magazine All-American, and a DIII OCCAC Player of the Week. Brown, like Concepcion Rodriguez is also an NJCAA National Champion. Brown holds the DII NJCAA national assist record.
Mullen, a 5’7″ freshman has proven that she can run the offense effectively despite being a with the team for only a few weeks. In 2019, her high school won the Florida High School State Championships and her club team qualified for the USAV National Tournament for five seasons.
Milligan, also a freshman adds height to the Mariners’ setters with her 6’1″ stature. Milligan is a Kell High School graduate. She lettered in volleyball all four years.
In addition to the hard-hitting Larregui Lopez and Concepcion Rodriguez, the Mariners have added transfer junior Samantha Johnston, and freshmen Carleigh Carter and Madison Logsdon.
Johnston is a native of St. George, Utah. She attended Salt Lake Community College for two seasons. In High School she was named Volleyball Region MVP and was the runner-up in the state tournament. In addition to her volleyball skills, Johnston has demonstrated leadership as well. She was elected as the 2021 Junior Captain for the Mariners squad.
Carter, an athletic freshman with a lot of power provides depth on the outside. The Scotland County, North Carolina High School native was a four-time letter winner. She was named Conference Player of the Year and a two-time All-Conference selection in high school.
Mariners’ fans can expect to see freshman Logsdon in both outside hitter and defensive specialist roles this season. She attended Deland High School where she was named team MVP, first team All-Conference and a three-time All-Area selection. As an outside hitter, Logsdon is known for her varied shots from the outside.
Eleni Gkiourda like Concepcion Rodriguez transferred in at the spring semester. The sophomore 6-1 rightside is a Moschato, Greece native. She transferred after playing one season at Simpson University in California. While in Greece she placed for OFA Apollonios she played for the U16 and U17 the Greek National Team.
Becca Skirvin is the team’s sole southpaw on the 19-player Mariners roster. She attended Lakeridge High School in Otis, Oregon. She lettered in volleyball all four years and led her team in digs per set and kills per set her junior year.
Thamely Santos is also providing depth to the Mariners’ rightside position. The Tohopoekaliga High School native was a first team All-Conference selection as well as a four-time letter winner. She played volleyball for Top Select and was a Dual Enrollment Student. Santos provides hard-hitting power to the Mariner’s rightside slot.
In addition to Muldrow and Oliver, Coach Delgado added two freshman middle blockers, Anabella Jaramillo and Sydney Martin.
Jaramillo is the tallest addition to the Mariners team. Standing 6-2 she brings blocking prowess to the College of Coastal Georgia front line. The freshman graduated from Doral Academy Prep in Miami, Florida where she was 2017 Rookie of the Year and the recipient of the Hear of Gold award in 2020. Mariners fans can expect to see Jaramillo taking swings from both the middle and the right-side this season.
Martin, a 6-1 freshman from Sanford, Florida also adds height to the Mariners. She was a second-team All-Conference selection and won the open division of the Club National Championship in her U17 season.
Sheisa Lee Villegas is another addition to the Mariner’s defense this season. She will battle alongside Gribben, Soto Sierra and Logsdon. The San Juan Puerto Rico native attended Sickles High School where she was a FACA All-State selection as well as a Prime Times Prep’s All-Hillsborough County selection.
“This year I want to encourage all the students, faculty and staff to come out our games,” said Coach Delgado, “We have a strong team that will do special things during the 2021 season if we have the support from out fans. The Brunswick community engagement and support for our team will only help our team successes in achieving our goals,”
The Mariner’s first match of the season is tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. in the Howard Coffin Gym. The Mariners will face Tennessee Wesleyan in their home Mariners Invitational.