UM Volleyball Signs Four

Dec. 9, 2002

CORAL GABLES, Fla. ( – – The University of Miami women’s volleyball team recently announced the signing of four new athletes who will be on the roster for next season.

“This is an excellent recruiting class,” coach Nicole Lantagne Welch said. “We are satisfied with finding four exceptional athletes. With their addition, we will have the most depth in our program since I’ve been here.”

Ciara Michel

Middle blocker


Miami, Florida/Palmer Trinity High School

One of three Florida athletes in this recruiting class, Palmer Trinity School product Ciara Michel (6-4) will boost the Hurricanes’ presence along the net.

Michel’s scholastic honors include selection for the SFISAA All Conference Team (2001/02), the Westminster Christian School All Tournament Team (2001), Palmer Trinity School’s Most Valuable Player (2001), and Crusader Invitational All Tournament Player (2002).

In non-scholastic competition, Michel’s team the South Florida Volleyball Club was the 2000 AAU Champions, the Peachtree Classic Champions (2000), and the Early Bird Extravaganza Runner Up (2001).

She was also a member of the Boomers Volleyball Club which were the OVA Invitational Champions, the Florida Regional Runners Up, the Power League Champions, and the Florida Fest Champions.

“Ciara brings needed size to our program. She is easily our tallest player and yet has amazing quickness and foot speed for her size.Ciara is already a strong blocker and continues to become a great force offensively as well.”

Michel’s academic honors include being a National Commended Scholar, selection as a member of the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, and the Quantitative Physical Science Medallion. She has been on the honor roll at Palmer Trinity since seventh grade.

Michel has also been involved in a considerable amount of community service work including the Humane Society (2002-03), participation in the Key Club, participation as a Good Shepherd Christmas Party Volunteer, a Spudbuster Florida Environmental volunteer, an assistant coach at volleyball summer camp, and a Metro Zoo volunteer. She was also a member of Students Working Against Tobacco, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Outward Bound (Everglades retreat), and was a Peer Counselor.

Jill Robinson



Merced, Calif./Golden Valley High School

In their first season of conference play, the Hurricanes have already established a tradition of excellent setters with the selection of Mallorey James (Tucson, Ariz.) as the BIG EAST Setter of the Year.

Coach Nicole Lantagne Welch was herself an All-Atlantic Coast Conference setter during her playing days at Maryland and has a proven record of developing quality setter play throughout her career.

Now the Hurricanes have added another considerable talent to the fold in Jill Robinson.Robinson has claimed a number of athletic accolades during her career including 2002 Central California Conference MVP honors; selection as a 2001 All-American at Junior Nationals; selection as the 2001 Merced Sun Star All Area Player of the Year, 2001 Modesto Bee Player of the Year, 2001 Central California Conference MVP; 2001 MVP of the Lady Cougar Classic, 2000 Second Team All District, 2000 Second Team All Conference, and Who’s Who in Sports.

Her academic credentials include National Honor Society membership, California Scholarship Federation membership, Academic All-Conference honors (four years, 3.5 GPA or higher during varsity sports), and Who’s Who In High School Students.

“Jill is not only a gifted setter, but is a terrific athlete. She has the potential to become an excellent division 1 setter,” Lantagne Welch said. “Jill plays with a big heart which always brings out the best in the players that are around her.”

Jennifer Vance

Outside hitter


Tampa, Florida/Sickles High School

One of two outside hitters to be recruited from Florida, Vance is a quality athlete with considerable experience in high-level competition.

“Jennifer has been playing volleyball at a high level for several years,” Lantagne Welch said. “She’s a very experienced volleyball player and a great competitor. She has the athleticism and the desire to become an exceptional college outside hitter.”

She lettered for her varsity squad at Sickles High School all four years and during her sophomore and junior years played on the first-ever elite Team Florida squad. During her senior year, she was selected as the team MVP her and was among the scholastic players representing Florida at a high level tournament in Hawaii. She was an All-State Honorable Mention selection in Class 4A and was selected to the Western Conference, First Team as well as the American Division First Team.

As a senior she was selected to another Team Florida squad and was selected for Western Conference First Team honors.

Sara Duncan

Outside hitter


Naples, Florida/Barron Collier High School

Sarah Duncan will look for a spot among the Hurricanes’ arsenal of exceptional outside hitters.

“Sara is a physical hitter with a quickly developing all-around game,” Lantagne Welch said. “We are looking forward to seeing her fight for a starting position in her freshman season.”

A multi-sport athlete at Barron Collier High School in Naples, Fla., the 6-foot Duncan fits the mold of several Hurricanes with her athletic style of play.

She was a three-year letter winner in volleyball and a two-year letter winner in softball. In 2000 and 2001, Duncan helped lead her team to back-to-back Florida 4A District 12 Championships as well as an appearance in the Regional Final 8 in 2000. She set a school record for aces (38) her sophomore year and then broke that record her junior year when snapped off 42. She led her team in digs her junior year, but was also a force on offense and was named Best Offensive Player. She was named Collier County All-County Team and the Fort Myers News-Press All-Area team. During her senior year, she topped a personal high with 24 kills in one match.

Her club team USA South Volleyball Club placed first in the Disney Classic, second at the Tampa Bay Junior National Qualifier, and fifth at the Mideast Qualifier in Indianapolis, Ind. It also competed at the Junior Olympic Nationals in Salt Lake City. Selected to participate on the High Performance Team Florida 17-year-old team which placed sixth in the World Cup Tournament in Park City, Utah.

During her scholastic career, Duncan was her senior class vice president, a three-year member of the student council, and generated a 3.9 GPA.