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Hurricanes Volleyball Inks Two to National Letters of Intent

Hurricanes Volleyball Inks Two to National Letters of Intent

Jan. 15, 2009

Coral Gables, Fla. – The recruiting trail has begun and the University of Miami volleyball squad has inked two student-athletes, Jenna Berkley and Nrithya Sundararaman, to National Letters of Intent to play for the Hurricanes in 2009.

“We are very excited to add Jenna [Berkley] and Nrithya [Sundararaman] to our surging program,” exclaimed Miami head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch–2008 ACC and AVCA East Region Coach of the Year. “They will bring size, physicality, smarts and important depth to our team.”

Jenna Berkley is a 6-foot-2 middle hitter from Wildwood, Missouri that played last season at Eureka (Mo.) High School under head coach Becky Stevenson. Last season, she helped to lead the Wildcats to a 27-10 record, including a perfect 7-0 conference mark en route to a Suburban South Conference title.

As a senior, Berkley totaled 333 kills to average 3.48 kills per set, while also amassing 105 blocks (80 solo) for average of 1.09 blocks per set. Those numbers would help in her being named Suburban South Conference First Team, as well as a First Team All-District–Class 4-A, District 4, and All-State First Team. She would go on to collect All-Region honors while being tabbed as the team’s most improved player by the Eureka coaching staff.

“Jenna is a middle who will bring great size and strength to that position,” comments Lantagne Welch. “She can get up and hammer the ball from anywhere. She is also very good off one foot behind the setter. Jenna will be a force at the net with her ability to both hit and block. Jenna is high-energy, and she brings that to the court and to get the most out of her teammates.”

Berkley plays her club volleyball with the well-respected St. Louis CYC Volleyball Club in the greater St. Louis, Missouri area. Last year, she was a part of the squad that reached the St. Louis CYC JVDA Championship, as well as competing in the Junior Olympics (2004-07), competing as a Mideast Qualifier (2004-07) and a Lone Star Qualifier (2005-07).

The second signee for the Hurricanes is Nrithya Sundararaman, standing 5-foot-10 and playing along the right side/setter position from Naperville, Illinois. Sundararaman played her prep volleyball at Naperville North (Ill.) High School under head coach Jennifer Urban.

During her senior year, Sundararaman assisted the Huskies to a 34-3 overall record while posting a 13-1 record in league play–finishing as regular season co-champs of the DuPage Valley Conference. She would be tabbed DuPage Valley Conference First Team, in addition to First Team Naperville Sun and First Team Daily Herald by the local media/press. She received honorable mention honors by the Chicago Tribune.

She helped to lead her Huskies team to a Regional title before falling in the Sectionals during the Illinois State playoffs. In the classroom, Sundararaman was a two-time All-Academic performer.

On the club level, Sundararaman plays for a great program in the form of the Illinois’ Sports Performance Club, helping them finish the 2008 campaign with an 18-2 overall record, while going a perfect 6-0 in The First Power League.

“Nrithya has all the tools to be a great setter,” expressed Lantagne Welch, a former record-setting setter at the University of Maryland. “She moves well, has a good court sense and can get up at the net to block. She has been setting and hitting in a 6-2 most of her career, so once she’s training setting full-time, we really expect her to flourish. Nrithya has a very strong work ethic and is coming from a club that has produced many great collegiate setters.”

Fresh off the heels of their best season since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)–and second-best season in Division I history at UM, the Hurricanes, under the direction of eighth-year head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch, finished in a tie for third place in the ACC while holding a record of 26-6 (14-6 ACC).

For a complete list of this year’s signees, as well as future signings, please stay tuned to–the official athletic website for all varsity sports for the University of Miami Hurricanes.