Alma Kovaci Announces Volleyball Class of 2017

Head Coach Alma Kovaci

Head Coach Alma Kovaci

Aug 23, 2013

WEST POINT, N.Y.  - With a week of preseason preparations under their belt, Army Volleyball head coach Alma Kovaci and her staff has officially welcomed four members of the Class of 2017 to the team. With the Black Knights' season-opener a week away, the new cadets will make their way from preseason practice to their first collegiate matches.

"This year's class adds depth to the already strong nucleus of returning players" said Kovaci. "Each of these four players has great athleticism and all of them will play an important role in making this team even more diverse than it already is.

The four recruits will be an asset to both the offense and defense with a focus on the front row positions. Olivia Farifield, Alexi Bell, Janaya Simmons and Dana Robertson ascend from four different states and will add tenacity to four different positions.

Sister of teammate senior setter Christiana, Fairfield will debut as a front row player for Army. She is one of two recruits who spent the 2012-13 season at United States Military Academy Prep School. Fairfield will be joining the ranks of senior co-captain Margaux Jarka at outside hitter. In her hometown of Iowa City, Iowa, Fairfield was a key player in Iowa City West High School's State Championship wins in both 2010 and 2011. After winning her second state championship, Fairfield was recognized as part of the State Tournament Team, All-Conference first team and all-state first team.

"Olivia will play a significant role in our team's success this season. Being a versatile player, she will be able to help the team in all front row positions. She has a very high and fast arm swing which will help her effectiveness." Kovaci said.

Bell will be joining the middle blocker core of Megan Wilton, Molly McDonald and Zoe Kreitenberg. Hailing from Houston, Texas, Bell became a member of the Austin Juniors Volleyball Club at the age of 12 and credits coach Liz Quanaim for her success. By using her skills from her AJC team and applying them to high school volleyball at Phillips Academy Andover Prep School, Bell played a major role in being New England Prep School Champions in both 2010 and 2011. Bell was also named the New England Prep School All-Star in 2012.

"Alexi Bell will add depth to the middle position.  She is a tremendous athlete who has great vision and court awareness. Alexi is extremely smart on and off the court and I look forward to working with her this season." noted Kovaci.

Simmons is the second of two recruits who went studied at USMAPS in 2012-13. As a captain for two years on her GA5 Volleyball Club team, Simmons knows what it takes to be a leader on the court. By using the skills garnered through club volleyball, Simmons helped her high school volleyball team at Greater Atlantic Christian School, become the 2011 AA state champion runner-up. Recognized as a skilled athlete, Simmons was named an all-state performer in 2011

"Janaya will add depth to the right side position. She has tremendous ball control, great blocking ability and is very effective. I am excited to watch her develop throughout the season." Kovaci said.

Robertson, a fourth generation West Point cadet, is a decorated libero who will be joining Deanna Dalton and Kristen Smeland as a defensive specialist. Through her South County High School career, Roberston earned multiple awards for her efforts on the court. In 2012, she was voted to the all-state team, was All-Met Libero of the Year, Northern Region first team Libero and Patriot District Libero of the Year. She was also on the Cassels All-Tournament team and was named the South County Player or the Year in 2011 and 2012. In addition to the previously listed achievements, Robertson was voted to the South County All-Female Athlete team in 2013.

"Dana will contribute as a defensive specialist for us. She is a solid defensive player who is already experienced in high intensity games. As s result of her work ethic and determination, I believe Dana will have a significant impact on the team."

With 13 returning players, the newcomers join an already talented group of Black Knights this fall. The Army freshmen will make their debut at the Black Knights Invitational which begins Friday, Aug. 30. Army will host Alabama, Seton Hall and Washington State at Gillis Field House to start off their season. This is the fifth year Black Knights have hosted the home invitational. Admission for all regular-season matches is free.

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