HOUSTON, Texas – Rice volleyball announced the signing of three student-athletes on Wednesday to enroll in school and join the team in 2018. Anota Adekunle (Humble, Texas), Carly Graham (Spring, Texas), and Hannah Lopez (San Antonio, Texas) signed National Letter of Intent with the Owls.
“This class is exciting in so many ways,” Rice head coach Genny Volpe said. “It’s a competitive group that all have played at a high level prior to coming to Rice. Their volleyball IQ is extremely high and all of them will help elevate the program immediately.”
Adekunle is a 5’11” middle blocker who currently attends and plays for Summer Creek High School. While with the Bulldogs, Adekunle helped guide her team to a first place finish in the Aldine District Tournament as a junior and a second place result in 2015. As a sophomore, she hit .563 while collecting 59 blocks and 177 kills. In addition to volleyball, Adekunle played basketball and competed in track.
“Anota is one of the most explosive middle blockers in the 2018 class,” said Volpe. “She’s fast laterally, which allow her to dominate as a blocker, and she is quick off the floor and has a very fast arm, which makes her hard to stop offensively.”
Graham is a 6’0” setter from Spring, Texas who plays under Tommie Lynn Sledge at Oak Ridge High School. During her four years with the War Eagles, Graham’s teams have combined to go 146-17, including a 31-5 record last season. As a senior, Graham posted 996 assists, 360 digs, 284 kills, 40 aces and 52 total blocks. For her career, she amassed 3,964 assists, 1,760 digs, 1,003 kills, 135 aces and 182 blocks. Last year she earned bountiful awards including Under Armour HS All-American (2nd Team), USA Today Midseason Player of Year Candidate, USA Today Watchlist, GHVCA Preseason Player of the Year and a Prepvolleyball.com Tawa Club Second Team All-American.
“Carly is a winner who truly makes everyone around her better,” Volpe said. “As a setter, she is extremely consistent and strong so she can really spread the offense well. She’s in complete control of the floor when she plays and can create havoc for the opponent with her unique abilities to score herself.”
Lopez is a 5’10” outside hitter who currently attends Winston Churchill High School in San Antonio, Texas. She totaled 1,612 kills, 1,604 digs and 179 aces in 502 career sets. Under head coach JoAnne Hultgren, Lopez and the Lions went to the state tournament in 2014. In her senior season, Lopez collected 452 kills while hitting .341, to go along with 357 digs in 119 sets played.
“Hannah is a very complete and smooth volleyball player,” Volpe said. “She is an outside hitter that has all the shots in the book. She has solid ball control and can attack from the backcourt as well. She’ll add firepower to our team along with strong passing and defense.”