Nov. 18, 2013
CONWAY - The Coastal Carolina University volleyball team will welcome in three newcomers as part of its 2014 recruiting class, head coach Jozsef Forman announced on Monday.
Aleksandra Djuric (Belgrade, Serbia), Lexi Flynn (Davenport, Iowa) and Leah Hardeman (Clarkston, Ga.) have all committed to continue their volleyball careers at CCU.
"Our 2014 recruiting class is very promising for our future," said Forman. "All three student-athletes will have a major impact on our program right away, and not just on the court, but academically as students, and for our community as a whole. This class is defined by leadership and character."
Position: Outside Hitter
School: St. Pius X Catholic HS
Club: Atlanta Boom
Hardeman is a 5-10 outside hitter from Clarkston, Ga. She competes for St. Pius X Catholic High School as well as the Atlanta Boom. She was named the 2011 Area Player of the Year while at St. Pius X and was named first team All-State in 2011 and 2012. She was named All-Area in 2010, 2011 and 2013 and has been named player of the match 31 times. Her team finished as state runners-up in 2011 and 2012. This past season she led her team to the State Championship including picking up 35 kills in the finals. She set her school record for most kills in a season in 2012 with 426 and set the single game record in 2013 with 28 kills in a match. She was named a 2013 GVCA Volleyball Senior All Star and was the 2013 Volleyball All-State AAA Co-Player of the Year. She was named MVP of the St. Pius X squad this past season and was named the AVCA Georgia Player of the Week on Nov. 4.
While with the Atlanta Boom, she was named MVP in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. She was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. Her team won the Southern Region Championship and also the New York Volleyball Games Championship. She was also named to the 2012 AAU Girls' Junior National Volleyball Championships All-American Team.
"The best thing about Leah Hardeman is that she is always up for a challenge," said Hardeman's high school coach John Frederick. "She has always played best in the big games and made her best plays in crunch time of the close games. Witness her having the best two matches of her career for the state semifinals and finals her senior year. She was a star for us and I am sure she will be a star at the next level."
"Simply put, Leah Hardeman is the most determined weapon I've ever seen on the court when the team is threatened," said Hardeman's club coach Del Hughes.
"I still can't believe I'm going to Coastal," said Hardeman. "Who would have thought I'd go to a college that's minutes away from the beach? I'm so excited to play for these awesome coaches and with these amazing teammates. On my official visit I felt like I was at home from laughing with coach Forman and coach Aramian to having a dance party in the locker room. Coastal exceeds my expectations with its amazing athletic and academic programs. With the skills I'll acquire at Coastal, hopefully one day I'll make it to the Olympics. I just can't wait to play! Go teal!"
"When I first saw Leah, she reminded me of Mireya Luis, one of the best female attackers to play the game," said Forman. "Of course anyone touching 10'5 can be an asset to your program, but Leah is special. Not only is she a great athlete with tremendous jumping ability, but she's a leader by action. Her calm and confident demeanor, like Mireya's, brings confidence to her teammates and coaches. Her club coach and director, Del Hughes, mentored her over the years to be the player she is today. Leah will assume our current captain's number, 10, and will be an integral part of Coastal's bright future."
Position: Libero/Defensive Specialist
School: Assumption High School
Club: Platform Elite
Flynn is a 5-4 libero/defensive specialist from Davenport, Iowa. She will enter the 2013 season as a freshman. She currently plays club volleyball for Platform Elite. She serves as her high school captain. She was named first team All-Conference and All-Metro team. She led her conference in digs in both 2011 and 2012. She holds the school record for digs in a game, digs in a season and career digs. She was a member of the first Assumption team to advance to the state playoffs. She was also a member of the first Assumption team to ever win the conference championship. She was recently named the Wendy's High School Heisman winner for the state of Iowa. She was named to the Under Armour Watch List in 2012 and 2013 and named an Under Armour Phenom in 2012.
While with her club team she has served as team captain. She was named to the all-tournament teams at the region tournament and President's Day Classic. She has played at the USA Junior Nationals six straight years and was selected to the 2011 High Performance Volleyball Team and competed at the 2011 High Performance National Championships.
Flynn was also a starting midfielder for the Assumption High School girls soccer team. Her soccer team won 51 consecutive matches, the eighth longest winning streak in US high school history. Her team has lost only two games in her three years as a varsity starter at midfield with an overall record of 63-2 and has won two MAC Conference Championships and three Iowa State Championships.
"Lexi will be a great addition to Coastal Carolina," said Flynn's high school coach Kyle Condon. "She is a very hard working and self-motivated player. She always has a positive attitude and has been a leader the past couple years and a key player in our run at state this year."
"I cannot wait to get down to Coastal Carolina because it is a home away from home," said Flynn. "Ever since the first time that I stepped on campus I knew that it was a good fit for me. The campus is beautiful and the atmosphere is great, everyone is so friendly. The coaching staff is wonderful and they teach things that I have always believed in. I agree with their philosophies and I love how they work with the players on and off the court. I knew Coastal Carolina was a great fit for me after the first day that I was in the gym with the coaches. I am blessed that I get to continue my volleyball career and that I get to continue playing something that I love at such a great school."
"Lexi has just what we are looking for in a libero: skill, athleticism, heart, drive, and personality," said Forman. "She's broken state records in Iowa over her storied career, and has amazing defensive skills. To boot, Lexi is a star in the classroom, and will come to Coastal to study Marine Science. Being one of the top programs in the world, her entrance into Marine Science reflects her academic prowess. With a great personality and loveable character, she will do wonders for our teams future, I mean she was homecoming queen!"
School: Ninth Belgrade Gymnasium
Djuric is a 5-11 setter from Belgrade, Serbia, and will join the Chanticleers as a freshman. She is currently a member of Uzice volleyball club. In 2012, her team finished third in the Serbian Championships for juniors. Her team also placed third in the Belgrade Championships for juniors in both 2011 and 2012. She also placed second in the Tournament of Pioneer Teams in 2007. As part of her high school program she placed second in the 2009 Belgrade Championship and won the Municipality Championship in 2012. She once won a set 25-0 while serving the entire time for her team. She speaks five languages including English, German, Bosnian, Montenegrin and Croatian.
"I coached Aleksandra for a number of years," said Djuric's former coach Slobodan Nisavic. "She has a strong personality, is a very competitive person, and real leader in the game. She has grown through all levels of volleyball: beginners through young juniors, and juniors to seniors. She is a well educated setter, smart, and very coachable. This is a great opportunity to join Coastal Carolina, and I believe she will be a major asset to the team."
"I am very excited for the opportunity to get my degree and play for Coastal Carolina University," said Djuric. "This is a great chance to get a quality education and improve my volleyball skills. I can achieve my goals at Coastal Carolina because the school has all of the tools which will allow me to succeed. I have confidence under coach Forman's guidance we will be one of the top volleyball programs. I am very grateful that I have this opportunity and will do my best to justify their trust in me."
"Having known of Aleksandra and her coaches for a number of years, she is just the type of player we were fortunate to get," said coach Forman. "As a setter, she has great hands and a mind for the game. She is confident, consistent, and can manage the game at the highest level. In our goal of running a faster offense, Alex has that experience, something difficult for players to obtain. I think one of my favorite things about her though is her personality. She's fun to be around and everyone that I've met likes her - she's the complete player when it comes to a teammate."