BRISTOL, Tenn. – Coming off back-to-back Conference Carolinas North Division titles, and three straight conference championships, King University women's volleyball head coach Morris Cephas has added eight student-athletes to help the Tornado earn another title in 2016.
"We are so excited about this class of eight joining our family," Cephas said. "The coaching staff has worked so hard on trying to find the right fit for this class and we feel like we've found them in these young women. This class has bought in to what we are striving to accomplish within our program and are excited about being able to compete at the next level."
West Columbia, South Carolina
White Knoll High School
"I chose King because they had my major first off, I had a great feeling when I went on my visit," Pigage said. "It will be a great place to grow spiritually in my faith, and I get to continue my volleyball career with an awesome program, and I loved the surrounding area."
Academic accomplishments: A/B Honor all throughout high school. GPA 3.6 on 4 scale
Pigage was on the varsity squad all four years at White Knoll High School and was a co-captain for her senior campaign. During her final season, she garnered All-Region and All-State honors and played in the North/South All-Star game. Following the contest, she was named the MVP of the 4A South Team. Pigage earned the Timberwolf Award following her sophomore season before earning the Most Valuable Defensive Player Award in both her junior and senior seasons. Outside of high school, Pigage has played on the top level team with Magnum Volleyball for the last six years. Academically, Pigage graduated from White Knoll High School with a GPA of 3.6.
"I want to bring energy and enthusiasm to the court, and I want to be a good representation of a student athlete," continued Pigage. "I want to contribute to the success of the volleyball program in an effort to climb to new heights of success and championships."
Outside Hitter/Right Side
Boca Raton, Florida
Spanish River High School
"I chose King because of the volleyball program with Coach Cephas, the great nursing program, and the opportunities like going on mission trips with the team," Thele said. "I hope I am able to help lead the King volleyball program to the next level, and I am really excited to be a part of such an awesome volleyball program with great team chemistry and an amazing coaching staff. I really hope I can contribute to the team's success both on and off the court."
Thele captained the Spanish River High School volleyball squad for both her junior and senior seasons while also captaining the Tribe 18 Elite squad. During her career she earned Sun Sentinel and Palm Beach Post All-County honors. She also earned the Impact Player Award and team MVP honors at Spanish River.
Lake Minneola High School
"I chose King for multiple reasons, but most importantly the unforgettable atmosphere," Sturgeon commented. "Every single person I would walk past would greet me and made me feel so welcomed. The coaches that I met, Coach Cephas and Coach Kady, sold me with their hospitality and kindness and I really just imagined living in Bristol and attending King for the next four years would be an amazing experience."
Sturgeon helped lead Lake Minneola High School to district championships in back-to-back years. She also captained both her high school and club teams during both her junior and senior seasons.
"Oh, and how could I forget, the breathtaking campus with a mesmerizing view, I couldn't get enough of that," she continued. "I will bring nothing less than leadership and hard work to the volleyball program, I can't wait to connect with all of my new teammates and build all of our relationships with God."
Outside Hitter, Right Side, Defensive Specialist
Central High School
"I chose King because I fell in love with the campus and the volleyball program, and King also has an excellent academic program," Hill said. "I would like to use my skills, good attitude, and love of volleyball to help the team be the best they can be."
Hill had a standout career at Central High School in Chattanooga, captaining the squad for both her junior and senior seasons. She was a three-time All-District and All-Region honoree, and garnered TSSAA first team All-State honors in 2014. Hill was named to the Chattanooga News Free Press Best of the Preps in both 2014 and 2015. Outside of high school, Hill played for the Choo Choo City Club, helping them finish fifth at 2015 AAU Junior Nationals 17 Power Division. Along with volleyball, Hill also played basketball, earning All-District and All-Region honors in 2014 and 2015. Hill graduated from Central High School with a 4.0 GPA and was a member of National Honor Society and Beta Club.
Middle Blocker, Right Side
"I chose King because I love the environment and the people," Gause said. "The faculty and students who were already there made me feel so welcomed and not like an outsider. I feel like King is the place where I will grow, not only academically, but also spiritually. I want to be a light in the program, be a leader, and someone who always encourages others."
Gause helped First Academy-Leesburg to back-to-back district runner-up finishes. She was the captain of the team and was named Most Improved, Defensive Player of the year and MVP during her career.
Outside Hitter, Right Side
Blackman High School
"I chose King because it is the right fit for me athletically, academically, and spiritually," Lozano said. "I want to be able to be the person people can count on, and I will always try my best in anything I set out to accomplish."
During her final two years at Blackman High School, Lozano was selected All-District both years. She also garnered honorable mention All-Area as a junior and earned All-Area honors as a senior. Lozano earned All-Mid State second team honors and played in the TACA All-Star match. The team captain was also named the team MVP following her senior year.
Middle Blocker, Right Side
Sullivan South High School
"I chose king because it felt like home and still is close to my home," said Carico. "I loved both the coach and the girls because they were so welcoming to me. I personally am very excited to join this team because I would like to strengthen my relationship with God, and I think they can really give me guidance through that journey."
While at Sullivan South High School, Carico earned all-conference and All-District honors in 2014. She then earned all-conference, All-District as well as All-Region and All-State as a senior.
Right Side, Outside Hitter
Lewisville High School
"I chose King University because it had everything I was looking for in a college," Huddleston said. "The volleyball program was very welcoming, along with all the other staff I met. The small class sizes and Christian environment helped make the final decision to attend King University."
Huddleston captained the Lewisville High School squad and garnered 6A All-State academic first team honors as a senior along with All-District academic first team and All-District second team. During her junior year she earned All-District academic first team and All-District second team.
"I look forward to growing in my Christian faith, and having small classes will allow me to get more individualized attention," she continued. "I want to contribute my hard work ethic and leadership skills to the volleyball program."
"This class is full of strong leadership, work ethic, passion, talent, intelligence, strong moral character, and desire to grow spiritually," Cephas finished. I'm so excited to see how they come into this program and continue to embody and strive towards their goals and some of the goals that we have in place for them. These young women are genuinely some of the hardest workers I've ever met and I know that will only propel them into successful careers and a bright future here at King."