By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech volleyball team and head coach Jeannette Waldo welcomed a pair of future Golden Eagles into the wings Wednesday, announcing the signing of Jordan Karlen and Ayanna Rodgers as a part of the 2022 signing class.
"This 2022 class is small, yet mighty," Tech head coach Jeannette Waldo said. "Of course I mean small only by the fact that there are only two of them, for they are sure to have a huge presence immediately. We were very picky with this class, as it was very important that these pieces were exactly what we needed in order to take us to the next level. This season, we have definitely taken a big step from where we've been in the past, and we still have work to do as we close out OVC [Ohio Valley Conference] play, but these two are going to bring the extra fire that we need to take yet another step in the right direction."
Setter | 5'9 | Janesville, Wis. (Milton High School) | Capital Volleyball Academy (Club)
Karlen just put up numbers at Milton High School during her career, serving as a three-time captain as the team's setter. In four seasons, she accumulated 2,282 assists, 197 service aces, 772 digs, 372 kills, and 114 blocks. As a senior, she delivered 645 helpers with 68 aces, 256 digs, 113 kills, 52 blocks in 87 sets of action.
She collected back-to-back All-Conference First Team accolades as a junior and senior and was named an AAU All-American in 2018. As a freshman, Karlen helped lead MHS to a regional title, dishing out 597 assists with 47 aces and 158 digs in 69 sets.
"Jordan Karlen has big dreams and I love that about her" Waldo expressed. "She wants to dominate the world through setting, basically, no big deal. Her work ethic will take her far and I can't wait to coach her with that kind of drive pushing her daily. It didn't take us long to notice how valuable Jordan would be to what we're trying to accomplish here at Tech. She is a gamer with the ability to control the tempo so well; it's going to be a lot of fun."
Middle Blocker | 6'0 | Marietta, Ga. (Alan C. Pope High School) | A5 (Club)
Rodgers, the daughter of former Golden Eagle men's basketball player and 1,000-point scorer Jerome Rodgers, turned in an illustrious career at Alan C. Pope High School, garnering GHSA 6A All-State Player of the Year honors as a senior. She also took home AVCA Best and Brightest Second Team accolades and a spot on the GHSA All-State Team after delivering 379 kills, 51 aces, 109 blocks, and 117 digs.
After spending her freshman campaign as a member of the junior varsity squad, and collecting the team's Most Improved Player honor, Rodgers followed it up with three straight appearances on the All-Region First Team, including capturing GHSA Region 6-6A Player of the Year as a junior and senior. She led her team to back-to-back Region 6-6A titles in the two seasons as well. For her career, the middle blocker accumulated 787 kills, 79 service aces, 293 blocks, and 195 digs across three seasons of varsity action.
"Ayanna Rodgers is going to fit into our system so beautifully," Waldo explained. "She is a physical presence on the court and she has such a warm and inviting personality off of the court that will blend with our wacky bunch in a great way. From the minute that we saw video on Ayanna, we knew she could do great things here, and we are so happy that she decided to call Tech home."