The University of Central Arkansas fortified their rotations as head coach John Newberry and the Sugar Bears announced their 2021 recruiting class.

UCA snagged seven new additions to their roster as they focused on athleticism in every position.

The Sugar Bears compiled a list of seven recruits with a specific focus on recruiting heavily in Texas.

Four of the seven recruits come from Texas, with three specifically coming from the San Antonio area.

These recruits have a wide variety of talents, but Newberry's most crucial aspect in recruiting was finding athletes with natural athleticism.

"I'm extremely excited to announce this class,” Newberry said. “It is overall from top to bottom the most athletic class UCA volleyball has had. Every one of these young ladies has had impeccable careers at their high school and travel teams and will continue to do so at UCA. They have all played within a highly competitive program throughout their careers. Not only does this class bring a high level of athleticism to the program, but they also bring a very strong amount of depth to our lineups.

"Our staff feels like this could be a class that helps elevate our competitive practice environment, help us continue to win championships, and continue to go to the NCAA Tournament. All of them have big aspirations with their academics and what they want to study. This class will be great ambassadors of UCA and the volleyball program."

Allison Holloway - Middle blocker

Louisville, Kentucky | Mercy Academy


6th Region All-Tournament Team (2019)

All-District Team (2020)

Presidents' Day Classic All-Tournament Team

"Allison is a very high IQ volleyball player that can hit from any position,” Newberry said. “She's perfect for the middle blocker position because of her disciple and quick reading ability. She plays with an incredible amount of intensity and is always engaged."

Hannah Watkins - Middle blocker

Greenwood | Greenwood High School


5A All-State (2019, 2020)

5A All-Conference (2019, 2020)

NWADG All-Area Second Team (2019)

Best of River Valley Preps Honoree (2020)

UA All-American Honoree (2020)

5A All-State Tournament Team (2020)

3x Varsity Letter

"You'll most likely see Hannah because of her height,” Newberry said. “Over the last two years, she's gotten stronger and more agile. She's become more consistent with attacking the volleyball. Hannah will definitely be difficult for other teams to defend."

Jamiryana Hall - Outside hitter

San Antonio, Texas | Taft High School



All Echo Team

1st Team All-District

1000+ kills in two years

2x Game Ball

2nd Team All-Vype

San Antonio 6A Player Must-Watch List

All-Vype San Antonio Preseason Volleyball Team (2020)

"Jamiryana is a high flying outside attacker with a very wide hitting range and has been a highly recruited athlete among many universities,” Newberry said. “She's incredibly passionate and has a ton of charisma."

Mackenzie Vernon - Right side

San Antonio, Texas | Harlan High School


2x Defensive Player of the Year

Athlete of the Year

Perseverance Award

3x 1st Team All-District

1st Team All-State

National All-Tournament Team

"Mackenzie is a powerful volleyball player,” Newberry said. “She has an incredible amount of power with her attacks, and she's very strong with her blocking. You definitely don't want to be on the receiving end of one of her attacks."

Lilly Taylor - Outside hitter

Aledo, Texas | Aledo High School


Second Team All-District (2018)

Academic All-District

Co-Offensive Player of the Year (2019)

Academic All-District

3rd at 5A State Tournament (2017)

National Honors Society

"Lilly is a very solid six rotation athlete,” Newberry said. “She's an outside hitter with a smooth approach and hits the ball at a high contact point. She has played in a very competitive travel team and has a ton of experience at a high level."

Esther Du'Glas - Outside hitter

San Antonio, Texas | Smithson Valley High School

"Esther is a six rotation outside hitter and will also be a part of our beach program as well,” Newberry said. “She's a very hard worker with a reserved disposition. She will be able to bring her beach techniques to the indoor gym and add a wide range of skill sets."

Shelbi Owens - Defensive specialist/libero

Memphis, Tennessee | Briarcrest Christian School


Phenom Watch List (2018, 2019 and 2020)

JVA Watch List

Under-Armour All-American Athlete (2020)

Max Prep Player of the Match (9/1/20)

3x Tennessee State Champion

"Shelbi is a fiery back-row player,”Newberry said. “She's extremely fearless and plays with great energy. She adds great depth to our back row position."

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