DURHAM, N.C. – Head coach Jolene Nagel and her staff are excited to announce the addition of four players who will join the Blue Devil volleyball program this upcoming season.
The class includes middle blocker Summer Brown (Morrow, Ga.), setter Haley Seyfarth (Bentonville, Ark.) outside hitter Payton Schwantz (Frisco, Texas) and defensive specialist/libero Kincey Smith (Wake Forest, N.C.).
A 6-5 middle blocker from Georgia, Brown was named the 2016 GHSA AAA Player of the Year after totaling 206 kills, 78 blocks and 24 aces this past season. A team captain at Pace Academy, Brown led the Knights to a 2016 state runner-up finish as well as consecutive region championships.
“It's a special treat to have a player of Summer's stature join us in Durham,” said head coach Jolene Nagel. “As our tallest player since Christiana Gray, her physical gifts are undeniable. Summer's size will help our team at the net, but her warm personality and eagerness to learn and improve excite me the most.”
A 5-11 outside hitter hailing from Frisco, Texas, Schwantz brings an impressive high school and club resume to Durham. Schwantz collected MVP and all-tournament honors at the 2016 USA Volleyball National Championships, helping her TAV 17 Black club squad to the gold medal in the 17 Open division. As a senior at Frisco High School, Schwantz garnered 2016 district co-MVP and team MVP honors and was twice named all-state and first team academic all-district.
“Payton is a talented all-around player,” Nagel added. “She brings skill and athleticism to our team. Payton has competed, and won championships, at the highest level of club volleyball. Her training and expectations for herself push her daily to achieve. We're excited to have her work ethic and internal drive in the gym every day.”
Seyfarth joins the Blue Devils following an extremely successful career at Palm Beach State College that culminated with 2016 NJCAA First Team All-America honors. Seyfarth led the Panthers to their first Southern Conference Championship in 11 seasons this past year. Prior to her stint at Palm Beach State, Seyfarth earned All-America, all-conference and all-state recognition at Bentonville High School in Bentonville, Arkansas.
“We're really thrilled to know we have a rising junior to help in our setting duties,” Nagel said. “Haley brings experience, size, leadership and an unflappable demeanor to our team. Her genuine nature is a welcome addition and we look forward to working hard together on the court.”
A local product, Smith joins the Blue Devils from nearby Wake Forest, N.C. The four-time all-conference selection and 2015 conference player of the year led North Raleigh Christian Academy to back-to-back state championships and also twice garnered all-state and All-Metro accolades.
“Our staff is excited to welcome Kincey on campus officially as a Blue Devil,” Nagel said. “Being a local player, we have watched Kincey grow as an athlete and develop as a volleyball player over the years. She brings intensity, a tireless work ethic, team-first attitude and great competitiveness to our team. Kincey is a joy and I look forward to working with her on a daily basis.”