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Tech Lands All-American Transfer Tamara Otene

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech volleyball and coach Michelle Collier announced the official signing of Illinois State transfer Tamara Otene to the program on Monday. The outside hitter will arrive on The Flats on the heels of an acclaimed sophomore season as she garnered a bevy of awards, highlighted by being named a 2021 AVCA All-America Honorable Mention.

“Tamara brings great winning experience to our group and will make an immediate impact in our gym from day one,” said Collier. “She is a great teammate and competitor, and our environment on and off the court here at GT will help her continue to grow as a student, player and person. We are so excited to have her join our program and are looking forward to a great future together!”

The all-American took the nation by storm in 2021 as she was decorated at each level, also being named a All-America Honorable Mention, AVCA All-Region First Team, Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, All-MVC First Team, to the MVC All-Tournament Team, a three-time MVC Player of the Week and to a pair of preseason all-tournament teams.

On the way to such honors, the Auckland, New Zealand, native competed in all 33 matches a season ago, seeing action in all 126 sets in her breakout season for the Redbirds. Otene piled up 494 kills on the season to top the MVC and rank 15th in the nation, narrowly trailing current Jacket all-American Julia Bergmann, who racked up 497 kills last year. Along with her attacking acumen, the outside hitter had a well-rounded 2021 season as she gathered 230 digs and 66 total blocks (51 assisted, 15 solo). Otene also led the MVC in league play with 305 kills and a conference-best 4.49 kills per set, becoming the only player in the ranks to average 5.00 points per set.

Match by match, the sought-after transfer tallied double digit kills in 27 of the Redbirds’ 33 matches on the year, including seven 20+ kill outings and five double doubles. Diving further into the nitty gritty, Otene led Illinois State in kills through 22 matches on the year, hitting a clip of .400 or better on five separate occasions. Just two seasons into her promising career, Otene owns single-match highs of a conference-topping 27 kills, 17 digs and seven total blocks.

The future Jacket left her mark on the Redbird program, becoming the school’s eighth all-American, its first conference player of the year since 2014 and leading the way to Illinois State’s third straight MVC tournament title.

Prior to last season’s outbreak, Otene saw the floor as a freshman, appearing in 11 sets through five matches. The former Redbird registered 17 kills, including eight in the opening round of the NCAA tournament against UNLV.

Tamara Otene at Illinois State

Courtesy of Illinois State Athletics

Before joining the collegiate ranks, the incoming Jacket was a four-sport athlete at Westlake Girls High School in Auckland, New Zealand, competing on her school’s volleyball, beach volleyball, badminton and netball teams. Her multitude of honors during her high school days included being a ten-time all-tournament team honoree between her high school and club teams in volleyball, WGHS All-Around Sportsperson of the Year her senior year, All-Sportswoman of the Year her freshman and sophomore year and her high school’s volleyball player of the year award for her final two seasons at WGHS. Otene helped guide her team to three New Zealand Secondary School Championships, earning the opportunity to become a member of the New Zealand National Team and compete in the Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship.

Otene becomes the third offseason addition to Georgia Tech’s 2022 signing class, bolstering a crop of young talent including libero/defensive specialist Cara Bianco and right-side hitter/middle blocker Anna Boezi. The three future Jackets will join 13 returning current players, including five regular starters from last season’s Elite Eight squad.

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