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Volleyball Completes 2023 Signing Class

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech volleyball and coach Michelle Collier announced the signing of five future Yellow Jackets to the 2023 roster on Wednesday.

Joining Texas transfer DeAndra Pierce and future Yellow Jacket Zoe Winford to complete this year’s class will be one graduate transfer and four international freshmen. The well-rounded recruiting class is now composed of two middle blockers, two outside hitters, two setters and one defensive specialist.

Afedo Manyang, MB (Fort Worth, Texas/TCU)

Manyang comes to The Flats as a grad transfer from TCU, where she earned consistent playing time throughout her four years with the Horned Frogs. The future Jacket played in 259 sets across 79 matches with 43 starts through her four seasons in Fort Worth, Texas. In doing so, Manyang racked up 503 kills, 169 total blocks, 85 digs and 15 service aces during her tenure in Purple and White. Prior to an abbreviated senior season, the middle blocker was one of three Horned Frogs to appear in all 26 matches during the 2021 season as a junior. Through 88 sets and 14 starts, Manyang tallied career highs of 190 kills and 219.5 points on the year. Totaling eight matches with 10 or more kills, she set single-game highs of seven digs and a .571 hitting percentage during the season. With another 19 matches under her belt as a sophomore, Manyang finished with 182 kills as she set a single-game high of 24 kills. In her first collegiate season, the former Horned Frog followed a decorated high school career by making 18 starts in 20 matches, leading TCU in in blocks per set (0.95) and aces per set (0.22) as she ranked second among Big 12 freshmen in blocks per set. Manyang garnered 104 kills and 63 blocks as a freshman.

Deren Cukur, S (İzmir, Turkey/Irmak Schools)

Cukur crosses the pond with a wealth of experience, coming from Irmak Schools as she’s competed with Fenerbahce over the last four years. The future Yellow Jacket follows in the footsteps of family as her brother played at Grand Canyon and has gone on to play professionally in Turkey (Galatasaray) and the Czech Republic (Aero Odolena Voda), while her mother enjoyed a professional career in Turkey (Karsıyaka) for eight years. Cukur began her club career at age 9 with her mother’s old club and followed by joining Arkas, her brother’s former club. Tech’s new talent has thrived now in a high-level environment, helping Fenerbahce to back-to-back Istanbul 3 titles over the last two seasons. In the classroom, Cukur has received two consecutive honor certificates as she plans to major in industrial engineering at Georgia Tech.

Heloise Soares, S (Joinville, Brazil/Colégio Bonja)

Another international talent, Soares will join the Yellow Jackets from Brazil as she currently plays for Flamengo. Despite her young age, the incoming talent has competed at the highest level of her club as she’s received national and worldwide recognition. Soares was most recently named the best setter at a national club tournament in 2022, and she was also tabbed the fifth best setter at the world championship in 2021 as she started with the Brazilian national team. Bringing elite experience to the college level, Soares intends to major in business administration at Georgia Tech.

Larissa Mendes, OH (Fortaleza, Brazil/Colegio Antares)

Joining Soares in venturing to The Flats from Brazil, Mendes hails from Fortaleza, where she’s been a three-year captain for Colegio Antares. Through her six seasons there, Mendes led her squad to five state championships (2017-19, 2021-22) and six municipal championships (2017-22) while also being a member of the U21 South American Championship team. Individually, the lauded talent has racked up personal accolades, including three MVP honors in the state championship (2018, 2019, 2021) and the best opposite hitter award in the 2022 U19 South American Championship. In the classroom, Mendes has been an honor roll member of the advanced class for three consecutive years as she is still determining her future major at Georgia Tech.

Victoria Demidova, OH (Moscow, Russia/Moscow International School)

Wrapping up the class, Demidova heads to Georgia Tech as a highly-touted recruit from Russia’s capital city. The daughter of a professional swimmer, Demidova brings a wealth of experience to The Flats as she led her squad to three Moscow championships (2016, 2018-19). On a national scale, the future Yellow Jacket has competed with Russia’s national junior team, winning the 2021 U18 Women’s World Championship as well as the 2020 U17 European Championship. Once arriving on campus, Demidova intends to major in public policy at Georgia Tech.

Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.   

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