July 2, 2014

Ferris State Volleyball Completes Recruiting Class By Adding Ayanna Buckley

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Big Rapids, Mich. - A fifth and final incoming prep standout will join the defending NCAA Midwest Regional champion Ferris State University volleyball program this fall as head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm has announced the addition of Ayanna Buckley (Detroit/Clarenceville).

The 5-11 Buckley played a variety of roles for Clarenceville High School in Livonia, including outside hitter, middle hitter and defensive specialist. Buckley had an outstanding senior campaign this past year, earning all-state accolades for the second consecutive campaign. She was also a first-team all-conference, all-region and all-area choice.

"Ayanna is a dynamic and powerful athlete," said Brandel-Wilhelm, who led FSU to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight last fall. "Her toughness and determination will allow her to have a very high ceiling in the sport.  She is a great fit for our Bulldog Family and we are really excited to add Ayanna to our program."

Buckley led Clarenceville to the Western Wayne Athletic Conference Red Division crown as a senior under prep head coach Wendy Merschman. The 2014 graduate also claimed team Most Valuable Player honors and was voted "Best Blocker" while serving as a team captain for the second-straight year.

Previously, Buckley helped her squad to a district title as a sophomore in 2011-12 when Clarenceville also won the Huron Valley Tournament Championship. She played club volleyball for Skillz Finest 18 under Alisha Love.

Besides volleyball, the four-year letterwinner also competed for four seasons in basketball and was a member of the school's varsity track team. She was also active in the marching and symphonic bands. She claimed all-state and team MVP honors in all three of her varsity sports and was a three-year captain on the hardwood where she averaged 20 points a game of the last two seasons. Buckley was also chosen as Clarenceville's homecoming queen.

The daughter of Alvin and Meredith Buckley, Ayanna has two older brothers and a sister. She plans to major in biology/pre-medicine at Ferris State and joins four other signees in this year's Bulldog recruiting class.

Ferris State closed a memorable 2013 campaign with a 25-9 overall record after nearly pulling off a major win over eventual national runner-up BYU-Hawaii in their first appearance deep on the national stage since the late 1980's. FSU, which made its 18th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance last fall, claimed a regional crown to reach the Elite Eight and national quarterfinals for only the third time in school history and first since 1989.

Last fall marked Ferris State's first regional championship since previously winning two back in 1987 and 1989. The Bulldogs reached at least the regional semifinals for the third year in a row and have now made the NCAA Tournament nine times under Brandel-Wilhelm, who led FSU to the Elite Eight for the first time in her tenure after notching her 500th career victory in an exciting 3-2 comeback win over archrival Grand Valley State in the Midwest Regional title match in Allendale.

The Bulldogs also placed tied for second last season in the GLIAC with a 15-3 overall record, reached the conference tournament for the 16th consecutive year and posted 20 wins or more for the 12th time in 18 seasons under Brandel-Wilhelm's direction.

Ferris State is slated to open the fall 2014 season by taking part in the highly-competitive University of Tampa Invitational Sept. 4-6 in Tampa, Fla.

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