UCLA head women's volleyball coach Michael Sealy has announced the addition of four players to the Bruin roster, Izzy Carmona, Julie Consani, Taylor Formico and Michaela Leonard.
Carmona, a 6-foot-3 right-side hitter from Titusville, Fla., comes to Westwood after spending her freshman season at Florida State. In 30 matches and 85 sets last year with the Seminoles, Carmona averaged 1.98 kills per set with a .273 hitting percentage, adding 0.84 blocks per set. She raised her totals to 2.23 kps and 0.85 bps during Atlantic Coast Conference action.
Carmona had seven double-figure kills matches, recording a season-best 18 to go with a .429 hitting percentage and six blocks against Virginia. She posted a career-high 10 blocks versus North Carolina and added a 15-kill, five-block performance against Miami with a .500 hitting percentage. She was named ACC Freshman of the Week on Oct. 21. Ranked third among right-side hitters in the 2013 recruiting class, according to PrepVolleyball.com, Carmona earned a No. 63 ranking by PrepVolleyball, prepping at Holy Trinity Academy.
"Izzy Carmona is a player that we are very excited about," Sealy said "Our gym just got really physical, really fast. She is a big blocking presence at the net and hits with a ton of velocity. She is going to raise the level in the practice gym and I am excited to see her flourish here. Izzy is someone who wants big things with her volleyball future and I am looking forward to watching her attain it."
Consani, a 5-11 setter from Newport Beach, Calif., moves up the coast after spending three seasons at Cal State Fullerton, where she had 2,077 assists, placing her sixth in program history. In 2013, Consani notched 14 double-doubles, averaging 11.08 assists per set (33rd in the nation). She was third on the team with 17 aces and fourth with 2.76 digs per set. Consani crossed the 50-assist plateau eight times, registering a career-best 61 against UC Davis. Her season best in digs was 17 versus Cal Poly.
As a sophomore in 2012, Consani averaged 8.29 aps and 1.77 dps, producing five double-doubles. She had three matches with at least 50 assists, including 54 versus Pacific, and set a career high with 17 digs against UC Santa Barbara. Consani will begin repping the Blue and Gold this spring as a member of the sand volleyball team.
"Julie played in all but 11 sets the last two years at Cal State Fullerton against big opponents, while winning against big opponents," Sealy said. "She brings a ton of experience and an ability to provide stability to our offense as a setter. Julie has a natural release and rhythm and puts her hitters in great situations. She will make the difficult set look easy and will give the hitters amazing opportunities to be successful."
Formico (Mountain View, Calif.), also a member of the Bruin sand volleyball team, comes to UCLA after spending her freshman season at UC Santa Barbara in 2012. Formico played in all 33 matches and 135 sets in her first year as a libero for the Gauchos. She was named the Big West Conference Freshman of the Year and First Team All-Big West, leading the nation in digs with 792, which set a new UCSB and Big West single-season record. Formico was also named AVCA West Region Freshman of the Year, the first Gaucho to earn the honor, and AVCA All-Region Honorable Mention.
Formico's 5.87 digs per set were first in the conference and ranked eighth nationally. Her highest dig total came against Cal State Fullerton, when she had 41. She recorded 30 or more digs in a match 12 times on the year, accounting for over half of the 30+ dig performances in the conference and almost twice as many as any other player in the nation.
"Taylor proved in her freshman season at UC Santa Barbara that she was one of the best liberos in the country," Sealy said. "She has amazing natural abilities and makes dynamic plays look routine. She works hard on and off the court and is driven to be great. Taylor is having a huge impact in our program already."
Leonard, a 5-9 setter from Auburn, Calif. and Placer High School, spent two seasons at San Jose State. She started all 61 matches the Spartans played in during the 2012 and 2013 campaigns, recording 2,494 assists and 11.08 assists per set. As a sophomore, she had 1,305 assists (11.06 aps - 35th in the nation) and 22 aces, which was second on the team, adding 1.88 digs and 0.47 blocks per set. Leonard posted seven double-doubles, tallying a career-best 66 assists against Nevada and a personal-high 18 digs versus Campbell. She crossed the 50-assist plateau on nine occasions.
In 2012, Leonard produced 1,189 assists (11.11 aps - 35th in the nation), 23 aces, which was tied for second on the squad, and 2.16 digs per set. She earned Second Team All-Western Athletic Conference honors and All-WAC Freshman Team accolades. Leonard had nine double-doubles, going over the 50-assist mark twice.
"Michaela is someone who runs a consistent effective offense," Sealy said. "She has a natural rhythm and the ability to think her way through a match, finding the right hitter at the right time. Her court presence has a positive effect on teammates and she possesses a natural ability to lead through the position. She is coming into a situation with a lot of weapons and I look forward to watching her utilize them."