FORMER TENNESSEE VOLLEYBALL TRIO TO PLAY PROFESSIONALLY ABROAD
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- 2013 Tennessee graduates Leslie Cikra and Kayla Jeter will join DeeDee Harrison on the professionally volleyball circuit, as the trio goes overseas to continue their volleyball careers. It will mark the first season for both Cikra and Jeter, and the second for Harrison, as she completed her rookie campaign this past Spring with Chamalieres Volleyball Club. Cikra has signed with Istres Ouest Provence Volley in France and Jeter will be the newest member of LP Kangasala in Finland.
Kayla Jeter, a native of Solon, Ohio, will be continuing her volleyball career in Finland as the newest member of LP Kangasala.
"I went there for a week and we had two-a-day practices," Jeter said. "After the whole experience, I absolutely loved it. Finnish people are awesome and very welcoming. Their work ethic is very great and they're go-for-everything type of players."
During her career on Rocky Top, the 5-foot-11 outside hitter was an AVCA All-America Honorable Mention honoree in 2010, as well as earned All-SEC honors in 2009 and 2010.
Jeter racked up 934 kills during her time on Rocky Top, and capped off her final time donning the Orange and White with an 11-kill, nine-dig match against Michigan in the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 29, 2012.
"I think it's (playing at Tennessee) really set a high bar for myself as far as performance goes," Jeter said. "At Tennessee, we give our all, we give our best effort every single day in practice and every single day in competition. It allowed me to build a type of work ethic and standard for myself going in there bringing my American-style type play which is a lot louder and a lot more aggressive than they play. But it definitely prepared me to work hard and just to care about your teammates and be there and push through adversity together."
Jeter will depart for Finland August 15 and her season begins in October.
A First-Team All-SEC and AVCA All-America Honorable Mention honoree in 2011,
Leslie Cikra will be playing for Istres Ouest Provence Volley in France.
"I am very excited to be given the opportunity to continue my volleyball career abroad in the South of France," Cikra said. "Playing against highly ranked competition and some of the best players in the country each of my four years at Tennessee allowed me to prepare for the professional volleyball to come. I'm really looking forward to what the next few months will bring."
During her senior campaign, Cikra was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week on two occasions, as well as honored as the 2012 SpringHill Suites at Arundel Mills Invitational MVP. The native of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, was also a member of the U.S. National A2 Training Team in 2011.
Cikra concluded her Tennessee career with 266 blocks and 908 kills. Through her four years, she averaged 2.18 kills per set and 0.64 blocks per set.
Cikra will be joining another former Lady Vol, Yuliya Stoyanova, on Istres Ouest Provence Volley team.
This past Spring, DeeDee Harrison wrapped up her first season playing professionally overseas for Chamalieres Volleyball Club in Chamalieres, France.
"My first year playing was amazing!" Harrison said. "It is an amazing feeling knowing the work that I put in at Tennessee completely prepared me for everything with my new team; it was like already knowing the answers to the test! The best thing Tennessee did for me was prepare me mentally for a highly competitive environment and I thank them for that."
The Nashville-product led the team in blocks in 2012 with 122 total rejections for a career-best 1.27 blocks per set average, the program's highest single-season mark in the rally scoring era. She finished her Lady Vol career seventh on UT's all-time blocks list (372) and fourth in career rejections per set average (1.08). Her career hitting percentage mark of .303 ranks her eighth all-time in the program.
Harrison was the first in-state recruit during head coach Rob Patrick's tenure at Rocky Top.