BAKERSFUIELD, Calif.- With outside hitter Debora Araujo (Jr., Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Western Nebraska C.C.) and setter Fernanda Gonçalves (Jr., Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Western Nebraska C.C.) making such a big impact on the CSU Bakersfield volleyball program after transferring from Western Nebraska Community College prior to the 2012 season, the Roadrunners have once again dipped into the Cougar recruiting pool and landed star outside hitter Danika Youngblood.
Youngblood, a National Junior College Athletic Association and American Volleyball Coaches Association first-team All-American, has transferred to CSUB and will be playing for the Roadrunners in 2013. She is already enrolled in the winter quarter at CSUB and is eligible to play this spring in the Roadrunners' inaugural sand volleyball season, in addition to the indoor season in the fall.
"Danika is a great addition to our team and we are truly blessed to have her already here competing in the sand with us and working into our spring training," said CSUB head volleyball coach Jolene Shepardson. "She fits into our offense well as a fast, dynamic outside hitter who has many offensive ways to score. Her natural athleticism and inner determination makes her an impressive blocker as well. With her talent, our training and our team's good chemistry, 2013 is going to be a fun year."
Youngblood, a 5-foot-9 sophomore from South Jordan, Utah, put up incredible numbers last season with Western Nebraska. She posted 474 kills, which put her at third most in the nation, along with 401 digs, 37 blocks and 24 aces. Youngblood was also ranked third in the country in kills per set (4.05) and total attacks (1,166), along with being eighth in points per set (4.4) while totaling 520 points. Overall, she totaled 18 double-doubles with kills and digs. Her outstanding individual stats also led to team wins as Youngblood helped lead the Cougars to a 40-3 record and guided them into the national tournament, where they finished as runner-up.
In 2011, Youngblood played for the Cougars with Araujo and Gonçalves, two more star players who earned All-American status before coming to CSUB. That season, as a freshman, Youngblood compiled 384 kills, 354 digs, 32 blocks and 21 aces in helping Western Nebraska Community College win the Region IX Championship.
In December, Youngblood was named to the Nebraska World-Herald's All-Division II volleyball team. She was also named an honorary captain of the squad. The team was voted on by lower division college coaches in Nebraska.
Araujo and Gonçalves made an immediate impact for CSUB in 2012, helping lead the Roadrunners to an improved 14-17 record. Araujo served as the attacking leader for the 'Runners with team-high numbers in kills (475), kills per set (4.13) and service aces (28). She also added 245 digs, which was second-best on the squad, and 73 blocks, which was third-best. Gonçalves stepped up as the catalyst for the offense just as quickly, leading the team in assists with 1,161 for an average of 10.1 per set. She also added 187 digs, 85 kills, 57 blocks and 24 aces. In 2013, Youngblood, the daughter of Utah State basketball great Kendall Youngblood, figures to add even more attacking power to the CSUB lineup.