GREENVILLE, N.C. – The East Carolina volleyball program has welcomed seven newcomers into the fold in preparation for the 2023 campaign, according to an announcement Tuesday by head coach Adler Augustin.
The incoming recruiting class is comprised of six prep commitments and one transfer student-athlete.
“The class of 2023 is a special class,” Augustin said. “This group is super competitive, fun to watch and academically driven. They are all winners, and their track records speak for themselves. Each student-athlete is committed to this program’s vision to be a champion on and off the court. Not only are they excellent volleyball players, but they are phenomenal young women. Pirate volleyball just got better today. I am honored to become their coach and cannot wait for them to wear Purple and Gold.”
Ekwe Anwah | 5-10 | Middle Blocker | Coppell, Texas (Coppell High School)
- Played two years of varsity volleyball for head coach Robyn Ross at Coppell High School.
- Tallied 191 kills and 90 blocks her senior season in helping the Cowboys to a 26-12 overall record.
- Earned 6-6A all-district second-team honors as a senior.
- Her father Joseph Anwah was a track and field athlete at VMI while her mother Celestina Anwah was a member of the track and field program at Eastern Kentucky University.
Farah Farooq | 6-1 | Middle Blocker | Houston, Texas (Episcopal High School)
- Played two years of varsity volleyball for head coach Cydryce McMillian at Episcopal High School.
- Tallied 366 kills and 84 blocks her senior season, earning Greater Houston Private School Player of the Year honors and leading the Knights to a 37-5 overall record and 9-0 district mark.
- Helped Episcopal to the 2019 and 2022 Southwest Preparatory Conference titles.
- Named to the AVCA All-American Watch List in 2022 as well as the GHVCA Preseason and Postseason Teams.
- Competed for Houston Juniors.
Aulie Huff | 6-1 | Right Side | Suffolk, Va. (Kings Fork High School)
- Played four years of varsity volleyball for head coach Nikka Gatling at Kings Fork High School.
- Served as team captain for three seasons.
- Tallied 163 kills, 72 aces, 60 digs and 27 blocks to go along with a .304 hitting percentage her senior season.
- Posted 31 kills, nine aces, four blocks and two digs in the team’s 2022 season-opening four-set win over Nansemond River.
- Named the Bulldogs’ Rookie of the Year in 2019.
- Tabbed the team MVP her junior and senior seasons while earning all-district and all-region honors in her final campaign.
Elle Jackson | 5-7 | Defensive Specialist/Libero | Louisville, Ky. (Our Lady of Mercy Academy)
- Played three years of varsity volleyball for head coach Connie Hulsmeyer at Our Lady of Mercy Academy.
- Tallied 739 digs and 87 aces during her prep career.
- Named a Prep Dig Libero on the Rise as a freshman.
- Helped lead the Jaguars to the state championship game her junior season and was tabbed to both the KVCA Preseason and all-state watch lists.
- Was a district and region champion with Our Lady of Mercy her senior year and a district champion her sophomore season.
Francesca McBride | 6-3 | Right Side | Detroit, Mich. (Mississippi State University)
- Transferred to East Carolina from Mississippi State where she played four seasons for the Bulldogs.
- Has two years of eligibility remaining.
- Appeared in 53 matches and started two contests, tallying 115 kills, 70 blocks and 55 digs.
- Helped Mississippi State to a 25-6 overall record, 16-2 mark in the SEC and a NCAA Tournament appearance in 2021.
- Notched five kills at Tennessee on Nov. 19, 2022.
- Exploded for 11 kills and a .588 hitting percentage at Arkansas in Mississippi State’s 3-1 victory over the Razorbacks on Nov. 21, 2021.
- Prepped at Troy High School under the direction of head coach Tom Vigilant, helping the squad to a pair of district titles as a sophomore and junior.
- Named a PrepVolleyball.com Senior Ace as one of the Top 150 players in her class.
- Slotted the No. 7 player in the state of Michigan by Detroit News her sophomore prep campaign.
- PrepVolleyball.com named her one of five right side hitters in its 2018 list of top 50 junior recruits
- Tabbed a Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association All-Region selection following junior and senior seasons.
Emma Norris | 6-1 | Outside Hitter | Statesville, N.C. (North Iredell High School)
- Played four years of varsity volleyball for head coach Dave Markland and served as a team captain her senior season at North Iredell High School.
- Tallied 432 kills, 62 blocks and a .376 hitting percentage her senior season.
- Named the MVP of the 2022 NCHSAA 3A state championship match after putting down 25 kills to lead the Raiders to a five-set victory over J.H. Rose.
- North Iredell finished the 2022 campaign at 33-0 while securing the state, region and conference titles.
- Tabbed the 2022 NCHSAA 3A State Player of the Year.
- Garnered a bevy of recognition her junior season, including first team all-county, first team all-conference, all-conference tournament team, conference tournament MVP, conference offensive player of the year, Iredell County Player of the Year, NIHS Most Valuable Offensive Player of the Year and honorable mention all-state accolades.
- Selected to the all-conference and all-county first teams as a sophomore and the all-county second team as a freshman.
- Also garnered varsity letters in swimming and softball.
- Her father, Scott Norris, played football at Georgia Tech and Concord University.
Ellie Pate | 5-10 | Outside Hitter | Auburn, Ala. (Auburn High School)
- Played for years of varsity volleyball and was a team captain for head coach Tommy Carter at Auburn High School.
- Tallied 1,575 kills, 1,206 digs, 207 aces and 171 blocks during her prep career.
- Became the first player from Auburn High School to sign with a NCAA Division I program.
- Ranked the top player in the state of Alabama.
- Named the South MVP of the AHSAA North-South All-Star Game while earning USAV Nationals All-Tournament Team, first team all-state and all-area MVP honors her senior year.
- Tabbed an AVCA All-American in 2022.
- Garnered first team all-state accolades and was an AVCA Phenom selection as a junior while picking up a spot on the USAV High Performance All-Tournament Team.
- Collected an AVCA Phenom selection and was the area MVP her sophomore campaign.
- Led Auburn to the first of four-straight state elite eight finishes as a freshman while earning a place on the all-area tournament team.
- Her father, Rob Pate, was a four-year starter and All-SEC defensive back at Auburn University from 1997-2000 and played for the San Diego Chargers in 2001.
- Her mother, Dana Pate, is a two-time Boston Marathon finisher while also participating in the Marine Corps Marathon.