Jan. 16, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- UAB volleyball head coach Kerry Messersmith recently announced that Bethanie Thomas of South Carolina and Sara Rishell of American University will transfer and join the Blazers for the 2013 season.
Bethanie Thomas, OH
Thomas is the younger sister of Heather Thomas, one, if not the greatest libero in program history who played for the Blazers from 2008-11.
Bethanie, who stands 6-foot-1, played the last two seasons at South Carolina as an outside hitter. This past season Thomas ranked second on the Gamecocks in kills averaging 2.22 per set and third in digs, posting 2.51 per a frame on average.
In addition, she added four double-doubles including a 14-kill, 13-dig outing vs. Alabama back on Oct. 12.
Thomas, a native of Huntsville, Ala., played at Bob Jones High School where she earned all-state honors in 2007 and 2008.
Sara Rishell, MB
Rishell played the last two seasons at American University of the Patriot League, where she was a two-time all-conference selection at middle blocker.
This past season, Rishell started 25 of 32 matches and competed in 105 of a possible 112 sets. Rishell, a native of Smithsburg, Md., averaged a team-best 2.96 kills per set and ranked second on the team in total blocks (85).
In 2012 she led the Eagles to the Patriot League Championship match, where American lost to Colgate in a thrilling five-set contest, with the deciding frame being decided by a score of 20-18. In that contest, Rishell posted 13 kills and added three block assists.
Rishell's numbers were even more impressive in league play compared to overall, connecting for 3.28 kills per set, third best in the Patriot League.
As a true freshman at American, Rishell produced an outstanding season, earning Patriot League Player of the Year honors, Freshman of the Year, Tournament Player of the Year along with capturing all-conference accolades.