Six newcomers are set to join the University of Tennessee at Martin volleyball program this fall as Zara McCauley, Abby Freund, Maddy Gladson, Ella McFarland, Makaelah Paulino and Kylie Surratt will suit up for the Skyhawks during the 2024 campaign.          

All six players will enroll at UT Martin this fall while the latter five will result in the largest class of true freshmen on a Skyhawk volleyball roster since the 2020-21 season under head coach Jaclynn Wilson.

Zara McCauley, OH, 5-8, Sr., Mount Barker, South Australia (Cameron)

Spent last season at Cameron University, a NCAA Division II program located in Lawton, Okla….Played under head coach Nathan Martell, collecting 66 kills, 109 digs, 14 service aces and eight blocks over 52 sets…Managed season-highs of 10 kills and a .280 hitting percentage against Minnesota State on Sept. 8…Piled up double-digit digs on five separate occasions (all in her first eight matches of the season) with a season-best 16 scoops against both Newman (Sept. 2) and New Mexico Highlands (Sept. 8)…Landed season-highs of three service aces and three blocks at Missouri Southern State on Sept. 1, which was one of her four matches with multiple aces…Played the 2022 campaign at Post University, a NCAA Division II institution in Waterbury, Conn….Saw playing time in 72 sets, dialing up 88 kills, 130 digs, 14 service aces and nine blocks under head coach Tiffany Verni…Best game of the 2022 season came on Aug. 27 when she managed season-high tallies in kills (13) and digs (18) at Queens for one of her two double-doubles…Reached double figures in the kills column three times and had 10 or more digs on five different occasions…Served up two or more aces four times in 2022, including a season-best three aces at Georgian Court on Sept. 23…Rejected a season-high four blocks at Southern Connecticut State on Sept. 2…Played her first two collegiate seasons alongside current Skyhawk teammate Jenna Vallée at Indian Hills Community College, located in Ottumwa, Iowa…Helped the Warriors post a 34-21 overall record in her tenure under head coach Lyndsey Michel, including a 20-12 mark in 2021…Slammed down 70 kills with 11 digs and nine blocks in 37 sets as a sophomore…Produced four double-digit kill outings – all in an eight-match stretch from Oct. 1 through Oct. 18…Season-high of 12 kills came in a three-set sweep over No. 17 ranked Mineral Area on Oct. 2…Hit .364 with 11 kills (just three errors in 22 swings) at Highland on Oct. 8…Had three blocks in a sweep over Kirkwood on Oct. 22…Accumulated 30 kills, 31 digs, four service aces and five blocks in 30 sets during her true freshman campaign in the spring of 2021…Went through a productive three-match stretch from Feb. 28 through March 7 where she managed 23 of her 30 kills on the season, including a near double-double with season-highs of nine kills and 11 digs at Ellsworth on March 7…Prepped at Heathfield High School, where she played for head coach Lachlan Abbott…Won Most Valuable Player accolades at the Australian Volleyball Schools Cup Open Honour Girls, Victorian Volleyball Cup, Mount Lofty Reserves and Mount Lofty State League Juniors events as a senior…Also was named MVP of the 2018 State League Juniors event.

“Zara is a pure athlete,” Wilson said. “Her athleticism is going to elevate the competition in our gym every day. I wish we had more than one year with Zara but we are thrilled to welcome an experienced player like her to the program.”

Abby Freund, L/DS, 5-5, Fr., St. Peters, Mo. (Incarnate Word Academy)

Was a key contributor to an Incarnate Word Academy squad that won its 12th overall state championship and first since 2005 last fall…Played for head coach Shane Weber and assistant coach Emily Keaton (a former UT Martin standout from 2011-14)…Helped the Red Knights go 31-10-1 en route to the Class 4 state title in 2023, following up on a 29-13 mark during her junior season…Registered 1,256 digs, 197 assists and 176 service aces in her career, achieving one all-state accolade, three all-conference nods and four mentions on the all-district team...Collected 1,089 digs in her final two seasons alone, accounting for 4.44 digs per set over that span…Was responsible for 20-plus digs six times during the 2023 regular season, including a high of 27 scoops against St. Joseph’s on Oct. 14…Served up a career-best 103 service aces during her senior campaign, including eight aces in three sets against McCluer on Oct. 21…Career-high of 565 digs (4.5 per set) came as a junior, posting six matches of 20 or more scoops…Single match career-best 34 digs occurred against Jackson on Sept. 30, 2022 while she also reached the 30-dig plateau against Lutheran South (31 on Oct. 13, 2022).

“Abby is ready to come in and fight for playing time,” Wilson said. “She will bring a great volleyball IQ and a next-level aggressiveness to our program. I’m anticipating Abby to be a fan favorite to watch with the way she gets after it.”

Maddy Gladson, OPP, 6-0, Fr., St. Louis, Mo. (Ladue Horton Watkins HS)

Was a standout under head coach Chris Geisz at Ladue Horton Watkins High School…Accumulated 173 kills, 162 digs, 59 service aces and 40 blocks during her senior season…Dialed up four double-doubles for the Rams in 2023, including season-highs of 14 kills and 16 digs against Parkway Central on Sept. 5…Also slammed down a season-best 14 kills against Fox (Sept. 14) and Pattonville (Sept. 27) as part of seven double-digit kill performances as a senior…Came away with 15 kills against Notre Dame during her junior season (Sept. 19, 2022)…Snagged a double-double (12 kills, 10 digs) against Parkway South as a junior (Sept. 22, 2022)…Posted a season-best six service aces and seven blocks against Parkway South on Sept. 26…Led the team with 177 kills while adding 316 digs, 35 blocks and 28 service aces as a sophomore in 2021…Earned four double-doubles, including both matches where she delivered a season-high 15 kills (20 digs against Parkway Central on Oct. 5, 2021, 16 digs against Fox on Oct. 13, 2021)…Registered a season-best 30 digs against St. Joseph’s on Oct. 22, 2021 – which was one of six matches where she came away with at least 20 digs…Generated a season-high six service aces in only three sets against MICDS on Sept. 22, 2021.

“Maddy is a big offensive weapon,” Wilson said. “We think she can make an immediate impact but we also know she is just scratching the surface of her potential so that is very exciting.”

Ella McFarland, OPP/S, 5-11, Fr., Danville, Ill. (Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin Community HS)

Coming off a remarkably productive career under head coach Anna Showers at Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin Community High School…Helped lead the Blue Devils to their ninth regional championship (first since 2012) as a senior…Shattered the program record for most kills in a season (362) as a senior, leading the Vermilion Valley Conference with a 4.7 kills-per-set average on a .293 hitting percentage…Also broke the school record with 24 kills in a single match during her senior season…Ended her stellar prep career ranking third in BHRA history with 569 kills while ranking fourth all-time in both assists (1,094) and service aces (157)…Was an all-area first team selection and a unanimous All-Vermillion Country honoree after chipping in 295 assists, 197 digs, 59 blocks and 40 service aces during her senior campaign…Led the way with a match-high 10 kills, seven assists, three blocks and a pair of service aces in the IHSA Class 2A Westville Regional championship match…Landed a career-best 56 service aces (in just 63 sets) while also distributing a career-high 470 assists (7.5 per set) as a junior…Helped guide the Blue Devils to a combined 49-16 record over her final two seasons, including a 19-5 mark in conference play…Also captured all-conference first team accolades as a junior and an all-conference special mention during her freshman season in 2021…Also was a track standout as the two-time all-state honoree set a school record in the triple jump and qualified for the 2024 state championship in both high jump and triple jump.

“Ella’s athleticism is second to none – she’s fast and can really get up,” Wilson said. “She’s going to elevate our program with her athletic play and we’re excited to train with her this fall.”

Makaelah Paulino, L/DS, 5-7, Fr., Peoria, Ariz. (Liberty HS)

Joins the Skyhawks one season after her older sister Haeleigh graduated from the program…Achieved 335 digs and 74 service aces in her final two seasons at Liberty High School, where she played for head coach Chris Brown…Was voted as a Class 6A Desert Valley Region honorable mention selection during her senior campaign, helping the Lions go 7-3 in region play and 11-5 against conference foes…Set career-highs in digs (259, 3.0 per set) and service aces (49) while also distributing 60 assists in 2023…Helped Liberty finish with an 8-2 regional record and 11-5 conference mark during her junior season…Played her senior club season for the Arizona Sky Volleyball Academy out of Phoenix as that program won the Junior National Championship while competing in the 18’s National Division at the event held in Baltimore, Md.

“Makaelah is a fierce competitor,” Wilson said. “She’s a Paulino so it’s in her blood. She ended her club career winning a national championship and competing on a big stage – I am proud of her accomplishments and am excited for her to bring that championship mentality into our gym.”

Kylie Surratt, OH, 6-0, Fr., Maryland Heights, Mo. (Pattonville HS)

Racked up an impressive résumé at Pattonville High School, earning American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American accolades as a senior…Was a three-time conference Player of the Year while earning all-district honors four times in her remarkable career under head coach Jenell Franken, shattering the school records for career kills, most career matches played, match kills and match blocks…Recorded 1,418 kills on a .282 attack percentage, 1,075 digs, 216 service aces, 167 blocks and 86 assists in her prep career…Combined for 1,322 kills in her final three seasons alone (4.32 per set), helping the Pirates go 77-25-5 (.743 winning percentage) during that span…Brought home all-state first team accolades and AVCA All-Region status as a senior, amassing a career-highs of 493 kills (4.6 per set) and 401 digs (3.7 per set)…Compiled 13 double-doubles in 2023 and seven matches with at least 20 kills…Came away with a season-high 23 kills (in four sets) against Francis Howell North on Sept. 18 while achieving a season-best 24 digs against Fox on Sept. 7…Additionally produced 17 kills in just two sets (8.5 per set) against Summit on Sept. 21…Hit a career-best .337 with 433 kills with 12 double-doubles as a junior…Went off for 31 kills against Francis Howell Central on Sept. 6, 2022 (one of five matches with at least 20 kills in 2022)…Was responsible for nine service aces in three-set appearances against both McCluer North (Sept. 20, 2022) and Hazelwood Central (Oct. 4, 2022)…Landed a career-high 78 service aces during her sophomore campaign, adding four double-doubles and five matches of 20 or more kills…Slammed down a season-best 25 kills against Fort Zumwalt East on Oct. 4, 2021 while tallying 22 kills in three sets (7.33 per set) against Parkway Central on Sept. 17, 2021…Was a defensive force as a freshman, posting a career-high 50 blocks (1.6 per set) to go along with 5.1 digs per set.

“Kylie is stronger physically than our typical incoming freshmen,” Wilson said. “She has great size, volleyball IQ and demonstrates the best qualities of a team player. We’re excited to see how that translates during her freshman campaign.”          

These six will join Katie Cruise (Charlotte, NC/Appalachian State), Tess McConnell (St. Louis, Mo./Kansas City) and Dylan Sulcer (Brentwood, Tenn./Dallas Baptist) as newcomers on the 2024 UT Martin volleyball roster.