Volleyball Announces Three in Class

by Brandon Berrio
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Volleyball Announces Three in Class

BATON ROUGE – Head coach Fran Flory and the LSU volleyball program announced the signing of Nicole Decker, Taylor Bannister and Raigen Cianciulli for the 2017 season during the November signing period.

“This is an outstanding class to supplement our current roster,” Flory said. “Adding a significant offensive weapon, in Taylor, who can terminate, along with two very good defensive players will provide an immediate impact to our team for the 2017 season and beyond.”

The trio that is set to join the team in the summer is comprised of a middle blocker, libero, and dual sport indoor defensive and beach player. Bannister leads the way for the signing class as prepvolleyball.com’s 13th-ranked recruit of the class as a senior ace.

Bannister, a 6-foot 6 middle blocker out of Missouri City, Texas and Texas Premier Volleyball Cub, is a two-sport athlete for Fort Bend Christian Academy where she plays volleyball and runs track. The daughter of Ken and Pennie Bannister, who both played professional basketball, Taylor Bannister has helped lead her high school team to a 57-15-1 record the last two seasons.

Individually, Bannister was the MVP of the district in 2015 and offensive MVP for FBCA. Most recently Bannister was named an Under Armour Second Team All-American. FBCA has dominated district play with three-straight district championships and has made appearances in the TAPPS 4A State Championship match in 2014 and 2015. Bannister and the Lady Eagles will compete in the semifinal match on Friday.

“We are thrilled to add Taylor to our LSU Volleyball family. She is an elite level athlete who will have an immediate impact on our team. At 6’6” she is a dominant force playing above the net, while at the same time possessing the ability to pass and defend. She is a smooth athlete who is truly made to play this sport. She is one of the most impactful athletes to join our program in many years.

Cianciulli is a libero, an Under Armour Second Team All-American, and a prepvolleyball.com senior ace out of the Woodlands, Texas. A four-time letter winner under Tommie Sledge at Oak Ridge High School, Cianciulli owns more than 2,500 digs, 150 aces, 55 kills and 250 assists over her career.

Cianciulli has been a part of more than 130 wins with Oak Ridge High School, including a perfect record of 45-0 in her senior campaign. Individually, Cianciulli is a three-time district MVP and has been the defensive player of the year in her district the last two seasons. In addition to her success at the high school level, Cianciulli also plays for Skyline Volleyball Club.

“We are excited to add Raigen to our LSU volleyball family,” Flory said. “She is an outstanding ball control player and defender. Her physicality, toughness, and tenacious competitiveness will allow her to have an immediate impact. She is a winner and she will make a huge difference for our team next year and in the years to come.”

While she plays outside hitter for her high school and the Boomers Volleyball Club, Decker will transition to the back row in indoor and also play beach collegiately. As an outside hitter, Decker has helped Calvary Christian Academy to district championships in 2012 and 2016. Individually the Coral Springs, Florida native was named to the second team All-County team in 2015 and was selected as an honorable mention All-County team member in 2014.

“We are excited to add Nicole to our indoor team and our beach team,” Flory said. “She is a versatile athlete who will provide outstanding ball control to our indoor team and versatility to our beach team. She is a quiet leader who the team will always be able to count on.

For all of the latest news and information on Tiger volleyball, visit www.lsusports.net/volleyball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsuvolleyball along with @lsuvolleyball and @lsucoachfran on Twitter and @lsuvb on Instagram.