While Athletes Unlimited Volleyball heads into its upcoming season, and League One will announce its sixth and final club for next year, Pro Volleyball Federation that continued to make news these past few weeks.
PVF announced Devonie McLarty as director of officials. Other than being the target of fans’ misplaced anger, she will serve as a liaison between league teams, coaches, and officials. It will be her responsibility to establish an effective system of observing the performance of officials, line judges, and scorers as well as training and grading them.
McLarty’s longtime officiating experience includes working in the NCAA, NJCAA, and NAIA and FIVB, and she is a member of the Professional Association of Volleyball Officials board of directors.
“We are thrilled to have attracted someone the caliber of Devonie to be our director of officials,” said Dr. Cecile Reynaud, Pro Volleyball Federation’s vice president of volleyball operations. “Devonie’s background and experience speaks for itself, and she has so much enthusiasm and excitement about joining Pro Volleyball Federation, and about officiating overall.”
PVF has brought on former Stanford and USA great Logan Tom as its director of international development and player strategy. Tom, who played in 12 countries and has been coaching Israel, will, according to the PVF, cultivate relationships with other volleyball agencies and federations both domestic and foreign, and act as a liaison between those organizations and PVF players with a focus on player safety and wellness.
Tom, a International Volleyball Hall of Famer who, at 19, became the youngest woman ever to be selected to the USA Olympic team, made her Olympic debut at the 2000 Sydney Games. Tom played in four Olympics and was on the USA teams that won silver medals in 2008 and 2012.
At the team level, at the end-of-business on Tuesday, August 29, (Volleyball Day in Nebraska Eve) the PVF’s Omaha Supernovas announced they had sold over 2,750 season tickets on their first official day of sale. You know, just in case anyone doubted Nebraskans likes their volleyball.
The Orlando Valkyries have been busy. They announced Gordon Mayforth as an assistant. Mayforth has 21 years of coaching experience with stops in Greece, Japan, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Cyprus.
Orlando also has signed players as it comes close to filling out a roster that includes:
— Former Indiana libero Paula Cerame;
— Wilma Rivera, who played at Louisville and Penn State and who has played professionally in Germany, Sweden, France, and Puerto Rico;
— Rice setter Carly Graham, who is currently an assistant at Texas State and played pro last year in Montegro; and former Purdue middle Blake Mohler, who has played in Germany, Switzerland and France;
— Kentucky middle Kaz Brown, who will also play for Athletes Unlimited in the fall. Browns has played pro in the Ukraine, Germany, France, and Greece;
— Canadian opposite Shaïnah Joseph, who played at Florida and has played in Bulgaria, Taipei, the Philippines, Japa, and France;
— Aury Cruz, who has played AU and will again. The Puerto Rican outside has spent time in Italy, Spain, South Korea, and Azerbaijan;
— Outside Vanessa Agbortabi, who has played for five different pro teams in her home country of Germany as well as in France and Türkiye;
— Madison Villines, who played at Kansas and has played for AU and in Puerto Rico;
— Carly Skjodt, the former Michigan standout now playing pro beach;
— Adeola Owokoniran, the Duke product who has played in Finland.
The Grand Rapids Rise brought on former Penn State middle Nia Grant, whose pro career has taken her to Thailand, France, Germany, Poland and Italy. Since the Athletes Unlimited 2021 season, she cut back after the birth of her daughter.
“With this being the inaugural season of PVF, I’m excited to be able to play and help the younger players develop so they can lead this league for years to come,” Grant said. “I’m extremely honored that coach Cathy (George) would want me around for this special moment and give me a chance to play postpartum, because a lot of people are hesitant about how women can perform after having a baby. I know that she believes in me, and I can’t wait to do my best for her and this team.”
One of Grand Rapids’ earliest signees, Symone Abbott, is a volunteer coach this season at IUPUI.
“I really needed a place to train at a high level before the PVF season starts, and I also needed that place to be close to home, and IUPUI was the perfect solution,” Abbott said. “Practices have already began and everything’s going super well. It’s mutually beneficial because I get to train, and I also get to share some things I’ve learned with the girls while actively competing with them during practice. I’m very happy to be here!”
The Columbus Fury have brought a couple more Buckeyes into the fold. OSU Hall of Famer and former assistant coach Audrey Flaugh is now the team’s community cmbassador.
Former Ohio State outside Kylie Randall will be putting her bachelor’s degree in communication analysis and practice to use as VP of marketing and communications.
The Fury also signed Kayla Lund, the former Pitt great, who was a two-time ACC MVP and most recently played in Switzerland.