COLUMBIA, S.C. – Benedict College is one of a handful of schools prepping to start HBCU men’s volleyball programs.
Head men’s volleyball coach Gwendolyn Rouse has announced the addition of six players for the team’s inaugural season in 2022.
Rouse recently signed Taj Bates, Jomari Jacobs, De-Andrae Taylor, Ahijaa Sweeney, Marlon Belizaire and Kendersley Marcellin to athletic scholarships.
Bates is a 5-foot-9 libero and defensive specialist from St. Croix, Virgin Islands. Bates is also a baseball player and will split time with the baseball team and the men’s volleyball team.
Jacobs is also from St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and is a 6-foot-2 right-side hitter. Jacobs is also from St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and is a 6-foot-2 right-side hitter.
Taylor is also from St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and is a 6-foot-3 middle blocker.
Sweeney is also from St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and is a 5-foot-9 setter.
Belizaire is a 6-foot-2 outside hitter from Uniondale High School in Uniondale, New York.
“They bring a lot of depth to the team,” Rouse said. “Taj Bates is a defensive player and can pass the ball very well. He has a very high IQ for volleyball and is a leader. Ahijaa Sweeney is not that big, and may have been overlooked, but he is really going to be able to run the team. Jomari and De-Andrae are very strong up front. They bring a lot of power. Those four from the Virgin Islands have been playing together for five or six years and that is going to be a big advantage. Marlon Belizaire is a left-hander and can hit left side and right side. Kendersley Marcellin can really hit the ball.
With them, along with Benjamin (Attles, 2020-21 signee), I really feel we’ll be right at the top of the conference. This team is going to be very competitive from the start. They are all excited about coming and playing and they all have volleyball in their heart.”
The six signees will join the five current men’s volleyball players who worked out this school year in preparation for the Benedict program debut. The 2022 season will open in January 2022.
Here is more info on HBCU men’s volleyball in the SIAC.