Southern Utah University volleyball head coach Debby Baker announced the addition of two more signees for the 2014 season in Faith Ma'afala (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kamehameha) and Madi Forsythe (Bountiful, Utah/Snow College).
Ma'afala was the starting setter for Kamehameha, helping the Warriors to four consecutive state finals and back-to-back ILH and Hawaii state championships in 2012 and 2013. She played club with Imi Ike, receiving tutelage from head coach Robin Ahmaw-Santos (former setter for the U.S. Olympic team), and helped the team to a first-place finish at the 2014 Las Vegas Classic. She is the younger sister of Jasmine Ma'afala, a two-year letter winner for Southern Utah in volleyball in 2009 and 2010.
"Faith is a fierce competitor," Baker said. "She has played at a high level in both high school and club and knows what it takes to win. Faith is no stranger to winning and that work ethic will make our team more competitive and raise the level of play in the gym."
Forsythe, formerly Packard, is an incoming outside hitter from Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, where she helped the Badgers to an 18-10 record last season and a No. 15 national finish. Along the way, she collected first-team NJCAA All-American honors, second-team AVCA All-American honors, an NJCAA National Player of the Week award and a pair of SWAC Player of the Week accolades. Prior to Snow, Forsythe was a standout at Bountiful High School, earning four varsity letters, three first-team all-region honors, one second-team all-state honor and one first-team all-state nod. She is also strong in the classroom, graduating with honors from BHS and Snow.
"Madi will bring us experience on the outside," Baker said. "She is a six-rotation player and will be an offensive threat in the front and in the back row. She played in, arguably, the most competitive region in JUCO volleyball and earned first-team All-American honors — that says a lot about her level of play."
Ma'afala and Forsyth join Remo Gaogao, Katie Elgan and MaCail Wood, who inked their NLI's during the early signing period, to bring the total number of fresh faces for Southern Utah to five. The Thunderbirds open their 2014 season in Annapolis, Maryland, facing The Citadel, Navy and Providence during the final weekend of August.
Kyle Cottam is an assistant athletics media relations director at Southern Utah University. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.