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L to R: Denise Belcher, Alex Holston, Shaïnah Joseph

Friday November 16, 2012Florida Volleyball Signs Three Future Gators to National Letters of Intent

Gainesville, Fla.

L to R: Denise Belcher, Alex Holston, Shaïnah Joseph

The University of Florida volleyball team has signed standouts Denise Belcher, Alex Holston and Shaïnah Joseph (pronounced Shine-ah) to National Letters of Intent to join the Gator volleyball team in 2013, head coach Mary Wise announced on Friday.


“In Alex, Denise, and Shaïnah, we bring in three talented, athletic players that have the ability to make a significant impact on our program,” Wise said.




Denise Belcher



Apopka, Fla. (Apopka High School)

Orlando Volleyball Academy

Alex Holston



Olney, Md. (Sherwood High School)

Metro American

Shaïnah Joseph



Ottawa, Ontario (École Secondaire Catholique Franco-Cité)

Ottawa Mavericks


Belcher is a 5-foot-11 outside hitter from Apopka High School in Apopka, Fla. Belcher is a member of the Orlando Volleyball Academy, which produced current Gators Madison Monserez (Orlando, Fla.) and Jackie Swalchick (Melbourne, Fla.), as well as former Florida volleyball stars Sherri Williams, Callie Rivers and Erin Fleming. Belcher transitioned in high school from middle hitter to a six-rotation outside hitter and is No. 49 on PrepVolleyball’s Senior Aces list and was also on the Frosh 59 list in 2009. She was named the Florida 8A Break out Female Player of the Year and the Florida 8A Player of the Year in 2011, as well as the MaxPreps/AVCA High School Player of the Week last fall. For her career, Belcher has amassed 1,386 kills, 789 digs, 155 blocks and 163 aces and was the third-ranked player on Bright House Sports Network’s Top 20 H.S. Volleyball Player Countdown this fall. Belcher and her OVA 17 Asics club team won the AAU National Championship earlier this year. She is the No. 5 outside hitter in the state of Florida this year, hitting .319 with 313 kills on the year.


Holston is a 6-foot-1 right-side hitter/setter from Sherwood High School and hails from Olney, Md. A lefty who can touch 10-5 and has a 6-4 wingspan, Holston is the 2011 Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year as a six-rotation hitter and is No. 9 on PrepVolleyball’s Senior Aces list, including ranking second among both right-side hitters and setters. She is the highest-ranked signee since Kelly Murphy in 2008 and the sixth top-10 Gator recruit since PrepVolleyball’s Senior Aces was started in 2003. She was a finalist for PrepVolleyball’s National Junior of the Year in 2011 and National Sophomore of the Year in 2010. The Sherwood Warriors are the two-time defending Maryland 4A State Champions and have won 55 straight matches since Sept. 11, 2010. Holston, who plays for Metro American Volleyball Club, is a three-time MaxPreps/AVCA High School Player of the Week and is the two-time Gazette Player of the Year, 2011 Metro Player of the Year and two-time First Team All-Met. Holston has thrived under Sherwood head coach Brian McCarty, registering 874 kills, 418 digs, 166 aces and 149 blocks in her three years since the Warriors’ turnaround from a 9-7 team in 2009 to two-time state champions in 2010 (24-1) and 2011 (19-0). Sherwood is currently undefeated (18-0) heading into Saturday night’s state final and are the favorites to win the 2012 Maryland 4A State Championship behind Holston, who boasts a .508 hitting percentage in her senior season and turned in 37 kills in the semifinals Thursday night. Holston is also an experienced high jumper and was the 2010 Maryland 4A State Champion in the event. She entertained offers from 47 different programs but picked Florida because of the opportunity to play for Wise and compete in the SEC.


Joseph is a 6-foot middle blocker/outside hitter from Ottawa, Ontario. She is a current member of the Canadian Junior National Team and the Ottawa Provincial Team, and played four years for the Ottawa Mavericks Volleyball Club. Joseph was a pin hitter for the Mavericks but stayed in the middle for her three years as a member of her high school team at École Secondaire Catholique Franco-Cité. In addition to being a four-sport athlete (soccer, basketball, track & field) at École, she was also kept busy as an assistant coach for École’s junior high school team and as a member of Royal Canadian Army Cadets. She drew inspiration from her father, who is retired from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. After her career as a Gator, Joseph wants to play professional volleyball and play in the Olympics for Canada. She also considered Nebraska, Penn State, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas Tech, Arkansas and Wisconsin. Joseph is the 11th international player recruited by Wise during her 22-year tenure at Florida.


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