COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech volleyball roster grew by two when head coach John Blair announced the signing of Natalie Penrod and Elizabeth Robertson last week. The pair joins Allison May, who committed during the early signing period, in Tech’s most recent signing class.
With the loss of outside hitter Amanda Lindgren and right-side hitter Teresa Craig to graduation, Blair addressed those voids as Penrod was a four-year starter at outside hitter in high school, and Robertson played both middle blocker and right-side hitter during her high school career.
Penrod, a 5-foot-11 native of Alexandria, Ky., will come to the Golden Eagles from Campbell County High School where she played for coach Leah Ballinger. Her team’s captain and MVP, Penrod finished in the top-5 in kills in the state of Kentucky and led her team to four consecutive district championships.
A Kentucky Coaches Association second-team all-state selection as a senior, Penrod earned Region 10 Player of the Year recognition as she posted 314 kills, 267 digs, 26 aces and 41 block assists during her final prep season.
“Natalie is a player who has an all-around game,” Blair said. “She has the skill set to execute every element of the game and is only going to get better.”
Penrod collected numerous accolades during her high school career, including being named to the All-District Tournament Team three times and being named a Northern Kentucky Coaches Association All Opponent D1 Player in her final two seasons.
In addition, Penrod was a four-time Scholar Athlete Award winner and vice president of her school’s PEP Club while maintaining a 3.93 GPA.
She also had a five-year playing career with the Northern Kentucky Volleyball Club where she served as team captain her final two seasons. Penrod, the daughter of Jeff and Connie Penrod, helped her team to two USAV Junior Nationals bids and a 15th place finish in 2007.
Penrod intends to major in business at Tennessee Tech.
“She’s a high-energy player, and she plays with a level of excitement that’s contagious,” Blair said. “She really fits our system well and will add depth for us on the outside.”
Robertson, a 6-foot-2 native of Strongsville, Ohio, was a two-sport athlete at Strongsville High School, playing both volleyball and basketball. On the volleyball court, she was coached by Erick Sopata.
A player who continued to improve each year, Robertson was named first-team all-district and first team all-conference during her senior season after tallying 159 kills, 49 blocks and 30 aces. She also earned all-district honorable mention and all-conference honorable mention during her junior campaign after being named the team’s best offensive player.
“Elizabeth brings a very athletic frame is one of those players who is going to get better with every practice,” Blair said. “I think that she has a great deal of potential.”
Robertson led Strongsville to four consecutive sectional championships along with titles at the Mayfield Invitational and Independence Invitational.
Complementing her on-court accomplishments were her accomplishments in the classroom as she was a four-time recipient of her conference’s academic award.
Robertson also played for one of the better-known volleyball club teams in the state of Ohio, the Cleveland Volleyball Company.
“She comes from a very good club program and has strong mechanics,” Blair said. “She wants to win and succeed, and she is the type of player who is not trapped in a position. She has the ability to play both in the middle and on the right side.”
Robertson, the daughter of David and Teresa Robertson, intends to major in exercise science at Tech.