WACO, Texas - Baylor volleyball head coach Ryan McGuyre announced the addition of junior transfer outside hitter Gia Milana and freshman defensive specialist Emily Van Slate to the 2018 fall roster Friday afternoon.
Both players will join the team in the summer and are immediately eligible to compete with the Bears.
Milana, a Romeo, Mich., native and two-year starter at Maryland, started all 64 matches for the Terrapins and led the team in kills during her freshman and sophomore seasons, putting up 3.91 and 3.14 kills per set. She also contributed on the back row, compiling 15 double-doubles during her time at Maryland. She was named to the 2016 Big Ten All-Freshman Team and received All-Big Ten Honorable Mention recognition her freshman season.
"We are absolutely thrilled about the addition of Gia Milana to our 2018 roster," McGuyre said. "Gia will be adding incredible strength, power and experience to an already dynamic squad. Her ability to terminate from both the front and back row will fit extremely well into our system."
Milana was the No. 15 overall recruit in the Class of 2016 by PrepVolleyball.com and was an Under Armour First Team All-American her senior year at Romeo High School. She was also named the Michigan Gatorade Player of the Year, a PrepVolleyball.com High School All-American and the top-ranked player in the state of Michigan.
"Having already battled for several seasons in a tough conference, she brings healthy knowledge of the game and a proven record of success at the highest level. Most importantly, I find such great joy in knowing how well Gia is a fit with our team and our desire to compete for something bigger than ourselves. She sees the bigger picture and her personality and character radiates with a brilliance we have all fallen in love with so quickly."
A Houston, Texas, native, Van Slate is a Cypress Ridge High School product who was voted the VYPE NW Houston Player of the Year during her senior season. She was also named the Most Valuable Hitter by VYPE in 2017.
"Baylor Volleyball will be blessed by adding Emily and her family to our program. The championship sprit of the Bear resides in her and her dynamic ability to perform a wide array of skills will be extremely valuable."
A four-time All-District pick and the District 17-6A Attacker of the Year, she played club volleyball for the Texas Tornadoes and 17 Mizuno during her high school career. Van Slate was selected to the TAVC All-Star Team and tabbed a PrepVolleyball.com "Next 150" recruit.
"Emily Van Slate is an athlete that captures the entire sprit of what it means to be a Baylor Bear," McGuyre said. "She is a fierce and competitive warrior. Though undersized at outside hitter by some people's standards, she finds a way to win and outwork her opponents. Her relentless style of defense is as never-ending as her desire to selflessly serve those around her."
Milana and Van Slate joins a Baylor volleyball team that has advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round for two straight years and earned its highest finish in Big 12 action in program history during the 2017 season.
Follow the team on social media for a behind-the-scenes look: @BaylorVball.