Rodriguez is the third signee for the program and the first for the Golden Eagles in the late signing period.

    The University of Minnesota Crookston volleyball team announced the signing of Melissa Rodriguez (MH, 6-0, Sarchi, Costa Rica/Otero Junior College (Colo.) to a National Letter of Intent. Rodriguez is the third signee for the program and the first for the Golden Eagles in the late signing period. Rodriguez gives Coach Sarah Rauen another strong option in the middle heading into the 2018 season. Rodriguez joins Porsha Porath (OH, 6-1, Windom, Minn./Windom H.S.) and Hannah Stark (OH, 5-10, Esko, Minn.) as signees for the Golden Eagles.

    “We are very excited to add Melissa to the Golden Eagle family,” Rauen said. “We believe she will be a great addition to our program. Melissa adds depth and talent to our team, and we look forward to her contributions on the court, in the classroom, and in the community.”

    Rodriguez will have two years of eligibility for the Golden Eagles. She joins a middle hitter group that includes returning starters Callie Schapekahm (Sr., MH, Eagan, Minn.) and Kaitlin Sikkink (R-Jr., MH, St. Charles, Minn.). Lauren Wallace (R-Fr., OH/MH, Bloomington, Minn.) also has the ability to play in the middle. All four players have the ability to play on the right side. Rodriguez was an NJCAA All-Region performer at Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colo. She gives the Golden Eagles immediate competition at the spot and allows the Minnesota Crookston volleyball team to have more versatility with line-ups for the 2018 season.

    The Golden Eagles are heading into Coach Rauen’s second season with the program. Minnesota Crookston is looking to improve on a 7-21 (4-15 NSIC) record in 2017. The Golden Eagles return nine players from last season's team as they look to continue to show improvement from last season. Minnesota Crookston returns three players with significant starting experience in Schapekahm, Ali Schueler (R-Jr., DS/Lib., Howards Grove, Wis.) and Sikkink. Deaira Gresham (So., OH, Maplewood, Minn.) also logged significant time as a freshman for Minnesota Crookston. Schapekahm notched 1.28 kills and 0.54 blocks per set as a junior. Sikkink tallied 1.47 kills and 0.59 blocks per set in 2017, while Schueler notched 1.88 digs per set. Gresham tallied 1.57 kills and 1.21 digs per set.

    The Golden Eagles also return Sabrina Leuer (R-Jr., OH, Hamel, Minn.) from injury, who looks to factor into the lineup for Minnesota Crookston. Sydney Kruisselbrink (So., S, Rochester, Minn.) and Katie Lienemann (So., DS/Lib., Rosemount, Minn.) saw limited time in their first seasons with the squad, while Lauren Wallace (R-So., MH/OH, Bloomington, Minn.) and Alyssa Thomas (R-So., OH, Marion, Iowa) sat out last season. All four players look to push to see the court this season. Rodriguez, Porath and Stark will all compete with the returnees to see the floor in 2018.

Melissa Rodriguez (MH, 6-0, Sarchi, Costa Rica/Otero Junior College (Colo.)

    Rodriguez was a two-year member of the volleyball team at Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colo. She started 30 matches as a sophomore with 109 sets played. Rodriguez notched 216 kills for an average of 1.98 kills per set. She hit .202 on the season and notched 91 blocks for 0.83 blocks per set. Rodriguez was a First Team All-Region pick as a sophomore for the Rattlers. She had a season-high 16 kills against Hesston College, and she also added five blocks. Rodriguez tallied 15 kills versus Sheridan College. She notched a season-high six blocks on three occasions for the Rattlers. As a freshman, Rodriguez helped Otero Junior College to a 24-16 mark. She played in 38 matches with 141 sets played. Rodriguez averaged 1.59 kills per set with a total of 224 kills. She hit .233 for her freshman season. Rodriguez tallied 0.69 blocks per set as a freshman. She earned First Team All-Region Tournament in 2016.

    Rodriguez is the daughter of Rose Mary Chavarria and Mario Rodriguez. She plans to major in early childhood education. Rodriguez was born Sept. 2, 1997. Her mother Rose Mary Chavarria served as Costa Rica’s team captain for the national volleyball team. Rodriguez is originally from Sarchi, Sarchi Sur, Costa Rica.