“We’re very pleased to be adding two really good local volleyball players to our roster.” Wallis said. “Jessica (Landeros) and Sophie (Chacon) both come from very successful local high school programs, and were both coached by very good local coaches in Joe Morales (Chapin) and Hall of Fame coach Flo Valdez (Franklin). Not only are they solid athletes and good volleyball players but they’re both extremely smart and are great people.”
Chacon played her high school career at Franklin High School. The setter registered 1,222 assists and 9.5 assists per set in her senior season. The senior led the Cougars to a 33-13 record, and an appearance in the Area Finals of the 6A State Tournament. Chacon also played for Texas Performance VBC a very competitive club in El Paso. It qualified for the USAV National Tournament in Dallas after getting 2nd in the regional SURVA Volleyball Tournament.
“Sophie has a bubbly and smiley personality,” Wallis said. “But she’s also a fierce competitor who is a great teammate and is a good communicator. She’s athletic, fast, bright, and tries to make the tough set, which is key to being great at the collegiate level.”
Landeros posted 415 kills and a .375 hitting percentage during her senior campaign at Chapin High School. She helped lead her squad to a 31-6 record, District 1-5A title and a trip into the second round of the 5A State Tournament.Landeros played for Club APAC another competitive team, playing in 18 Open throughout the entire club season.
“She’s a player that can play all three front row positions.” Wallis said. “She is new to passing and defending in the back row as an outside hitter, but has shown the ability to do so with more time and training. She’s also extremely competitive even though you’d never know it by her quiet and soft demeanor.”
Chacon and Landeros are both set to make an impact on the Miner volleyball team next season, and will be joining Briana Arellano, Erika Sianez and Sofia Sifuentes as hometown products.
“Both players will make our practices better right away,” Wallis said. “And both players will be competing for time in the lineup in the fall. It’s important to us here at UTEP to keep the best local talent here at home. My staff and I are pleased to be able to commit both players who had a number of opportunities elsewhere, but chose to stay home and play in front of their home town fans.”
Wallis and his staff, in its first season, have signed seven players to begin the Wallis era at UTEP. The recruiting class is composed of two transfers (Anamarija Mikovic and Syenna Masaki), four high school recruits (Alianza Darley, Sifuentes, Landeros and Chacon) and one international player (Irbe Lazda). Lazda and Darley will come in as middle blockers. Mikovic, Landeros and Masaki will be collecting kills as outside hitters. Chacon is the lone setter of the bunch and Sifuentes will be positioned at defensive specialist.