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Rockdale Countys Soto makes collegiate pledge
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Rockdale County senior volleyabll player Jahkishma Soto signed her National Letter of Intent Friday to continue her career with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. - photo by Matt Smith

Rockdale County senior volleyball player Jahkishma Soto announced last Friday that she’ll be continuing her playing career next season at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, joining the Golden Lions’ program after helping the Bulldogs reach the state playoffs.

Soto, who spent two seasons with the Bulldogs in the varsity program, was near the top of most of Rockdale’s stat lists this year, including finishing in the top-3 in attack percentage (.372), Aces (73) and assists (91) from her right side hitters position.

Soto also finished fourth in total kills (157), blocks (16) and digs (208).

“Jahkishma is such a well-rounded player,” Rockdale coach Stephen Sansing said. “If she were playing any other position, her stats would probably be doubled what they are, but we needed her to play where she fit best for our program and she took on that challenge.

“We’re all extremely proud of her and, moving on, she’s going to be a great addition to the Arkansas at Pine Bluff program,” he said.

Soto said that no other program stood out to her like the Gold Lions’ group did.

“I’m excited and nervous all at the same time,” Soto said. “Honestly, when I look at the school, the team and the coach stood out to me. They have a great coaching staff and that made a big difference in my decision to sign with Arkansas at Pine Bluff.”

Soto said that the Rockdale program and her club teams have been a huge factor in preparing her for the next level.

“Sansing was my first coach and he taught me the basics and helped get me to where I am today,” she said. “Rockdale gave me an opportunity to play and I’ve gotten a lot of support, both on the court and off, that has helped me grow as a player and a person.”

The UAPB Golden Lions volleyball team finished 13-23 last season under second-year head coach, improving from their 10-16 mark in 2012. The Golden Lions compete in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and went 4-4 in league play a season ago.