Sydnye Fields, a 6-3 middle blocker and opposite hitter from Missouri City, Texas, has transferred to Texas A&M and will be eligible to play this season, Aggie volleyball head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn announced.
Fields spent the last three season at the University of North Carolina, where she broke a 30-year single-match school record with 15 blocks assists as a redshirt freshman in 2016. She also helped lead the Tar Heels to an ACC Championship and the regional semifinals of the NCAA Championship.
“I've known Sydnye since she was in high school; she was one of the top recruits,” Kuhn said. “She can be an impact player in the middle or on a pin, and that versatility is going to be huge for us. She has played at a high level, and her experience coming from ACC to SEC play will be valuable. Her overall athleticism and ability to play multiple roles is going to be a great addition for us. We are excited to have her in our gym.”
Fields was ranked the No. 50 recruit in PrepVolleyball.com’s list of Senior Aces, and she also was on Volleyball Magazine’s Fab 50 list of the nation’s top senior recruits coming out of Ridge Point High School, where she earned 2013 District 22-4A Most Valuable Attacker accolades. She also competed for Houston Juniors Volleyball Club and was selected to the 17 National Division all-tournament team at the 2014 USAV Girls Junior National Championship after leading her team to a runner-up finish.
After redshirting at UNC as a true freshman in 2015, Fields had an impressive 2016 campaign, emerging as one of the premier middle blockers in the ACC. In only the third match of her collegiate career, Fields tallied 11 blocks to help lead the Tar Heels to a 3-2 upset at No. 9 Penn State, marking UNC’s first-ever victory over the perennial powerhouse Nittany Lions. Fields followed up the performance with 16 blocks—including a school record-setting 15 block assists—in a four-set victory at Duke and was named ACC Player of the Week.
Fields had started 19 of the first 21 matches before she suffered an injury that forced her to miss the entire month of November. Fields returned to the court for the Tar Heels’ Sweet 16 match against No. 8 UCLA, coming off the bench to contribute five blocks in the four-set loss.
Fields finished the season with a team-leading 1.38 blocks per set over 22 matches as the Tar Heels captured the ACC Championship with a 19-1 record and went 29-4 overall to finish No. 11 in the final AVCA Top 25 Poll.
Fields played sparingly as a redshirt sophomore, appearing in 15 matches and 45 sets overall, seeing action at both middle and opposite hitter. She recorded five or more blocks five times and averaged 0.96 blocks per set for the season. Offensively, she recorded a career-high 13 kills and also added a season-high eight blocks in a 3-1 victory at Clemson.
“When I was originally going to college, I wanted to go far away from home just to experience something different, and now having been both far away and close, I love being close,” Fields said. “I decided to come to Texas A&M just because when I came on my visit I felt really welcomed by all the people here, not just the team and the coaches, but also the other people who work within athletics and the administration. I also felt like I had a good connection with Bird. I was really looking for a strong relationship with the coaches and a place where I could fit in quickly coming from another school, and I definitely felt that with her. She just let me know that everyone here would always be here for me and always have my back, and that just made me want to be an Aggie.”
Fields’ transfer to A&M comes at a crucial time, as the Aggies announced the retirement of decorated senior-to-be middle blocker Kaitlyn Blake earlier this month.
“Especially after losing Blake, Sydnye is going to have a huge impact in terms of our needs and depth. Her engaging personality and experience will be key for this group,” Kuhn said. “We could tell from day one she is someone that wants to have a positive impact both on and off the court.
“I've always known about her athletic ability, but over the course of her transfer process, and getting to know her, she is a great kid. She is super engaging. She wants to be involved in so much, and seeing her willingness to get involved not only in athletics but other things outside the sport was obvious.”
Fields is currently enrolled at Texas A&M and is a Spanish major with a biomedical and business minor. She and the team officially report for preseason training on August 7.