Vibe Add Six Through Inaugural Pro Volleyball Federation Draft

Vibe head coach Todd Dagenais lands two marquee names in first round

ATLANTA, Ga. (December 11, 2023) – The Atlanta Vibe added six players through the 2023 Pro Volleyball Draft on Monday, headlined by two first round picks in Chiamaka Nwokolo and Magda Jehlářová. The inaugural draft was held in Atlanta as all six of the Vibe’s opponents traveled to the peach state to dole out 35 of the top collegiate talent entering the pro ranks.

The Atlanta Vibe’s preseason training camp will begin on January 2, 2024, before which an updated preseason roster will be distributed.

Round 1, Pick 6

Chiamaka Nwokolo

6’0″ Middle Blocker, Pittsburgh
Pronunciation: chee-uh-MAH-kuh WOE-kuh-low

Nwokolo comes to Atlanta from the University of Pittsburgh, where she garnered two All-ACC Second Team honors and an AVCA All-America honorable mention in five seasons with the Panthers. The three-year team captain has played in 430* sets, averaging 0.9 blocks per set and hitting at a clip of .394. Currently seeing a career-best season, Nwokolo is averaging 1.7 blocks and 1.66 kills per set and is hitting at an impressive .439.

Nwokolo was selected by the Vibe in the middle of a deep postseason run from the Panthers, as they compete in their third consecutive NCAA Volleyball Tournament National Semifinal just three days after the Draft. She was a part of the Pitt team that reached the Final Four for the first time in program history in 2021 and helped them to multiple program win records in both conference play and full season records.

*as of December 11, 2023

Instagram | X/Twitter | TikTok

Acquired via Trade

Magda Jehlářová

6’3” Middle Blocker, Washington State
Pronunciation: yell-uh-HAHSH-uh-vuh

Transaction: Atlanta received Magda Jehlářová (2023 No. 2 overall pick) in a trade that sent Ali Bastianelli and Kendra Dahlke to San Diego. 

Three-time All-American Magdaléna Jehlářová joins the Vibe after one of the most decorated careers in Washington State history. She is the Cougars’ all-time blocks leader (769 total), a member of the 1,000-kill club (1,253 career), and wrapped her fifth season in Pullman with a .424 hitting percentage.

The Czech Republic native started her college career with the 2019 AVCA National Freshman of the Year and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year awards. She went on to claim four All-Pac-12 nods and collect a Pac-12 record 12 weekly conference awards in her career and was named to the AVCA Pacific North All-Region First Team four times.

Jehlářová finished her five-year WSU career averaging 2.32 kills, 1.4 blocks and 3.31 points per set (539 played).

Instagram | X/Twitter

Round 2, Pick 2 (No. 9 overall)

Whitney Bower

5’9” Setter, BYU

In her final season before going pro, Bower led the Cougars with 980 assists on the year en-route to becoming BYU’s rally scoring era assists leader with 4,583 in her five-year career. She earned AVCA Southwest All-Region team and All-Big 12 First Team honors in her senior season.

Bower also totaled 139 kills on a .355 clip, second-highest on the team, posting 245 digs and 70 total blocks. She finished her Cougar career first in the history books in sets played (464), second in service aces (135) and third in total digs (1,230).

Instagram | X/Twitter | TikTok

Round 3, Pick 6 (No. 20 overall)

Kamaile Hiapo

5’7” Libero, BYU
Pronunciation: kuh-MY-lee hee-AW-po

Hiapo joins her teammate Bower in Atlanta after also joining her on the AVCA Southwest All-Region team this season. The libero led the Cougars in digs with 277 in 2023, was second on the team with 162 assists and third with 31 service aces. Hiapo finished with double-digit digs in 22 of 32 matches.

Named to the dōTERRA Classic all-tournament team this season and honored as the Classic’s MVP, Hiapo concluded her collegiate career with 1,961 digs, 593 assists, 114 service aces and 27 kills.

Instagram | TikTok

Round 4, Pick 2 (No. 23 overall)

Kara McGhee

6’5” Middle Blocker, Oregon

McGhee joined the Ducks as a graduate transfer and helped them advance to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2023. She finished the season with the ninth-best hitting percentage in the NCAA at .421 and ranked fifth in the Pac-12 with 1.25 blocks per set.

Prior to Oregon, McGhee was a standout at Baylor, where she was a three-time All-Big 12 performer and an AVCA All-America Honorable Mention selection after a career 2022 season.

The 6-5 middle blocker averaged a career-high 3.25 points per set and 2.41 kills per set while hitting .368 in her senior season and helped Baylor to a 25-7 record with a trip to the Sweet 16. McGhee also led the Big 12 and finished eighth in the NCAA with 1.49 blocks per set, another career-high figure.

In addition to AVCA national honors, McGhee earned a spot on the VolleyballMag.com All-America Third Team and AVCA Southwest All-Region Team. She was also voted to the All-Big 12 First Team for a second time in her career and was one of five unanimous picks to the 15-player team. During the year, McGhee was twice named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.

Instagram | X/Twitter | TikTok

Round 5, Pick 6 (No. 34 overall)

May Pertofsky

Opposite, Washington
Pronunciation: pur-TOFF-skee

Pertofsky joined the Huskies as a graduate transfer after spending her four years of undergrad with the University of Michigan. In one season in Seattle, she was named to the AVCA Pacific North All-Region Team as an honorable mention after leading her team with a .294 attack percentage, finishing second on the team with a career-high 3.09 kills per set and second with 0.75 blocks per set.

The Los Angeles native was a two-time AVCA All-Region honorable mention with the Wolverines, finishing her career in Ann Arbor with 798 career kills on a .287 career attack percentage, with 109 aces, 212 digs, and 252 blocks.

Instagram | X/Twitter

Atlanta Vibe December 11, 2023 Transactions

Atlanta selected Chiamaka Nwokolo out of Pitt with the No. 6 (First Round) pick in the 2023 Pro Volleyball Federation Draft.

Atlanta selected Whitney Bower out of BYU with the No. 9 (Second Round) selection in the 2023 Pro Volleyball Federation Draft.

Atlanta selected Kamaile Hiapo out of BYU with the No. 20 (Third Round) pick in the 2023 Pro Volleyball Federation Draft.

Atlanta selected Kara McGhee out of Oregon with the No. 23 overall selection in the 2023 Pro Volleyball Federation Draft.

Atlanta received Magda Jehlářová (2023 No. 2 overall pick) in a trade that sent Ali Bastianelli and Kendra Dahlke to San Diego.

Atlanta selected May Pertofsky out of Washington with the No. 34 overall pick (Fifth Round) in the 2023 Pro Volleyball Federation Draft.

A player drafted needed to be at least 18 years or older on the day of the draft and defined as a college player. Athletes who met these criteria are eligible to be drafted. Players are not required to declare for the draft and anyone drafted may elect to return to college (if she has remaining eligibility) should she chose not to sign with her Pro Volleyball Federation team.

About the Atlanta Vibe

The Atlanta Vibe is one of seven inaugural teams competing in the Professional Volleyball Federation’s first season, beginning play in January 2024. Season Ticket Memberships are now on sale for the historic first season; find the full list of prices and benefits at AtlantaVibe.com/Tickets. The Pro Volleyball Federation is focused on ensuring that the level of play, treatment of players and the quality of fan experience is world-class and the very best offered in North America. For more information, visit atlantavibe.com.