Another day closer to volleyball season and today we're covering a player who is pretty much the exact opposite of yesterday's player. Bridget Powell is not 6'3" and she doesn't hit the ball like a cannon, but she plays a position of need and she has lots of potential to help the team both now and down the road.
Hometown: Oak Lawn, Ill. (Mother McCauley HS)
2012 Projection: Possible Redshirt or Backline Rotation Member
Bridget Powell is one of 6 true freshman Purdue has coming into this season and I can guarantee that most of them will be redshirted due to the depth and experience we have already at most positions. The one wild card position though is Defensive Specialist. With Carly Cramer coming off of a stress fracture, the position is one of the biggest unknowns on this team. Obviously it didn’t hurt them too much last year, but the losses of Emily Ehlers and Blair Bashen means that most of our depth just lost eligibility. Amanda Miller, Hillary Fox, and Courtney Gosewisch will all start out in the rotation and it’s entirely possible that one or two of our talented freshman will step up and get real playing time come Big Ten season.
One of those Freshmen is the aforementioned Bridget Powell. A decorated defensive specialist from the Chicago area, she has the talent to get on the court this season. At 5’6" she doesn’t bring quite as much versatility as Ehlers did, but stylistically she brings a lot of the same talents as Cramer. If you go watch her recruiting video on youtube, you’ll see a player with very good range, lightning quick reflexes and a knack for keeping the ball in play. Definitely not bad things for a defender.
The key for Powell to get on the court will be how quickly she can adjust to the speed of the game and whether she can step up as a leader from the back. In his interview with Juan, Coach Shondell mentioned Powell briefly and talked about her talent and the fact that she’s not necessarily as outgoing as some of the other players. This just means that she’ll have to lead by example and let her talent and hard work do the talking for her if she is going to get on the court this year.
Update: I reached out to Coach Shondell and asked if he had anything in particular he could tell me about Bridget and he emphasized her mental toughness and Volleyball IQ, a very good sign for her transition to college volleyball and a conference as taxing as the Big Ten.