Back in November Purdue signed four athletes who were named to PrepVolleyball’s top 100 Seniors list. Last week on Spring signing day the Boilers rounded out their recruiting class with two additional signings. Setter, Joy Chen from Ann Arbor and defensive specialist Emma Terwilliger join middle blockers Jael Johnson of Avon and Grace Cleveland of Normal, IL, outside hitter Garrett Joiner of Brentwood, TN, and defensive specialist Marissa “Moe” Hornung from Clarksville in Purdue’s 2018 recruiting class.
The 5’10 Chen set records at Huron High School as the team’s setter, recording 1,200 assists and 350 kills through her career. She is a four-time Academic All-State honoree and was recognized by PrepVolleyball as an Academic All-American. Chen will give Purdue depth at the setting position as sophomore setter Lexi Dorn has transferred to Georgia Tech.
Emma Terwilliger had a successful career at Valpo tallying 1,456 digs and 120 aces over the course of her career. Terwilliger could see opportunities later in her career as she develops. Right now Purdue has one senior and three sophomore DS’s on the roster. Purdue could be lean at the passing position in years to come as there is only one DS prospect committed, outside of the Class of 2018.
Beyond this year’s signing class the staff has been working hard to attract some great athletes. Raven Colvin, the daughter Purdue Football great, Rosevelt Colvin, committed to Purdue this week making her the first Boiler commit from the class of 2021. Colvin posted modest stats during her freshman campaign as a middle blocker for Heritage Christian, 1.8 kills per ser set, 0.9 blocks per set and hit .215. She has displayed plenty of upside though; Colvin is very athletic, standing at 6’0 tall and reaches 10’2 on her approach.
While Colvin is the first member of the class of 2021 Shondell and company have secured commitments from six other high school prospects. Purdue has five commitments from the Class of 2019. This class has a lot of size with four of the five checking in at 6’2 or 6’3. Three of the five are outside hitters; Maddy Chinn from Pontiac, MI, Emma Ellis from Charlotte, NC, and Maddie Koch from Ashwaubenon, WI. Setter, Megan Renner from Marion, IA checks in at 6’2. Lastly, Maddie Schermerhorn from Ligonier rounds out the class likely in a defensive specialist role, as she is only 5’10. Ellis, Koch, and Renner were all named to PV’s Top 50 Juniors.
At this point, Purdue only has one commitment from the class of 2020, 6’3, middle blocker Taylor Trammell from Lexington, KY. Trammell earned special mention from PrepVolleyball on their Sophomore 79 list.
In addition to class lists, PrepVolleyball also puts together an All-American list. Moe Hornung received the honor for the third time in her career. Fellow signee Jael Johnson also made the list as did 2018 commit Maddy Chinn. Signee Grace Cleveland received highest honorable mention honors and Emma Ellis received special mention.
Spring Team Update
This spring Purdue has faced Ball State, Kentucky, Fort Wayne, Indiana State, Butler, and IUPUI. Most notably Purdue split four sets with Kentucky. The Wildcats graduated both middles and their libero from their 2017 Elite Eight team but still have the powerful outside duo of Leah Edmond and Avery Skinner.
Sherridan Atkinson has been the kill leader for Purdue through all their spring matches. Middles, Shavona Cuttino and Erin Williams have had solid matches. It’s been hard to judge the team by match score though as Danielle Cuttino has been playing outside for Purdue to round out the shorthanded roster during some of the matches.
This spring is just the beginning of a battle for the second middle blocker position behind Blake Mohler. Come summer, newcomers Grace Cleveland and Jael Johnson will also enter the competition. Cleveland looks to be the leading contender for the spot which may lead to Johnson redshirting and Cuttino and Williams providing depth.
Purdue will only have three pin hitters on their roster this fall, Atkinson, Caitlyn Newton and signee Garrett Joiner. Joiner missed her high school season with a torn ACL, but appears to be playing club this spring and should be ready to go this summer and into the fall. Similar to previous seasons, Purdue’s lack of depth at the pins has forced them into a corner. There won’t be anyone on the bench to relieve anyone on a bad night. Not to slight Jena Otec but if Purdue does decide to use the DS in the front row out of desperation they certainly will be conceding height.
Purdue’s ball control should be better this season. Most likely only one of the three pin hitters will play six rotations. While Purdue doesn’t have a huge surplus of passing talent they certainly have some DS’s who can pass better than the pin hitters, and at this point Atkinson is the only hitter who would be a good offensive option from the back row. Moe Hornung will likely put up a good fight with Brooker Peters for the libero jersey. Additionally, Purdue will have services of Jena Otec who also is a great server.
Setter, Hayley Bush will be in charge of the offense after red-shirting last season.
There definitely will be some growing pains for this year’s team but they should be able to hold their own in the Big Ten and make a return trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Looking ahead, this year’s schedule will likely be released near the end of May, beginning of June.
Boilers in the Pros
Val Nichol and Annie Drews both played overseas this winter. Nichol played for Volleyball Wroclaw S.A. in Poland and Drews split her season between SAB Volley and Pomi Casalmaggiore in Italy.
Drews was recently named to USA Volleyball’s preliminary roster for the FIVB Volleyball Nations League. The current 26-player roster will be cut to 21 in the coming weeks. Through each week of play 14 of the 21 be selected for the official roster. Drews played with Team USA last summer enjoying success as a reserve and starter.