Valparaiso University volleyball head coach Carin Avery announced today that the Crusaders have signed a talented group of six newcomers during the early signing period who will join the Valpo program as freshmen for the 2017 season.
Brittany Anderson comes to Valpo from Bishop Noll [Ind.] Institute. A setter, she has helped lead Bishop Noll to four consecutive sectional and regional titles, as well as a state runner-up finish her freshman season. Anderson is a three-time First Team All-Conference and two-time All-Area selection and was picked to the Junior North All-Star Team last season. Playing club volleyball for Ignite Elite, Anderson helped the squad win the Mid East Qualifier this past summer. A versatile athlete, she will be playing both volleyball and softball at Valpo.
Avery on Anderson: “Brittany is the first dual-sport athlete we’ve had in our program, and I’m really excited for that. She is a great athlete and a big, physical setter – attributes which are always nice to have at the setter position. It’s fortunate for our program that she decided a few months ago to pursue playing volleyball at the next level – she’s a really good player right now, but we feel she still has a lot of room to keep getting better, and we’re excited to see how good she can get here.”
Jaclyn Bulmahn joins the Valpo program from Mt. Vernon [Ind.] H.S. An outside hitter, Bulmahn was a Second Team All-State choice as a junior and a member of the Junior South All-Star Team. Twice named county Player of the Year, Bulmahn broke her school’s record for career kills and reached 1,500 career kills this season.
Avery on Bulmahn: “Jaclyn comes from a big volleyball family in the state of Indiana, and you can tell that when you watch her play. She has a very high volleyball IQ and really sees the whole court well. She is a strong attacker, and we’re also excited about the fact she’s made really big strides in her back-row play the last couple of years.”
Rylee Cookerly comes to Valpo from Brownsburg [Ind.] H.S. A libero, she has stood out with her play in the back row throughout her high school career, totaling over 1,800 career digs. A member of the PrepVolleyball.com preseason All-America watch list and Defensive Dandies list, Cookerly has twice earned All-Conference honors and was named to the Indiana Junior All-Star Team last season while helping Brownsburg to three county championships and one conference championship. Playing club for Circle City Volleyball Club, she’s helped her teams to four top-25 open finishes at GJNC.
Avery on Cookerly: “We’ve had a strong tradition of standout liberos here at Valpo, and Rylee is exactly like the other liberos we've had in here. Physically, she’s quick and has great foot speed, and we love her personality at the libero position as well. Rylee has played at a very high level, both with her high school and club teams, and knows how to win.”
Ally Cummings joins the Valpo program from Novi [Mich.] H.S. A right side hitter and outside hitter, she was recently named runner-up for Miss Volleyball in the state of Michigan. She has led Novi to the state semifinals this year after the squad captured the state title last season. Cummings was an All-Conference, All-Area, All-Region and Second Team All-State selection as a junior as well. Cummings plays club for Michigan Elite, helping to lead her teams to a number of top national finishes, including most recently a top-20 at the AAU 17 open level last summer.
Avery on Cummings: “Ally comes from a fantastic high school program. She has played at a very high level throughout her high school career, and has been a key contributor at that level. The first thing we noticed about Ally was the fact she has a tremendous arm swing. We were looking for somebody in this class who could come in and terminate balls for us, and we feel like we’ve gotten that in Ally.”
Melissa Flynders comes to Valpo from Providence Catholic [Ill.] H.S. An outside hitter and defensive specialist, Flynders received First Team All-Conference and First Team All-Area honors this season and finished the year with more than 300 kills and 300 digs. She has led Providence Catholic in kills each of the last two years, helping to lead her team to back-to-back regional titles. Flynders has most recently played club volleyball for Michio Chicago Volleyball Academy as a member of their national team all four years.
Avery on Flynders: “Thought she's on the smaller side for an outside hitter at our level, we feel like Melissa does a fabulous job moving the ball around while attacking and finding ways to get kills in the front row. She fits right into our philosophy of looking for outsides who can come in and be six-rotation players.”
Peyton McCarthy joins the Valpo program from Seton [Ohio] H.S. A middle hitter, McCarthy has been a four-time All-League honoree and has also received All-City and All-District accolades. A member of the AVCA Phenom list, McCarthy stood out at the USA Volleyball National Championships this past summer, as she was named MVP of the National Championship while helping lead NKYVC to the national title.
Avery on McCarthy: “We started recruited Peyton after watching her play in the middle for club, but she also has played left side and right side and does a great job in all three positions. It is hard to find players with that kind of versatility these days - that was the first thing that caught our eye about her. Peyton is a big, physical player who not only has a great arm, but is smart with her shot selection.”