Coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016 that features plenty of returning faces, Cincinnati used the transfer market to nab former Oregon State outside hitter Shalom Ifeanyi.
Ifeanyi stands at 6’0″ and is originally from Coppell, Texas. She will have three years of eligibility remaining as an upcoming sophomore after she completed her freshman year in Corvallis, appearing in just five matches. In those five, she accumulated seven kills, six digs and one block, with her season-high of four kills coming against Tennessee Tech.
“We are very excited to add Shalom to our team” said Cincinnati head coach Molly Alvey in the Cincinnati release. “She has a very positive, upbeat personality and intense competitive spirit on the court. She will fit immediately into our program’s culture. I expect Shalom to score points at the net with her fast arm. She hits a heavy ball and is working on developing multiple shots to her game.”
The Bearcats had a strong season in 2016, finishing second in the American Athletic Conference with a 17-3 mark. They also won 22 matches overall, and appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011.
They’ll look to build off the success in 2017, as Cincinnati returns the AAC Player of the Year, Jordan Thompson, Setter of the Year, Jade Tinghoff, and Coach of the Year, Molly Alvey. Cincinnati could use Thompson as an outside hitter, but more likely than not she will occupy the Right Side position. Carly Nolan was solid as a starting outside hitter last year, but Ciara Hill, third on the team in kills as an outside hitter, graduates. The only other outside hitters on the roster are Erica Kostelac, who didn’t appear in 2016, and now Ifeanyi. Therefore, you would expect her to push for playing time right away.
Knowing that Thompson and Tinghoff are both juniors-to-be and there’s a two-year window with the pair, it makes sense that Alvey opted to nab a transfer who’s got a year under her belt as opposed to bringing in a freshman who has more to learn. Cincinnati hopes the move pays off, and that Ifeanyi could be the final piece to the puzzle of an AAC title contender.