Former University of Illinois star hitter Michelle Strizak has signed her first professional contract since wrapping up her collegiate career last week. She came to terms for a week-long trial period, beginning earlier this week, with the club HPK Hameenlinna, after which time the club will decide whether or not to sign Strizak on for the rest of the season.
The 6’1″ (185cm) native of Cincinnati, Ohio led the team with 2.94 kills/set and 3.39 points/set last season, hitting for an overall .218 efficiency percentage.
Strizak wasn’t the most towering outside hitter in the country, but according to her new club has a 105cm (41″) overhead reach to hit at 290 centimeters (114″).
If the two sides are able to come together on a longer-term arrangement, Strizak will fill in a crucial role for HPK after they sent former outside hitter Hilary Hurley (also an American) to South Korea for an undisclosed, but club-record setting, transfer fee. Like Hurley, Strizak is also a strong defender and can play all 6 rotations – her 2.11 digs/set were second on the Illinois roster last season, behind only the libero Brandi Donnelly.
The team currently sits well atop the league tables with 40 points through 14 games. The next-closest team, LP Viesti, has only 27 points.