With just under two months left before the 2017 volleyball season begins, VolleyMob is taking a look at some of the collegiate recruiting classes you may have missed and those who stand to make an impact on teams in and out of the final AVCA Top 25.
Penn State rounds out the top 10 teams:
- Penn State
The Nittany Lions had a bit of an up-and-down season that featured double-digit losses in 2016, but also many strong moments. Maybe nothing was more indicative of the season than their final match in the Sweet 16 against Nebraska; Penn State got up 2-0 in sets and had match point in the third, but Nebraska fought it off to win the match in five. Still, Penn State finished 10th in the final AVCA Poll and should have plenty of promise in 2017 – the majority from returning talent, but they also welcome a pair of athletes who will add to the roster this upcoming fall.
The biggest addition in terms of immediate impact is Kathryn Cather, a junior-to-be right side who transferred in from Ole Miss. The 6’2″ opposite was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2015 as she totaled 203 kills (1.78 per set) on a .253 hitting percentage, 51 blocks and 30 aces. As a sophomore in 2016, Cather missed eight matches due to concussion-like symptoms, causing most of her stat totals to drop. However, her stats per set rose, as she averaged 2.64 kills per set in addition to a slight bump in blocks and digs per set. She’s immediately eligible and should blend in nicely with what Penn State has coming back.
The other newcomer, Cami May, is also a right side as she joins the team as an incoming freshman. May attended Cinco Ranch High School in Katy, Texas. The 6’2″ opposite, who also played some middle blocker in her prep career, was named a top 100 recruit by PrepVolleyball and was listed in the top 50 by volleyballmag.com.
It’s not a big haul in terms of quantity for Penn State, but it should provide quality. At the end of the day though, their 2017 success will largely ride on 2016 AVCA First-Team All-Americans Simone Lee and Haleigh Washington. They return along with middle blocker Tori Gorrell and libero Kendall White, who earned spots on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. Ali Frantti also came on toward the end of the year, as the combination of all the returning talent has Penn State pegged number four in our Bit-Too-Early Top 25.