Volleyball: Meet the eight new additions to the Badgers

first_imgComing off a Big Ten title season in 2014, Wisconsin volleyball head coach Kelly Sheffield will return only six out of his 14 players from that championship squad. So Sheffield got busy, recruiting eight fresh faces (two transfers and six freshman) to hit the hardwood in the UW Field House.Get to know the newest Badgers:Lauryn GillisPosition: Outside hitterHometown: New Castle, IndianaLast school: USC (Transfer)As a freshman at USC last season, Gillis averaged 2.14 kills per set, which ranked third for the Trojans across 21 matches. This past summer, she traveled to Europe with the USA Volleyball Junior National Team.In transferring to Madison, Gillis said she’s excited for a fresh start and new life in a college town.“Here, the whole town revolves around athletics,” Gillis said. “It’s just really cool to have that atmosphere.”Maddie SmithPosition: Outside hitter/defensive specialistHometown: St. Germain, WisconsinHigh school: Northland PinesWisconsin volleyball is in Smith’s blood. Her mother, Julie, played for Wisconsin and was a member of the 1990 Big Ten Championship team.Smith is a bit of a late bloomer in volleyball terms, since she didn’t start club play until her junior year of high school and committed to UW just eight months ago.Smith said her favorite spot on campus is the UW Field House because of the tradition behind it.Amber MacDonaldPosition: LiberoHometown: Alpharetta, GeorgiaHigh school: Blessed Trinity CatholicMacDonald is listed at 5-foot-4, the smallest player on the Badgers. But she packs a lot of punch.The first-team All-American recorded a team-high 10 digs at the Under Armour All-America match.As the first Wisconsin volleyball player to hail from Georgia, MacDonald has found comfort in confiding in her teammates, who she lived with over the summer.“Getting to just be with them and being able to talk about going through the same stuff,” MacDonald said. “It’s nice having other people know what you’re going through.”Hannah JuleyPosition: SetterHometown: La Grange, IllinoisHigh school: Lyons TownshipLike Smith, Juley had a previous Badger connection. Her sister, Erin Juley, transferred to UW and played last season before an injury ended her career.But it was actually Hannah Juley who decided to become a Badger first, committing to play for Sheffield’s program before Erin Juley filed her transfer papers.“Everyone thinks it’s the opposite,” Hannah Juley said.Her dad, Steve Juley, also attended Wisconsin.Hannah Juley said playing in the UW Field House will be a privilege.“You just feel really important,” she said.Tionna WilliamsPosition: Middle blockerHometown: Fort Wayne, IndianaHigh school: Concordia LutheranWilliams enters UW as the sixth-ranked recruit by PrepVolleyball.com, and with good reason. She averaged five kills per set, hit .469 as a senior and led her team to a state title.Sheffield had recruited Williams since her freshman year of high school when he was still at Dayton.Other than playing volleyball, her favorite thing about Madison so far is sitting out on the docks by Memorial Union Terrace.Julia SaundersPosition: Outside hitterHometown: La Grange, IllinoisHigh school: Nazareth AcademyWhen Saunders ever feels homesick, she can look to her fellow freshman Hannah Juley as a reminder of home. The two played on the same club team, 1st Alliance, throughout high school.“It helps me from being homesick,” Saunders said. “She knows people that I know. She knows the area. It’s nice to have someone you know.”This summer, Saunders said she had the chance to sample the sushi up and down State Street.Madison DuelloPosition: Outside hitterHometown: Kansas City, MissouriHigh school: LibertyPrepVolleyball.com ranked Duello as the ninth overall player in the 2015 Class, and she was also named a 2014 AVCA All-American.Duello, Missouri’s 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year, was hesitant prior to her first visit to Madison. Once she got here, though, she knew it was the place for her.“I just fell in love with the town and the team,” Duello said. “I couldn’t picture being anywhere else.”Jordan RobbinsPosition: SetterHometown: San Diego, CaliforniaLast School: UCLA (Transfer)Robbins will have three years of eligibility remaining at Wisconsin after redshirting in 2014. In her freshman year at UCLA, she played in 13 matches.Having lived her whole life in southern California, Robbins is in the midst of a significant change, which she said is made easier by going through it with seven other girls. The most delightful surprise, Robbins said, is the people of Madison.“I love how nice everybody is,” Robbins said. “Everyone smiles. That does not happen in L.A.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *