Gopher Volleyball 2021 - Spring Season

4EverAGopher

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We are winning our volleyball matches, but we are so OOS in accomplishing those wins. Unfortunately, I feel this coaching staff needs to improve this roster sooner than it probably planned on.

We have a backcourt that needs so much fixing and more so now without CC. Plus a Freshman setter who is unable to connect to the middles as much as she should while struggling setting OOS. Both these areas cannot continue for our Volleyball program to continue being a top elite program. It is a shame, but right now I certainly do not put them there anymore.

I do not foresee It will be much better next year. We will be losing Pittman and Samedy and will have a full returning backcourt that struggles with passing and serve/receive. Our backcourt next season will consist of a Sophomore, Junior, and Senior.....meaning they are expected to be bringing back much positive experience.

Realistically, a Final Four appearance would be nice again, but not in the cards this seaon.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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For all of you Stags' fans, Fairfield, #1 last week in the RPI, has unfortunately plummeted down to #18 this week. Sacred Heart (#2 last week) also fell, but only down to #12. The new #1 is Texas, with Army West Point #2, and Towson #3. The Gophs have moved up to #7, but Wisconsin still lags at #25, and Nebraska is in trouble at #53, five spots behind Niagara. Niagara, with a 4-3 record (3-3 at home but undefeated on the road) plays in the same Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference as Fairfield does, so maybe Nebraska just has to toughen up its schedule a little bit. (Come to think of it, Nebraska is also undefeated on the road -- 9-0 -- so maybe Niagara's scintillating 1-0 road record isn't the reason they're ranked higher than Nebraska.)

This is wonderful information and analysis.

This is amazing how the RPI models are yielding these results. If the model yields a result that makes no sense at all, someone needs to tweak, or in this case, junk the mathematical formulas that make up that model.
 

let'sbeclear

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This is wonderful information and analysis.

This is amazing how the RPI models are yielding these results. If the model yields a result that makes no sense at all, someone needs to tweak, or in this case, junk the mathematical formulas that make up that model.
Of course, this year the RPI doesn't have the benefit of non-conference play, but still....
 

MplsGopher

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We are winning our volleyball matches, but we are so OOS in accomplishing those wins. Unfortunately, I feel this coaching staff needs to improve this roster sooner than it probably planned on.

We have a backcourt that needs so much fixing and more so now without CC. Plus a Freshman setter who is unable to connect to the middles as much as she should while struggling setting OOS. Both these areas cannot continue for our Volleyball program to continue being a top elite program. It is a shame, but right now I certainly do not put them there anymore.

I do not foresee It will be much better next year. We will be losing Pittman and Samedy and will have a full returning backcourt that struggles with passing and serve/receive. Our backcourt next season will consist of a Sophomore, Junior, and Senior.....meaning they are expected to be bringing back much positive experience.

Realistically, a Final Four appearance would be nice again, but not in the cards this seaon.
Pittman will be a massive loss. Unless Myers comes back from her injury, and I think she is injury prone (she has been on the sidelines in a knee brace?), and plays at a high level (she got beat out for M2 by Rubright), or the true freshman Wolf (who has been on the sidelines with the team, but unable to play due to the rules, this whole spring) comes in at a really high level (guessing not, don't think she is a top national recruit) ... then they'll have to hope to get another transfer. That certainly seems possible these days. Look at Nebraska, for example.

I think Husemann was not a high level recruit and is a walkon.

I'm hope that Miyabe will be the replacement for Samedy and do fairly well. Obviously no one can replace her in full capacity.
 

MRJ

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Pittman will be a massive loss. Unless Myers comes back from her injury, and I think she is injury prone (she has been on the sidelines in a knee brace?), and plays at a high level (she got beat out for M2 by Rubright), or the true freshman Wolf (who has been on the sidelines with the team, but unable to play due to the rules, this whole spring) comes in at a really high level (guessing not, don't think she is a top national recruit) ... then they'll have to hope to get another transfer. That certainly seems possible these days. Look at Nebraska, for example.

I think Husemann was not a high level recruit and is a walkon.

I'm hope that Miyabe will be the replacement for Samedy and do fairly well. Obviously no one can replace her in full capacity.
Rubright will definitely have to carry a lot of the freight if Pittman elects not to come back. Depending upon what Myers' situation might be, they may have to platoon the middle unless Hugh brings in a transfer at middle blocker.

As for Wolf, she's regarded as a top-60 recruit, so she's not exactly a low-level recruit. Also, the Gophers recruiting class for next year was rated No. 8 in the country by preprolleyball.com, so it's not like there's a lack of talent coming in.

Huesmann was also a consensus top-100 recruit in her class (one service rated her as a top-60 recruit), but I'm not sure if she came in as a walk-on or not.

I'm kinda intrigued by Miyabe on the right side although they are also bringing in Lauren Crowl (another top-60 recruit) as a right side next season. In any case, that position will be an open competition should Samedy elect to move on to pro ball.
 

MplsGopher

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Rubright will definitely have to carry a lot of the freight if Pittman elects not to come back. Depending upon what Myers' situation might be, they may have to platoon the middle unless Hugh brings in a transfer at middle blocker.

As for Wolf, she's regarded as a top-60 recruit, so she's not exactly a low-level recruit. Also, the Gophers recruiting class for next year was rated No. 8 in the country by preprolleyball.com, so it's not like there's a lack of talent coming in.

Huesmann was also a consensus top-100 recruit in her class (one service rated her as a top-60 recruit), but I'm not sure if she came in as a walk-on or not.

I'm kinda intrigued by Miyabe on the right side although they are also bringing in Lauren Crowl (another top-60 recruit) as a right side next season. In any case, that position will be an open competition should Samedy elect to move on to pro ball.
Well they can't all be on scholarship, right? There's not enough scholarships to always give one to every player on the roster, with the maximum at 14? 12?

And they already for sure had Pittman and Rubright (high end recruit), plus assume had to give Myers one to get her, so I've always assumed that at least for this season Husemann does not have one. Maybe she will next school year.


Feel bad for Myers this year, honestly. She could've gone to many places. Think if she went to Ohio State. Would've been starting for them all year.
 

MRJ

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Well they can't all be on scholarship, right? There's not enough scholarships to always give one to every player on the roster, with the maximum at 14? 12?

And they already for sure had Pittman and Rubright (high end recruit), plus assume had to give Myers one to get her, so I've always assumed that at least for this season Husemann does not have one. Maybe she will next school year.


Feel bad for Myers this year, honestly. She could've gone to many places. Think if she went to Ohio State. Would've been starting for them all year.
Definitely. I just don't know the details on Husemann. Many years ago Meredith Nelson walked-on at the U as the No. 5 recruit in the country (if I'm remembering correctly), so it happens quite frequently.
 

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Rubright will definitely have to carry a lot of the freight if Pittman elects not to come back. Depending upon what Myers' situation might be, they may have to platoon the middle unless Hugh brings in a transfer at middle blocker.

As for Wolf, she's regarded as a top-60 recruit, so she's not exactly a low-level recruit. Also, the Gophers recruiting class for next year was rated No. 8 in the country by preprolleyball.com, so it's not like there's a lack of talent coming in.

Huesmann was also a consensus top-100 recruit in her class (one service rated her as a top-60 recruit), but I'm not sure if she came in as a walk-on or not.

I'm kinda intrigued by Miyabe on the right side although they are also bringing in Lauren Crowl (another top-60 recruit) as a right side next season. In any case, that position will be an open competition should Samedy elect to move on to pro ball.
miyabe is listed as a senior, played 2 years of JUCO and 2 years now with us. do we have insider info that she's coming back for a 5th season of college volleyball?
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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It seems to me that McCutchen doesn’t have a history of going very deep into his bench absent unexpected illness or injury. Therefore, in my opinion, it seems pretty clear who is going to be getting the playing time next year (Fall 2021):

Shaffmaster
Landfair
Rollins
Rubright
McGraw
Wenaas
Kilkelly
Myers
Amd maybe either Wolf or Crowl depending on where there are more game problems: scoring or blocking... so my guess is Crowl... but maybe Wolf.

As for the other team members, their role is to be ready to play in the event if injury or Illness and do so not using up any scholarships; and if they can bring up team GPA while doing that all the better.
 

rwlarson

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It seems to me that McCutchen doesn’t have a history of going very deep into his bench absent unexpected illness or injury. Therefore, in my opinion, it seems pretty clear who is going to be getting the playing time next year (Fall 2021):

Shaffmaster
Landfair
Rollins
Rubright
McGraw
Wenaas
Kilkelly
Myers
Amd maybe either Wolf or Crowl depending on where there are more game problems: scoring or blocking... so my guess is Crowl... but maybe Wolf.

As for the other team members, their role is to be ready to play in the event if injury or Illness and do so not using up any scholarships; and if they can bring up team GPA while doing that all the better.
Does anyone think that Hugh might play Landfair some at OPP next year? I believe she played some right side in her club career. That would allow him to play Rollins and Wenaas as 6-rotation OHs. However, that would put Kilkelly, who has earned PT, squarely on the sideline unless she is needed to fill in for McGraw or if one of the OHs was having trouble passing.
 

Gopher68

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Does anyone think that Hugh might play Landfair some at OPP next year? I believe she played some right side in her club career. That would allow him to play Rollins and Wenaas as 6-rotation OHs. However, that would put Kilkelly, who has earned PT, squarely on the sideline unless she is needed to fill in for McGraw or if one of the OHs was having trouble passing.
If Landfair moves to OPP, Kilkelly can DS for her.
 

4EverAGopher

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I am glad that so many fans have much higher expectations than I do for this program next season. This year it has been nothing but a "Debbie Downer". Covid, injuries, etc. etc. etc.

There was mention about Myers being injury proned. I also believe the same is true for CC. I know she was out for an injury and/or injuries while playing High School volleyball. I really have no facts.....it is just a gut feeling. Otherwise she could just be one very unfortunate Libero when it comes to injuries.

REALISTICALLY, both the backcourt and setting positions need addressing in the off season. Somehow, Hugh needs to figure out where he is going to put forth the effort needed to improve AT LEAST ONE of these positions. Doesn't anybody else see that?

Depth and talent mean nothing, if a team cannot perform in all positions at the best of their ability during game time. OOS volleyball cannot be played with positive results by every player on a team.....especially against THE MORE ELITE TEAMS.
 

MplsGopher

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miyabe is listed as a senior, played 2 years of JUCO and 2 years now with us. do we have insider info that she's coming back for a 5th season of college volleyball?
Free covid year.

Why wouldn't she come back?
 

MplsGopher

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Does anyone think that Hugh might play Landfair some at OPP next year? I believe she played some right side in her club career. That would allow him to play Rollins and Wenaas as 6-rotation OHs. However, that would put Kilkelly, who has earned PT, squarely on the sideline unless she is needed to fill in for McGraw or if one of the OHs was having trouble passing.
Hugh has remained steadfast to having one 6-rotation OH (Rollins) and one 3-rotation OH (Landfair) with a serving DS.

Assume that Wenaas is being groomed to replace Rollins, while Landfair has the "Alexis Hart" position locked down for the next 3/4 seasons.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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I am glad that so many fans have much higher expectations than I do for this program next season. This year it has been nothing but a "Debbie Downer". Covid, injuries, etc. etc. etc.

There was mention about Myers being injury proned. I also believe the same is true for CC. I know she was out for an injury and/or injuries while playing High School volleyball. I really have no facts.....it is just a gut feeling. Otherwise she could just be one very unfortunate Libero when it comes to injuries.

REALISTICALLY, both the backcourt and setting positions need addressing in the off season. Somehow, Hugh needs to figure out where he is going to put forth the effort needed to improve AT LEAST ONE of these positions. Doesn't anybody else see that?

Depth and talent mean nothing, if a team cannot perform in all positions at the best of their ability during game time. OOS volleyball cannot be played with positive results by every player on a team.....especially against THE MORE ELITE TEAMS.

I am sorry but this seems just bonkers to me. They are ranked number 3 in the nation right now!

If anyone wants an idea how hard it is to stay on top of a sport with very limited scholarships, please consider Stanford’s 2 win and 8 Loss disaster of a season. Stanford! If ever there was a program with natural recruiting advantages it is Stanford.
 

MRJ

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I am sorry but this seems just bonkers to me. They are ranked number 3 in the nation right now!

If anyone wants an idea how hard it is to stay on top of a sport with very limited scholarships, please consider Stanford’s 2 win and 8 Loss disaster of a season. Stanford! If ever there was a program with natural recruiting advantages it is Stanford.
Yeah, I don't get it. Sitting at 13-2 (likely to be 15-2 by the end of the season) and ranked No. 3 in the country and it's been nothing but a "debbie downer" season? I get being down because of Covid, but man, I guess those three final fours in five years (including 2019), top-three standing in the conference and a top-3 national ranking don't mean a whole lot.

Top Big 10 teams are ALWAYS amongst the nation's best. And there is NO evidence to suggest they won't be amongst the nation's best once the tourney starts.

Of course there are issues with the team. Every team has them. The bottom line is that despite not playing perfect volleyball at all times, they're still very much a top team. They know how to win and have done a whole lot of it under Hugh. In fact, they have won more than 80 percent of the time with Hugh as head coach. Will they make the final four? Who knows, but with Hugh's track record, I think I'll trust him to make it work.
 

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As a MN fan, I'm flattered to see the Gophers ranked #3 nationally. As a VB novice, I can't see why they would be ranked higher than, say, Nebraska or especially Texas (which is 21-1). The posters I read all lambast MN for poor back court play, deficient serve receive & passing, inadequate play from a first-year setter, CC's injury, and a thin roster. Personally, I come here to learn about VB, but I don't always know how to interpret some of the critiques. Are the Gophers overrated?
 

MplsGopher

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then why are you all writing off samedy and the other seniors? wouldn't they all be eligible too? not understanding the logic.
Yes, eligible. But they will have professional opportunities that they won't want to pass on. Samedy for sure. Pittman not as sure.
 

MplsGopher

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As a MN fan, I'm flattered to see the Gophers ranked #3 nationally. As a VB novice, I can't see why they would be ranked higher than, say, Nebraska or especially Texas (which is 21-1). The posters I read all lambast MN for poor back court play, deficient serve receive & passing, inadequate play from a first-year setter, CC's injury, and a thin roster. Personally, I come here to learn about VB, but I don't always know how to interpret some of the critiques. Are the Gophers overrated?
Welcome to the world of volleyball: everything is subjective, even the (passing) stats.
 

MRJ

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As a MN fan, I'm flattered to see the Gophers ranked #3 nationally. As a VB novice, I can't see why they would be ranked higher than, say, Nebraska or especially Texas (which is 21-1). The posters I read all lambast MN for poor back court play, deficient serve receive & passing, inadequate play from a first-year setter, CC's injury, and a thin roster. Personally, I come here to learn about VB, but I don't always know how to interpret some of the critiques. Are the Gophers overrated?
Some of it is the inherent negativity of Minnesota fans. Some of it is also justified criticism, especially of the back court play, which quite honestly needs to be better.

But folks were also complaining even when they won their first nine matches and swept top-10 Purdue on the road, Penn State at home and split with No. 4 Nebraska on the road.

Since then, their only loss is to undefeated, No. 1 Wisconsin in four while playing extremely short-handed.

From a criticism standpoint, where the team really lacks is in serve receive imo. If they were a bit cleaner there, they would be right there with Wisconsin imo. A lot of that goes to the back court play, but it's actually a problem team wide.

Other than that, there's plenty to like about this team.

Getting to the Final Four is never a sure thing for any program, the Gophers included. But I honestly don't understand the temptation to write this coach and program off. They've proven time after time that they get the job done far more often than not and therefore, deserve the benefit of the doubt imo.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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Yes, eligible. But they will have professional opportunities that they won't want to pass on. Samedy for sure. Pittman not as sure.
Wait a second. Fall sports are not eligible for a COVID 5th year are they? They got a full athletic year in. They had a championship in December 2019 after all. Are you sure that COVID 5th year thing applies to volleyball and other Fall sports. I just don’t think so.
 

MplsGopher

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Wait a second. Fall sports are not eligible for a COVID 5th year are they? They got a full athletic year in. They had a championship in December 2019 after all. Are you sure that COVID 5th year thing applies to volleyball and other Fall sports. I just don’t think so.
There was no fall volleyball season in Fall 2020. It was moved to Spring 2021. The NCAA issued a blanket statement that all fall sports athletes that were eligible to compete in the Fall of 2020, regardless if they did or if they would in Spring 2021 (during a shifted/makeup season), would be allowed to have a 5th season of participation/6th calendar year of eligibility.
 

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Renewed my season tickets for that fall. Cannot wait to be back in The Pav!

$320 (counting service fee) for 2 seats is the best deal in Minnesota sports (college, pro, high school...I don't care). Unreal value for the product.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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There was no fall volleyball season in Fall 2020. It was moved to Spring 2021. The NCAA issued a blanket statement that all fall sports athletes that were eligible to compete in the Fall of 2020, regardless if they did or if they would in Spring 2021 (during a shifted/makeup season), would be allowed to have a 5th season of participation/6th calendar year of eligibility.

I have no reason to doubt your analysis of the NCAA’s rules on this. I will assume your right.

However, assuming it is true, that is the single dumbest NCAA position/rule I have ever heard of. I don’t understand the rule allowing for a blanket 5th year of competitive eligibility for student athletes that received four years of athletic participation. I would understand, on a case by case basis, if some student/athletes elected in advance not to participate in this weird Spring 2021 season those non-participating student/athletes would be an approved a “COVID-redshirt” or something. But this doesn’t pass the common sense test. I guess some would argue that the NCAA has acted in other ways in the past lacking common sense, I have no doubt.
 

MplsGopher

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I have no reason to doubt your analysis of the NCAA’s rules on this. I will assume your right.

However, assuming it is true, that is the single dumbest NCAA position/rule I have ever heard of. I don’t understand the rule allowing for a blanket 5th year of competitive eligibility for student athletes that received four years of athletic participation. I would understand, on a case by case basis, if some student/athletes elected in advance not to participate in this weird Spring 2021 season those non-participating student/athletes would be an approved a “COVID-redshirt” or something. But this doesn’t pass the common sense test. I guess some would argue that the NCAA has acted in other ways in the past lacking common sense, I have no doubt.
The idea, I believe was like this: "even if there is a season for these athlete's, at best the experience will be a poor approximation of the overall collegiate, student-athlete experience in a normal year, therefore we agree that this year shouldn't count as using up one of the seasons of participation for eligibility".

Something like that.
 

ClassOf98Gopher

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The idea, I believe was like this: "even if there is a season for these athlete's, at best the experience will be a poor approximation of the overall collegiate, student-athlete experience in a normal year, therefore we agree that this year shouldn't count as using up one of the seasons of participation for eligibility".

Something like that.

I concede, based upon your explanation, that there may be a little more logic to the NCAA’s position statement/rule than what I initially gave it credit for.

BUT, there is a second issue as related to specifically this volleyball team. Even though the NCAA “allows” for a player to continue on the roster for a 5th year, teams/athletic departments have to actually offer a 5th year to these actual student-athletes, right?. I am sure there will be some incentive for volleyball team coaches with only so many volleyballs to go around (as they say) to keep the roster churn moving along. There are underclassmen that have expectations for playing time that are coming into the proverbial pipeline. Therefore, others on the team roster need to be moving through and out of that pipeline... or else there are clogs/problems. And, of course, if volleyball players are offered 5th years, I am sure athletic departments would have to accept the financial costs that goes along with that expanded roster.
 

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Some of it is the inherent negativity of Minnesota fans. Some of it is also justified criticism, especially of the back court play, which quite honestly needs to be better.

But folks were also complaining even when they won their first nine matches and swept top-10 Purdue on the road, Penn State at home and split with No. 4 Nebraska on the road.

Since then, their only loss is to undefeated, No. 1 Wisconsin in four while playing extremely short-handed.

From a criticism standpoint, where the team really lacks is in serve receive imo. If they were a bit cleaner there, they would be right there with Wisconsin imo. A lot of that goes to the back court play, but it's actually a problem team wide.

Other than that, there's plenty to like about this team.

Getting to the Final Four is never a sure thing for any program, the Gophers included. But I honestly don't understand the temptation to write this coach and program off. They've proven time after time that they get the job done far more often than not and therefore, deserve the benefit of the doubt imo.
As a tennis buff, I wonder in VB if it's the weakness of the MN serve receive or the strength of opponents' serving? It seems every opponent serves harder, deeper, and w/ more control than the Gophers, so the Gophers have to start their receive points from deep in their own court and work their way to the net. In contrast, the MN serves seem to drop at about mid-court, which means opponents can get forward to the net with a single pass. In pro tennis winning players often say, "My opponent had trouble with his serve return," which is a polite way of saying,"My serve was so d.....d good it pinned him to the baseline the whole match." In every Gopher VB match, I just wish they'd serve the d....d thing harder and deeper and set the opponents back on their heels.
 

MplsGopher

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I concede, based upon your explanation, that there may be a little more logic to the NCAA’s position statement/rule than what I initially gave it credit for.

BUT, there is a second issue as related to specifically this volleyball team. Even though the NCAA “allows” for a player to continue on the roster for a 5th year, teams/athletic departments have to actually offer a 5th year to these actual student-athletes, right?. I am sure there will be some incentive for volleyball team coaches with only so many volleyballs to go around (as they say) to keep the roster churn moving along. There are underclassmen that have expectations for playing time that are coming into the proverbial pipeline. Therefore, others on the team roster need to be moving through and out of that pipeline... or else there are clogs/problems. And, of course, if volleyball players are offered 5th years, I am sure athletic departments would have to accept the financial costs that goes along with that expanded roster.
Yes, you've highlighted an issue.

The school can provide a scholarship to any "super senior" during the (normal) fall 2021 season, matching the scholarship she received for the 2020-21 season, without counting against the scholarship limit. The school is not required to do that, though.

And I believe this only applies if the player stays at the same school. If they use their extra year to transfer to a new school, a scholarship there counts against that team's limit.


I also don't know if this rule will "live on" for four/five years, or if it will be a one year exception for fall 2021. Even though there will be five years of athletes who can use this extra year, if they want it, I suspect it will be a one year exception.



For our specific situation, the four seniors are: Pittman, Samedy, Miyabe, and Hunter Atherton (transfer setter who has seen almost no action this year). I don't know if all four are on scholarship, a wild guess might be only the first three.

Miyabe I hope comes back and plays RS, replacing Samedy who it's almost a foregone conclusion she will turn pro. Pittman is unknown, maybe a 50/50 chance if she will or go pro. Atherton I'm not sure if she will come back. To be honest, her prospects of getting much court time here are slim to none with Shaffmaster owning the job.
 
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