The news caught Hugh McCutcheon completely by surprise, like a wily setter dumping the ball over the net. Volleyball prodigy Melani Shaffmaster — an eighth-grader — ended her college recruitment on her first visit to Minnesota in 2016, giving the Gophers coach a commitment before she returned home to Indiana.
It seemed almost too good to be true, especially after McCutcheon looked at the calendar.
"It was on April 1," he said. "I really was holding my breath for 24 hours, just to make sure I wasn't getting pranked."
When it comes to volleyball, Shaffmaster doesn't fool around. The freshman setter felt at home from the moment she set foot on campus, and she's become an integral part of the lineup just as quickly.