June 1, 2011

College Volleyball 2012 Recruiting Question

Hey, Coach! 

Thanks for all  of the insight.  Being a volleydad can be a nerve wracking endeavor.  My 2012 daughter was being recruited by Division I programs only, in fact her club recruiting coordinator made the comment that several Division II and Division III coached had talked to him and considered her untouchable, i.e. a definite D1 PSA, and as such were not going to contact her since they were sure she would go D1.  One of the other parents at the club works for a recruiting service, we did not pay for her services, but she also offered that she thought my daughter would end up at a D1 school.

My daughter’s club team got a new coach this year and the first day of the first tournament of the year she was told she would be playing all the way around in a 6-2, playing MB on the front row and setting back row (She is a 5’ 11½” setter and the tallest girl on the team).  It was her first time to EVER play MB, they had never even practiced with her in that position, and needless to say, she did not do as well as the coach was hoping.  The next day, they ran a 6-2 with her sitting on the bench front row and the other Setter who is only about 5’6” playing all the way around and playing Right Side on the front row.  The other setter did better on the front row which was no surprise.  The year before, my daughter’s club team ran a 6-2 and both she and the other setter played all six rotations of every game, RS on the front row, and Setter back row. 

Well…that was how it stayed up until March.  My daughter, the tallest player on the team, only played three rotations of every game, setting from the back row.  I say up until March because her team went to a qualifier in mid to late March and their primary MB did not make the trip.  It was a surprise to the team and they again asked my daughter to play MB.  Fortunately for her, her high school team had started working her at MB in the off-season (She ran a 5-1 as the starting Setter for her HS Varsity team as a sophomore and junior, and she is the tallest girl on her HS team as well).  She did great at the qualifier and probably averaged more than three blocks per game.  She also went to the USAV HP tryout the day before the start of the qualifier and was one of only three or four Setters out of the 25 plus who tried out that made it onto the top court at the tryout. 

Since she had done so well at the qualifier and their primary MB was going to be at the next tournament, her coach told her that she would get an opportunity to play all six rotations, RS front row, and Setter back row.  He was true to his word and she and the other setter split time on the bench, playing three rotations one game and six rotations the other of every two game match, and if they went to the third game, they would both play all six rotations.  They did this for the final three tournaments of the season, and after struggling all year, won a local tournament, made it to the bronze bracket of one regional tournament and the gold bracket of another.  

The dilemma…by the time she was given the opportunity to play more (April), most of the D1 schools she had been talking with had sent her an e-mail to let her know that they had already committed another Setter.  One D1 school that she was really ready to commit to, and it seemed that the feeling was mutual, lost the Setter they already had on their roster and picked up a 2011 grad instead.  A few of the D1 schools that had contacted her early on are still communicating with her sporadically.  A couple more initiated contact after the last qualifier her team went to the first week of May, and a couple D3 schools got in touch with her after that last qualifier as well.   Some good news in an otherwise frustrating year…she just accepted an invitation to play on her Regions HP team!

Her goal is to play Division I Volleyball and get a degree in nursing/medicine/physical therapy.  It seemed she was headed in that direction, but her prospects are dwindling.  The question…what should she do now?  Stay the D1 course and trust that things will work out, Start contacting D2 schools, or go with the one of the D3 schools that is showing some love?  Hope to hear from you.  Thanks again for your blog!

Very truly yours, S.W.

Thanks for the email and a quick reply, as my day job has be backed up and there are a number of other questions in the Q to be posted.

Stay the course.  What you have referenced must be frustrating, but is very common within the world of Club Volleyball and College Volleyball recruiting; tournament needs dictate that players may have to play outside of the position they wish to play and College Volleyball recruiting needs can change quickly because of injuries, grades, transfers, etc.

Even though it seems like things are closing in and options are rapidly diminishing, this is only partially correct.  Yes, any number of DI's are finished or more importantly, may not need a setter in 2012 because of roster make up.  But, but, but, things change over the summer and especially after the end of the 2011 season.  Again, kids get homesick, flunk out, coaching changes, injuries all affect scholarship opportunities.

With your PSA's height and her making the HP team, she will be an attractive option to any number of DI's when the New Year rolls around.  Best thing I can suggest is to focus on the remaining tournaments in this club season (any championships), have a great senior year, then be very specific with your club that your daughter will set because this is her position for College Volleyball.  I promise you that early in the next club season, many DI's will be looking for a setter - make sure the club team is attending the early club season big tournament.

You can look at non-DI possibilities later in the Senior club season, because they will be there as they are waiting for the DI's to make their offers.

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