The Big Ten Volleyball Media Days event on Monday, August 1, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois at the Big Ten Network was attended by interviewees Purdue head coach Dave Shondell and top players Raven Colman and Emma Ellis who discussed the Purdue volleyball schedule, the upcoming season, the NIL, the recruiting success for the team and a preview on the NCAA tournament.
COACH SHONDELL: Purdue is thrilled to be here today at what I consider a major milestone in the sport of volleyball. And to be part of that is big. I've been around the game for a long time. My father was a pioneer in this sport. So I've watched hundreds of people try to get this game to the highest level.
And the Big Ten Conference, with the help of the Big Ten Network, and the help of media from across the country, have made this a phenomenal day for our sport. And so we certainly thank you for that.
We're coming off a couple of good seasons. We're not being shown a lot of love so far with what kind of a season we might have this year. Yet, I love our team. We have a lot of really good players. A lot of really good athletes on our team. I can't wait to get in the gym with them a week from today.
To my right is Raven Colvin. And Raven is one of the premier athletes in the game. She played with the U.S.A. Under 21 Team this past summer. Went to Mexico and they won the gold medal. And as a freshman was a big player for us and has great leadership skills and tremendous athletic ability. She's from Indianapolis.
Emma Ellis from Charlotte, North Carolina. She'll be a senior. And she's one of, I think, five seniors that we have on our roster. And she has been a semi regular in our lineup for the last three years. Plays with great enthusiasm, has turned into just a tremendous teammate.
So we're excited about the season and we know the conference is really, really tough. And we love the fact that there's going to be so many matches on television this year. That's why the Big Ten is as good as it is because we're on TV more than anybody else. And all these young athletes can see what's going on. They can see the full houses at all these different Big Ten universities and the level of play. So we're excited to be here and we'll take questions now.
Q. Part of a coach's job in college is to have players run through the system and you get new ones and you rebuild. In your case, losing a center and a libero like you had who had been with you for so long, the two anchor spots, tell me who is going to replace them and how do you approach that?
COACH SHONDELL: Well, our focus will be on the first and second contact this year quite a bit from the start of the season to the end. Not that it would be anything new because that's where the game is traditionally won and lost.
Hayley Bush was our setter, a four-year starter. Jena Otec was the libero the last couple of seasons, was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year two years ago. Those were big losses but we lose a lot more than that as well.
So our focus will be on developing a setter. We've got Meg Renner who will be a redshirt junior. So she's been in our program for three years. 6'1" and a half out of the state of Iowa. I think she'll be more than capable of taking this team where they need to go.
We also have Grace Balensiefer, who was a four-year starter at Northern Illinois who will play her fifth year in her home city, in West Lafayette.
And we also have Sydney Yim, a redshirt freshman from the East Coast that's also a very physical athlete. That's where our setting will take place. But we're going to have to train a lot and really work with those people.
And then our back court, you lose Hornung who's been around for four years, you lose Otec, who's been around for five years. And we're going to rely a lot on Maddie Schermerhorn, who will probably start the season as our libero. And we have another Hornung that's come a long way, Ali Hornung, who was high recruited and will be a back court player and will compete for the libero position as well. And our outside hitters will have to step in and pass the ball as well.
We have as well as having Emma Ellis on the left side and Maddy Chinn on the left side, and Madi Koch, who will all be seniors, we have a couple of really good freshmen that are going to compete for those positions as well.
Q. Raven, growing in an athletic family, your family connection to Purdue, how excited are you to be at Purdue, and knowing that your younger brother will be at Purdue?
RAVEN COLVIN: I think it's a really cool experience and opportunity. Not a lot of people gets that chance to be a legacy kid at a university.
And I think just being able to represent my family and represent them in the best way possible, and just as a family we get to now have like a conversation about Purdue all the time and we get to grow closer as a family.
I'm really excited for my brother to come. I think he'll love it at Purdue. I'm most excited to have more time with him just growing older and things like that.
Q. With the addition of Volleyball World broadcasting over 70 matches this year, do you think there will be an increase in international talent in the Big Ten moving forward? And Purdue hasn't seen too many non-Americans playing recently?
COACH SHONDELL: There seems to be a small trend going that direction. And I think NIL money can change that as well to draw some more international players. I think we have the best players in the world in the United States, to be honest with you.
They're developed. They're trained extremely well. Very athletic. Doesn't mean we won't go after the right international player. But at this point in time we feel like we can find tremendous athletes in America.
Q. Raven and Emma, how much do last year's experiences carry over with how much roster turnover you had? Made the regional final and beat Wisconsin, the national champion, twice. How much does that carry over to this season?
EMMA ELLIS: I think a lot of us have been through it. We were, both of us and a lot of the girls on the team now, were able to be in those moments. And I think our experience -- and I think we're really motivated team in general. So I think that will definitely kind of carry over. And just kind of like it's a new start, kind of like we can build the team from what we're envisioning, things like that.
RAVEN COLVIN: I agree with Emma. I think just being motivated about these new games and just the new team and being able to pave our own path in a way and kind of just show people like what we're made of with new people and having fun with the creativity of having a new team.
Q. Congratulations on your family being involved in volleyball for so long, especially your dad's influence on the game. Watching how much college talent has come out of the Muncie area, how proud are you of that?
COACH SHONDELL: I grew up in Muncie. Spent 45 years there. My dad was kind of the pioneer of all that in Muncie. He was the head men's coach at Ball State. And so many people that went to Ball State then went out and taught the game. A lot of them stayed in Muncie.
We were so proud of our community that as high school coaches, which I was for 21 years, and my brother for longer than that, and Wes Lyon and Mike Lingenfelter, and some many others that are outstanding coaches, we didn't care if we were coaching somebody else's player during club season, with the Munciana Volleyball Club. We just wanted the players in our community to have great success and build something special. And we did that.
My dad was never involved with the Munciana program. He just sat back and watched and was proud of what happened.
And obviously Kelly Sheffield from Ball State was part of that group. Trent learned the game in Muncie. And Craig Skinner the year before that, both were national champions. So something everybody that's involved in volleyball from that community is extremely proud of.
Q. What is it about Purdue that makes so many players not only want to go there but stay there? The reason I said that I followed Purdue back to the Sam Epenesa era quite a few years ago and success with her family, it translates into today's game and your team. Player and coaches, what is it that not only makes you want to go there but stay there?
RAVEN COLVIN: For me, it was just the experience of Dave, Kat and John, and the history they've had and how long they've been together. Just knowing you can trust them and believe what they're saying because they know what they're talking about.
And I think more than that was like the girls on the team and just the culture that Purdue has and just the relationships that you build on the court and off the court.
EMMA ELLIS: I would say the support of the community around our sport, especially at Purdue. We have our own student section, the Boiler Block Party, and just like the love that people show for us, show for the sport, in general, it's just incredible. And like you can feel it day in, day out, whether you're on the street or whether you're in the gym. Just the support and the love is awesome.
Q. Curious for the three of you, what do you think about the Big Ten getting a little bit bigger now in recent, in the coming years, given how competitive this league already is from a volleyball perspective?
COACH SHONDELL: I was surprised when I first heard about it. There was no real -- nobody let the cat out of the bag early. It was kind of a shock when I first saw it.
But we have the best conference in the country. A lot of people want to be in it. And obviously financially we're in a good position in this league.
And I don't know where we're going to end up. The guy was just out in the hallway you asked the question to. But we are fine with where we are right now. You're adding two tremendous volleyball schools and athletic schools, great academic institutions. They're a great fit for the Big Ten.
How the logistics of all that will work out, we'll leave that up to somebody else.
A lot of questions about you'll be flying out to Los Angeles, so forth -- you might do that once a year. They're going to be doing it a lot more.
And so it's going to be a lot tougher on them than I think it will be on the rest of the Big Ten schools. And part of the draw, I think, is most of our conference schools in the sport of volleyball are charter flying.
And so it's not as big of a deal as a lot of people are making it out to be at least from my experience when we go out to the East Coast, we're there in an hour and 45 minutes and it's not that big of a deal.
EMMA ELLIS: I'd say it's going to be interesting, for sure. Just like the style of play's, I would say, is pretty different. But I think it will be -- I think it will be interesting to see kind of how they can help progress I guess volleyball in general but volleyball in the Midwest, volleyball in the Big Ten.
But I definitely think it's probably going to be like a huge change that they're going to try to figure out.
RAVEN COLVIN: To keep it simple, I think it's going to add a new flare to the Big Ten. Personally when I saw it on social media, I thought it was really cool.
But I also thought about what Dave said, the flying and stuff, that's going to be really difficult to figure out. Personally, I don't want to be on the plane for a long time. But I think it will be fun just to see new faces and new people that we've never played against really ever.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
123351-1-1045 2022-08-01 21:47:00 GMT
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I share alot of individual, partner and easy-to-do volleyball serving drills we do in class with my followers.
Many of these volleyball practice drills you can do at home by yourself or try at your next practice with your teammates.
If you're a B team or JV player trying to make varsity next year...your goal should be to complete 1000 reps a day of at least three of the basic skills on your own...volleyball passing, serving and setting should be at the top of the list.
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