The 8 Most Impactful NCAA Volleyball Transfers of 2017
Since the end of the 2016 season last December -- and even before -- plenty of volleyball transfers happened, some of which we think will have big impacts on the 2017 season.
Here are our picks for the transfers whose school choices are most likely to make a major difference this fall.
1. Sarah Sponcil: Loyola Marymount to UCLA
Senior | Outside Hitter | 5-foot-10
Sponcil was far and away the biggest all-around contributor on the LMU squad in 2016. She led the team with 402 kills, hitting .297, and she added 26 aces, 328 digs, and 37 total blocks. Also the school's top beach volleyball player, Sponcil went 30-12 overall at the No. 1 spot during her time on the LMU sand team, earning All-American honors twice on the beach.
The 2016 West Coast Conference Defender of the Year will bring leadership and experience to a Bruins squad that lost a lot of talent to transfers and graduation. Sponcil will be one of only two seniors on the 2017 roster, joining star outside hitter Reily Buechler.
"Sarah brings a wealth of volleyball knowledge and talent to our team," UCLA head coach Mike Sealy said. "She will bring valuable experience to a very young and talented team . . . Sarah can help us in a variety of ways on the court and I am excited to see the impact that she is going to have."
2. Marion Hazelwood: Oklahoma to Washington
Grad Student | 6-3 | Middle Blocker
A three-time AVCA honorable mention All-American, Hazelwood will be one of three middle blockers on the 2017 Washington volleyball roster (not counting outside hitter Kara Bajema who started in the middle last year).
"It will be a sprint of a season for Marion and she will give us the additional depth we've sought at the middle blocker position," Washington head coach Keegan Cook said of the two-time Big 12 First Teamer, who ranked second on the 2016 Oklahoma squad with 263 kills and a .308 hitting percentage and led the team with 122 blocks.
3. Taylor Alexander: Ole Miss to Kansas
Grad Student | 6-4 | Middle Blocker
As a junior in 2016, Alexander led the Ole Miss team with 0.92 blocks per set, and the Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, native started in all 31 matches. She joins a Kansas squad with quite a bit of depth in the middle, including Arizona State transfer Mmachi Nwoke, sophomore Zoe Hill, and senior Kayla Cheadle; however, 6-4 Alexander has a height advantage over the other three MBs.
"We are fortunate to have great depth at the middle blocker position, even after the graduation of Soucie," Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. "Taylor has a great motor and will be part of a group that will push each other and compete for playing time."
4. Bree Bailey: Arizona State to NC State
Grad Student | Outside Hitter | 6-4
Bailey's actually announced her departure from the Arizona State program last August, electing to sit out the 2016 season while she figured out where to transfer. In November, she announced her decision to follow former ASU associate head coach Linda Hampton-Keith to NC State, where Hampton-Keith was the new head coach.
Bailey earned Pac-12 All-Freshman Team honors in 2013 and was a Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention in 2015. The daughter of former NC State basketball star Thurl Bailey, who helped led the Wolfpack to the 1983 national championship, Bree has already earned recognition from the coaches of the Atlantic Coast Conference and was named Preseason All-ACC.
Bailey is one of nine outside hitters on the NC State roster, but she holds at least a three-inch height advantage over the other candidates for a starting spot, not to mention plenty of experience in a top conference.
5. Taylor Louis: Marquette to Iowa
Redshirt Junior | Outside Hitter | 6-2
Louis penned an impressive resume in two seasons at Marquette. She became the fastest Golden Eagle volleyball player to reach 1,000 career kills, and earned honorable mention All-America honors, as well as First Team All-Big East. With a team-high 537 kills and 20 aces, 257 digs, and 63 total blocks, Louis contributed on all sides of the ball for Marquette.
In choosing to transfer to Iowa, Louis follows former Marquette head coach Bond Shymansky, who played a part in recruiting Louis to Marquette and is now the Hawkeyes head coach. There are a total of five outside hitters on the Iowa roster, but Louis certainly has a chance to earn a starting nod.
6. Kylie Pickrell: Arizona State to NC State
Junior | Setter | 6-0
Pickrell started on the Arizona State squad as a freshman and a sophomore, leading the team with 727 assists in 2016 and ranking second with 469 in 2015. In transferring to NC State, the junior will rejoin former teammate Bree Bailey.
Pickrell joins junior Becky Porter and Kaylee Frazier as one of three setters on the 2017 Wolfpack roster; however, the starting spot is largely up for grabs after the graduation of starting setter Maggie Speaks.
7. Cindy Marina: Duke to USC
Sophomore | Setter | 5-11
Marina got some incredible experience as the freshman starting setter for Duke in 2016. With a league-high 11.11 assists/set, Marina earned a spot on the ACC All-Freshman team, and her departure forced the Blue Devils to do a bit of scrambling, eventually adding Palm Beach State transfer Haley Seyfarth.
At USC, Marina joins fellow setters freshman Alexa Gallegos and senior Reni Meyer-Whalley, who ran one-half of the Trojans' 6-2 offense.
8. Kendra Koetter: Georgia Southern to North Carolina
Junior | Setter | 5-8
Koetter led her Georgia Southern team with 626 assists and played in 32 of 33 matches in 2016. Also a force behind the service line, Koetter tallied more than double any of her teammates' ace totals.
The daughter of Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter, Kendra will compete with Mariah Evans, who served as one half of the Tar Heels' 6-2 in 2016, and 6-7 redshirt freshman setter/opposite Holly Carlton for a starting spot.
"Kendra comes with quite a bit of experience after competing for Georgia Southern," North Carolina head coach Joe Sagula said. "She is very athletic, and as a veteran she will add leadership to our team, which presently has a majority of underclasswomen."
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