Illinois volleyball’s 2017 recruiting class now nine players strong


Elisabeth Neely

Chris Tamas talks to the press for the first time after being hired as Illinois’ new women’s volleyball head coach on Feb. 10. Four more recruits recently signed to play this season.

By Jacob Diaz, Staff writer

The 2017 season will be the beginning of a new era for the Illinois volleyball team.

Huff Hall will feature many new faces this fall: Nine freshmen and a new head coach move in after seven seniors and a head coach depart.

The final four members of former head coach Kevin Hambly’s last recruiting class were announced last Wednesday.

Setter Kylie Bruder and defensive specialists Morgan O’Brien, Lexie Smith and Emmaline Walters join middle blocker Tyanna Omazic and outsides Marijke Van Dyke, Emily Hollowell, Megan Cooney and Kylie Kuyava-DeBerg.

The Illini needed a sizable recruiting class to fill the spaces left by the graduating seniors, and with the class of 2017, head coach Chris Tamas achieves that. The addition of these final four players changes the previously offense-minded class to look more balanced.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

“Ball control is very important,” Tamas said. “I’ve gotten to see these girls play over the past few months, and I’m excited to see what they can do while they’re here.”

Tamas said that he plans to give all of the new recruits chances to prove themselves but expects some growing pains as they adjust to the speed and skill of the college game.

With the recruits, the Illinois roster grows to 18 total players, two more than are allowed to travel to road matches. Tamas isn’t worried about having to leave two of his players back though — in fact, he may leave even more behind when the team travels.

“If we have 16 (players) that contribute and that I think I’m going to put in the match, we’ll travel with 16,” Tamas said. “But if we only have 12 or 14 that contribute, we’ll only travel with 12 or 14. If I think I’ll put them in a match, they’ll travel with the team, but if not, there’s a chance for a bigger group to stay back here and work on their skills to earn their spot when we travel.”

The second part of the class could not be announced on signing day due to NCAA rules.

[email protected]