Get To Know Penn State Women’s Volleyball’s 2020 Recruiting Class
Following a number of high-profile departures this offseason, it’s easy to be concerned about Penn State women’s volleyball’s roster depth. Luckily, the Nittany Lions will welcome a talented freshman class to Happy Valley this fall to bolster the team.
As it stands, Penn State’s 2020 recruiting class consists of Annie Cate Fitzpatrick, Macy Van Den Elzen, Maddy Bilinovic, and Samantha McCool. The former two will join the team as outside hitters, while the latter two will likely serve as defensive specialists.
Fitzpatrick and Van Den Elzen received national attention earlier this spring when they became the Gatorade Volleyball Players of the Year for Florida and Pennsylvania, respectively.
Van Den Elzen, who hails from Emmaus, Pennsylvania, racked up 410 kills, 144 digs, 71 service aces, and 50 blocks in her senior season at Emmaus High School. Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, recorded 425 kills, 250 digs, 56 blocks, and 31 service aces this season at Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, Florida.
The duo also competed at the 14th annual Under Armour All-America Volleyball Match last December and helped their team claim the title. The showcase annually brings together 24 of college volleyball’s top recruits for a match to show off their skills.
“My experience at the Under Armour All-America match was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Fitzpatrick told Dig Nittany Volleyball in April. “It was amazing meeting so many new people and getting to play on such a high-level team with all of them. We got a ton of awesome gear and they treated us like pro athletes for a couple days. It was a super cool thing to be a part of.”
Together, Fitzpatrick and Van Den Elzen will likely compete for playing time at outside hitter. Following the departure of Tori Gorrell, the duo should work their way into the rotation alongside transfers Hannah Flowers and Anastasiya Kudryashova.
“I have always aspired to be a part of the Penn State legacy,” Van Den Elzen said. “I have respect for both the university and volleyball program, as they care about you as a student, a player, and a person.”
McCool, who committed to the team just a few weeks ago, brings a strong skill set to the Nittany Lions’ roster. She’ll likely play as a defensive specialist at Penn State and compete for playing time in the team’s crowded backcourt.
Back at Woodward Academy in College Park, Georgia, McCool posted 700 digs and 169 aces over her four-year varsity career. She’ll arrive in Happy Valley alongside West Virginia transfer Keatan Broughton, a fellow defensive specialist, this fall.
Rounding out the class is Bilinovic, who’ll also join the Nittany Lions’ backcourt. She’s a 5’5″ defensive specialist from Independence, Ohio, who racked up 1383 digs, 232 aces, 197 assists, and 46 kills over her four-year high school career.
Bilinovic will join the team following the departure of Kendall White, who’s arguably the greatest libero to play at Penn State in program history. Although she has big shoes to fill, Bilinovic is excited to join the team this fall.
“Penn State has the best of both worlds with elite academics and one of the top volleyball programs in the country,” Bilinovic said. “The culture that Coach Rose and the entire coaching staff has established allows me to compete with my teammates at the highest level of collegiate volleyball. I cannot wait to be a part of the Penn State community and family.”
Currently, Penn State’s 2020 recruiting class is ranked No. 18 in the nation, according to PrepVolleyball.
In the coming weeks, Penn State will release its upcoming 2020 season schedule as the Nittany Lions gear up for another campaign. Last season, the team made it all the way to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight before falling to Stanford, which went on to win the national title yet again.
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