Women's Volleyball Adds Three for 2018
MUNCIE, Ind. - - With three key additions in her second recruiting class, Ball State women's volleyball head coach Kelli Miller has bolstered the team's backcourt, frontcourt and setting position heading into her third season at the helm.
Set to join the Cardinals in the fall of 2018 are setter Esther Grussing (Willmar, Minn./Willmar), right side/middle Reece Kral (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) and defensive specialist Cathryn Starck (Modesto, Calif./Beyer).
Name: Esther Grussing
Hometown: Willmar, Minn.
High School: Willmar
Club: Northern Lights
Grussing, who signed an NLI to join the program in the fall, finished her senior season at Willmar High School with a program single season record 988 assists. She guided the Cardinals to a 25-5 record and a Central Lakes Conference Champions as team captain her senior year while also collecting 25 digs, 63 kills, 54 blocks and 43 aces.
A three-time First Team All-Conference honoree, Grussing was a four-year letterwinner in volleyball for her mother Traci Grussing at Willmar. An Under Armour Honorable Mention All-American as a senior, she was also Team MVP her final three seasons.
Over her four-year playing career, Grussing led the Cardinals to an 85-29 overall record while recording 2,614 assists, 691 digs, 169 blocks and 141 aces.
MILLER ON GRUSSING: "I am so excited to add Esther to our program. She has quick feet, a great release and a high volleyball IQ which are all qualities you look for in a setter. She's a natural at developing offensive rhythm and she finds a way to deliver the sets right where her hitters need it. She plays for a great club and high school team which will help prepare her to play at the college level right away."
GRUSSING ON BALL STATE: "I chose Ball State because I loved the campus, coaches and players. It is far enough away from home that I can feel independent."
Name: Reece Kral
Position: Right Side / Middle
Hometown: Crown Point, Ind.
High School: Crown Point
Kral, who signed an NLI to join the program in the fall, was named First Team All-State as a senior after registering 270 kills and 101 total blocks. She helped guide Crown Point to a 35-4 overall record and a runner-up finish in the IHSAA Class 4A State Championships.
A three-year letterwinner in volleyball for Coach Alison Duncan at Crown Point, Kral also helped guide the Bulldogs to a runner-up finish in the IHSAA Class 4A State Championships as a junior. She was also named second team all-area as a junior and senior after picking up honorable mention accolades as a sophomore.
Over her three-year varsity career, which included three sectional and three regional championships, Kral played in 362 sets and produced 705 kills, 321 total blocks and 41 service aces while hitting .271.
MILLER ON KRAL: "Reece is dynamic competitor who is very versatile. She can play any position in the front row and is a physical blocking presence. She is a player who simply gets after it and will do whatever necessary to help her team win.
KRAL ON BALL STATE: "I chose Ball State because it is close to home, so I will be able to see my family. I really liked the size of the campus and it had the major I wanted to study."
Name: Cathryn Starck
Position: Defensive Specialist
Hometown: Modesto, Calif.
High School: Beyer
Major: Speech and Language Pathology
A team captain in each of her final three season, Cathryn Starck helped lead the Beyer High School to a 23-8 record her senior season by smashing 360 kills and serving up 101 aces. She was just as dominate in the backcourt, bringing up 325 digs.
A four-year letterwinner for Coach Tony Silva, Starck was named the Modesto Metropolitan Conference MVP as a senior. She also earned First Team All-Conference accolades in each of her four varsity seasons, while being named team MVP in each of her final three seasons.
Over her final three seasons, Starck logged 672 digs, 617 kills, 221 aces and a .298 hitting percentage.
MILLER ON STARCK: "Cat is a high-energy playmaker in the backcourt. She reads well on defense and scores a lot of points with her serve. She will provide a great spark and work ethic to our team and I look forward to adding her to our program."
STARCK ON BALL STATE: "I chose Ball State because all three of my siblings have attended Ball State and loved it. I wanted to make it a part of my experience too. My sister said their sports programs have helped her so much and that led me into really wanting to play volleyball for Ball State. I am lucky to have gotten the school I was striving for."