Ireland Commits to Eastern Illinois!

Date Posted: 7/1/2018

Q: “Congratulations on your decision to play at Eastern Illinois!  Can you tell us about your recruiting process to provide some insight for our younger players?”

 A:  "Thank you! For starters, I began playing volleyball in 6th grade, and instantly fell in love with the game. Immediately, I knew I wanted to play in college. When I moved to Illinois in 8th grade, I started getting more serious about improving my skills. The start of sophomore year, I made a list of schools I was interested in, and sent emails describing my playing history and achievements, along with film from games. My coach, at the time, was very helpful by reaching out to schools and putting me out there. It was pretty slow start in the beginning, but then it began to pick up! Some advice is to do lots of research on all the schools you are interested in so you can find out if it’s the right fit for you!

By this time last year, I was talking to completely different group of schools than I was a few weeks ago. My mom was a huge help to me as far as helping me write emails and make videos to send to colleges. She was my biggest supporter and I couldn’t have done it without her.

Two weeks ago, EIU reached out to me and said they were super interested! I called Julie (EIU head coach) and she was so excited to be hearing from me. Then we set up a visit. When I visited EIU, I completely fell in love with the school as a whole. The coaches, the team, campus, academics and environment felt nothing like any of my other visits. EIU felt like home."


Q: "How has Wildcat Jrs. prepared or helped you through the college recruiting process?

A: "Wildcat Jrs. has helped me so incredibly much and made the process so easy. Karen has been a huge help! She has called and talked to many coaches and has really helped me stay on top of my journey. Throughout the season, Karen, Doug and Cassie encouraged me to be the best that I could be, and that made me prosper! Karen helped me to prepare for calls with coaches, guiding me as to what questions to ask, and giving me so much advice. During the season, I would go in early before practice to work with the setters and get extra reps by hitting off of their sets. Putting in extra effort, if that means staying a little late or going in early, really pays off. The club as a whole pushes me physically and mentally which prepares me for college. Wildcats does an amazing job at giving all the resources you need to succeed. They’ve really assisted in shaping me into who I am as a player and a person."


Q. "Is there any advice you would give our younger Wildcat Jrs. players that want to pursue playing volleyball in college?”

A:  "Be patient. I know it’s hard but the outcome is so fulfilling!! The recruitment process can be long and difficult, but it’s completely worth it. Also, if one of your top schools tells you they are going to pursue other girls in your class/position, don’t worry because that obviously isn’t the school for you. Everything happens for a reason, and you will find the best fit for you. Another piece of advice I have is to be open to schools no matter the division or location. I was confident my future lay back in the West Coast but since I was open to EIU, I found the college of my dreams! I learned to forget about location because college is just for 4 years, it will fly by just like that and I would miss out on the experience if I would have been closed off to Midwest schools."