As we outlined in our look at the returning players for the 2016 season, Marquette returns a heavy majority of what got them to their fifth consecutive NCAA tournament in 2015. Head coach Ryan Theis might not have to worry about relying on the newcomers this season, but it’s clear that they could provide some fireworks if called upon.
Marquette’s three freshmen are all top 100 recruits, and when combined with one of the transfers, it gives Theis the #19 recruiting class in the country according to PrepVolleyball.com. That’s the best ranking that Marquette has ever had, so let's try to temper our enthusiasm.
We’ll tackle the first year players first, then move on to the newcomers with college experience. Let’s start with the freshman that we’re probably not going to see on the court this season......
#11 - Outside Hitter - 6’5" - Cedarburg, WI
Barber is the #45 recruit in the country for the Class of 2016, and she’s not going to play for Marquette this season. Don’t worry, she’s not hurt or anything. Ryan Theis told Andrew Goldstein of the Marquette Wire that he is planning on redshirting Barber this season, just like he did with Jenna Rosenthal, Taylor Louis, Amanda Green, and Abby Julian. It’s kind of a bummer, as I was really enjoying the idea of seeing Barber playing at the same time as the 6’6" Rosenthal. Ah, well, they’ll still have two seasons together.
It’s probably the right move, as Barber recorded 542 of her 911 career kills in her senior season at Cedarburg High School. Even though she was a four year varsity letter winner, that’s a pretty lopsided kills total for her other three seasons, especially for a 6’5" woman. While someone who can hit .506 for their senior year in high school is pretty damn impressive, it seems pretty clear that Barber’s only just now starting to hit her stride as a player, and the redshirt should work out pretty well for her.
#5 - Setter - 5’9" - San Jose, CA
Three years of varsity volleyball at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, three California Division II state titles for Speckman. In 320 career sets, Speckman averaged 4.9 assists per game, as well as averaging a bit more than a dig per frame and a service ace in every other set.
She’s the #75 recruit in the class, according to PrepVolleyball.com, and she has experience on the international level after a stint as the starting setter on the 2014 USA Youth National Team. All those accolades are nice, but I have a hard time seeing a scenario where Speckman either A) plays with Sara Blasier or B) plays extended minutes because Blasier can’t go. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the plan for Speckman be to try and redshirt her and have Blasier play every point this season.
#12 - Outside Hitter - 6’0" - Waterloo, WI
With no strong secondary hitter on the team, Mosher will get a chance to crack the lineup. She can play all six spots on the floor well, so presuming that translates to college, that’ll make her pretty valuable to the Golden Eagles.
A three time conference Player of the Year in high school, Mosher is the #85 ranked recruit in this year’s class. Her Waterloo teams won back-to-back state titles in 2014 and 2015 with Mosher averaging over seven kills a set in the two title matches. Her 2015 title game against Lake Country Lutheran is kind of bananas, as she recorded 39 kills in the five set match and hit .478. I’m trying to figure out how this thing went five with Mosher tearing it up like that.
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Moving on, we have one transfer that will almost assuredly make a major impact on Marquette this season, and one that will provide some depth on the roster.
#1 - 5’5" - Libero - Metz, France
When you have a chance to add the libero off the 2015 JUCO national champion who tallied 873 digs in a single season, YOU DO IT. That’s what Ryan Theis did, and Geoffroy will have two years of eligibility left after transferring from San Jacinto Junior College.
Before she came stateside for college, Geoffroy won a 2012 French AAU championship and was named Libero of the Year. It would seem obvious that she’ll occupy the vacuum left behind by Riley Burchett walking away from collegiate volleyball, but even more importantly, Geoffroy will be ready to take over as libero when Lauren Houg and Ellen Hays graduate after this season.
#4 - 5’5" - Defensive Specialist - Milwaukee, WI
Yee played her freshman year of college volleyball for Ryan Theis when he was the head coach at Ohio. That was also Theis’ last year coaching the Bobcats, and Yee hasn’t played since. I don’t mean that the new coach wasn’t a fan of hers, I mean she wasn’t even on the roster any more. Her official GoMarquette.com bio says she’s transferring to Marquette from Ohio by way of UW-Milwaukee. I presume that this means that the Milwaukee native came home and was attending college on the east side, but she wasn’t on UWM’s volleyball team, either. Yee played 63 sets for Theis in 2013, recording 11 aces and 32 digs. She’s listed as a senior on the roster, so between Lauren Houg, and Ellen Hays, I don’t expect to see much of Yee on the court.