Colleen Ward ranked 10th in the SEC in kills in 2009 (photo by Allen Siorek
April 14, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illini head coach Kevin Hambly has added another impressive player to his line-up for this fall as 6-2 outside hitter Colleen Ward has signed a letter of tender to transfer to Illinois from the University of Florida. The graduate of Naperville (Ill.) North High School was a second-team All-Southeastern Conference performer in 2009.
Ward gives the Illini two top-20 recruits from the Class of 2008. Current Illini right-side hitter Michelle Bartsch was ranked No. 16 in the class, while Ward was ranked no. 7 in the class by prepvolleyball.com. She fills the void left by Kylie McCulley, who exhausted her eligibility after serving three years as a starter.
"Colleen Ward brings a physical presence and high-level college volleyball experience," Hambly said. "She fits our need both as a player and as a person. Colleen brings a lot to our program and we're excited to have her join us this fall."
Ward ranked 10th in the SEC in kills (3.09 per set) and was named to the All-Tournament Teams at both the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational and the 31st Community Bankers Classic in 2009. She played in every set for a team that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 before bowing out to eventual national champion Penn State. Ward had 18 kills in a late-season upset of No. 10 Kentucky and 16 kills, six digs and three blocks in an early-season match with No. 11 Stanford.
Ward was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team in 2008 after earning first-team All-American by both prepvolleyball.com and Mizuno/Volleyball Magazine as both a junior and a senior in high school, earning Naperville Sun All-Area player of the year as a senior in 2007. She was also a four-time AAU All-American playing for Sports Performance.
Ward gives Illinois five scholarship players from talent rich DuPage County on the roster - Laura DeBruler (Downers Grove North), Jessica Jendryk (Benet Academy), Jackie Wolfe (Wheaton-Warrenville South), Annie Luhrsen (Wheaton-Warrenville South) and Ward.