Sam Drechsel announced via her Instagram page that she will be transferring to the University of Washington for her sophomore season.
Drechsel is a 6'4" right-side (opposite) hitter, originally from Cedar Park Christian in Bothell. PrepVolleyball.com ranked her as the 23rd-best overall prospect in the 2017 class. She played in the High School All-America game during her senior season, one of two Washington players in that game. The other is Lauren Sanders (Glacier Peak), who emerged as a force in the middle for the Huskies her freshman year. The two are close friends.
Drechsel's departure from Maryland, first reported by the Maryland Diamondback, continues a rough few weeks for the Terps volleyball program. Starting libero Kelsey Wicinski announced her graduate transfer to Florida State some time ago, then Head Coach Steve Aird left to take the job at Indiana.
Drechsel is the third player to transfer out since Aird's departure. Star to-be junior OH Gia Milana is headed to Baylor, and a backup player has transferred to Loyola-Chicago.
Whether Drechsel’s decision to transfer had more to do with the coaching changes, other teammates leaving, homesickness, or something totally different remains to be seen.
What it means for UW
Well, a lot. With both Crissy Jones and Carly DeHoog graduating after this season and no true backup on the 2017 roster, the only RS on the roster for the 2018 season until now was incoming true freshman Dani Cole, the #36 overall recruit on PrepVolleyball's Senior Aces list. But having to put pressure on a freshman to compete immediately in one of the toughest conferences in the country, without a viable backup plan, is not a road UW wants to have to explore.
I would expect to see both Drechsel and Cole get playing time during non-conference play early as Coach Cook tinkers with the rotation. In the end, I expect to see Drechsel get the bulk of the PT once conference play starts.
The other big impact for UW, more directly, is size. At 6'4", Drechsel immediately becomes one of the tallest players on the Husky team. Assuming most of the rotation stays the same, getting past the front line of Kara Bajema (6'2" OH, played MB her freshman year), Sanders (6'5") and Drechsel is a steep task.