Feb. 5, 1997

Volleyball Signs Four to National Letters-of-Intent

Purdue volleyball coach Joey Vrazel has announced the signing of four student-athletes to National Letters-of-Intent to attend Purdue in the fall of 1997.

The quartet consists of Yolonda Cumbess (Houston, Texas, Jesse H. Jones H.S.); Katie Gibbons (Naperville, Ill., Waubonsie Valley H.S.); Sarah Wengler (Pacific, Mo., Pacific H.S.); and Jennie Williams (Marysville, Mich., Marysville H.S.).

"I'm really excited about this class," Vrazel said. "These are four talented athletes who are physical players. Together with our current players, they will give us depth at every position for the first time since I have been here. I expect these four to make major contributions this year."

Cumbess, a 5-foot-11 middle blocker, was named district Most Valuable Player as a senior at Jesse H. Jones High School. She was second team all-district as a junior and played on district championship teams both her junior and senior seasons. Cumbess plays for the Houston Juniors volleyball club. She was an apprentice at NASA during the summer of 1996 and plans on majoring in computer or electrical engineering.

"Yolonda just started playing club ball and is a great find for us," Vrazel said. "She can jump and grab the basketball rim. She needs some developing as far as technique is concerned, but her jumping ability, speed and quickness will help us tremendously at the net."

Gibbons, a 6-foot outside hitter, was named to the all-state team as a senior at Waubonsie Valley High School. She also was a unanimous all-conference and all-area selection. Gibbons was a four-year starter who played in every game of every match over four years. Moreover, she did not come off the court at all during her sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Gibbons played for the Sports Performance volleyball club from 1993-96 and now is a member of the UNO volleyball club on the 18 Elite Team. An academic all-conference honoree, Gibbons has been named to the honor roll six of her seven semesters in high school. She is undecided on her major.

"Katie is a phenomenal athlete and a well-rounded volleyball player," Vrazel said. "She is an excellent passer and hits the ball as heavy as any college player. She is the most talented player we have signed at Purdue."

Wengler, a 6-foot-4 middle blocker, was named all-conference, all-district and all-metro during her career at Pacific High School. She also received the team's Best Offensive Player, Hardest Worker and Most Improved Player awards. She was a member of the Class 4A state championship team as a sophomore. Wengler plays for the Bottom Line volleyball club. She is interested in majoring in secondary education.

"Sarah is new to the game at the club level, but she had a very successful high school career," Vrazel said. "We will develop her over the next couple of years, but her height and raw talent should enable her to help us right away at the net against some of the bigger hitters we face."

Williams, a 6-foot middle blocker/outside hitter, is currently inseason, and her Marysville High School team is undefeated and a favorite to win the state championship. She was an all-state selection and her team's Most Valuable Player as a junior. Williams plays for the Blue Water volleyball club. She ranks ninth in her class of 160 with a 3.9 grade-point average and is undecided on her major.

"Jennie comes to us with great experience and a very powerful arm," Vrazel said. "She will help us a ton because of her ability to play both middle blocker and outside hitter and play them well."

1997 PURDUE VOLLEYBALL RECRUITS     
Name            Pos.    Ht. Hometown (High School)
Yolonda Cumbess MB     5-11 Houston, Texas (Jesse H. Jones)
Katie Gibbons   OH     6-0  Naperville, Ill. (Waubonsie Valley)
Sarah Wengler   MB     6-4  Pacific, Mo. (Pacific)
Jennie Williams MB/OH  6-0  Marysville, Mich. (Marysville)