Drury University volleyball and head coach Jenifer Bahner has added three transfers to the Panthers’ 2017-18 signing class.
Paige Perry (OH, Missouri State / Ozark, Mo.) and Bree Schmidt (DS, Johnson County CC / Topeka, Kan.) arrived at Drury this semester and have taken part in spring drills with the team. Taylor Covington (MH, Mineral Area CC / New Haven, Mo.) has also signed with Drury and will arrive for the fall semester.
Paige Perry – 5-9, Soph., OH, Missouri State, Ozark HS, Ozark, Mo.
Paige Perry appeared in 15 sets for Missouri State as a freshman last year on a team that went 26-9, 16-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference and advanced to the NCAA national tournament. Perry had 10 digs, a service ace, and an assist last year.
At Ozark High School, Perry was a four-year starter and helped her team to four 30-win seasons and four trips to the Class 4 state semifinals. She was the Southwest Missouri Volleyball Player of the Year by the Springfield News-Leader in her senior year in 2015. Perry was a Class 4 first team all-state selection that season and was a second team all-state pick as a junior in 2014.
“We are so excited to have Paige Perry joining our team as she is a true difference-maker for this program,” said Bahner, who will enter her fourth season as Drury’s head coach next season. “The volleyball IQ she has garnered during her years of playing on an elite high school and club team will be a great addition to our team. Along with her talents on the court, Paige also brings a level of maturity and hard work that mirror the culture and expectations of the volleyball program. In the short three and a half months she has been with us, she has already earned the respect of her teammates and coaches by being named a team captain for the 2017-18 season.”
Bree Schmidt – 5-8, Jr., DS, Johnson Co. CC, Hayden HS, Topeka, Kan.
Bree Schmidt played two seasons at Johnson County Community College. She helped her squad to a 24-16 record, a regional title and a ninth place finish in the NJCAA national tournament last year. Schmidt played in all 40 matches and averaged 2.24 kills per set with 4.11 digs per set. She also had 44 aces and was part of national tournament teams in both her seasons at JCCC as well as an East Jayhawk Conference title in 2015.
Schmidt was a three-year starter at Hayden High School in Topeka, Kansas and was a second team all-state selection in Class 4A as a senior and was a third team pick in her junior year. Her team was the Class 4A state runner-up in her junior and seniors and she was a two-time All-Centennial League selection. Schmidt played club volleyball for a Topeka Saints team coached by her father that qualified for the national tournament in 2014. She also played, and was an all-conference performer, in basketball and softball at Hayden HS.
“Bree has a strong background in being an all-around volleyball as she played multiple positions for all of her past teams,” noted Bahner. “As coaches, we believe her greatest strength is in the backcourt and we’re excited to see her really excel in the DS and Libero position. Bree’s speed and her go-get mentality make for a fierce backcourt player. Having Bree this spring has allowed her to get fully adjusted to Drury University and I believe the time she has spent training with us is a huge advantage as we approach the 2017 season.”
Taylor Covington – 6-1, Jr., MH, Mineral Area CC, New Haven HS, New Haven, Mo.
Taylor Covington played two years at Mineral Area Community College and will come to Drury as a junior. The 6-1, middle hitter averaged 1.33 kills per set and 0.75 blocks per set last year for a team that went 27-9 and advanced to the NJCAA national tournament. She was named second team All-Missouri Community College Athletic Conference in 2016.
Covington averaged 4.3 kills per set at New Haven High School for a team that went 31-5-1 and got to the Class 1 state semifinals. She was the Four Rivers Conference Player of the Year as a senior and was a first team all-region and all-state selection by the Missouri Volleyball Coaches Association.
“Taylor comes to Drury after a very successful two years at Mineral Area College,” said Bahner. “Her size and ability to follow a play make for a great middle blocker. We are excited for Taylor to bring the collegiate experience she gained at MAC to our program at Drury. As a middle hitter, that on-the-court experience is invaluable and will allow her to compete immediately for a starting position.”
Drury has now signed eight players for the 2017 season. In addition to the three transfers, the Panthers have added: Kayla Allison (DS, California HS, California, Mo.), Faith Alwardt (MH, Lebanon HS, Lebanon, Mo.), Taylor Forth (MH, Gilbert HS, Ames, Iowa), Reba Thomsen (S, Burlington HS, Burlington, Wisc.) and Abby Welther (OH, Pleasant Hill HS, Pleasant Hill, Mo.).
The Panthers finished the 2016 season with a 20-12 record and an 11-7 mark in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.