ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University head coach Cass Dixon and the volleyball program announced the signing of three incoming players for the 2012 fall season.
The Eagles signed setter Shelly DeHenning (Holland, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy), libero Madison Haupricht (Toledo, Ohio/St. Ursula Academy) and middle hitter Audrey Metzger (Dalton, Ohio/Dalton) to national letters of intent in the fall signing period.
"They're three great additions to the team. We have a really strong core of returning players and these three will fit right in," said Dixon, who will be entering her second season as the AU head coach. "They all work really hard and come from competitive programs. They're going to add to the gym culture right away.
"Each of them plays a different position and we looked for not only the skill, but their attitude, their court presence and how they interacted with their teammates. Coming into a program and revamping the system, you want to get kids in here that can fit into the system we already established. They're going to increase the competition right away."
DeHenning prepped at Notre Dame Academy in Toledo and was a first team all-district and first team All-Three Rivers Athletic Conference performer in her senior season when she compiled a 97 percent setting accuracy. In her junior year, DeHenning was first team all-city and second team all-district.
"Shelly is a great addition to our program," Dixon said. "She's been setting for a really strong high school program, but also a really strong club program in Toledo Volleyball Club. She knows the game, we'll have to tweak some things like everybody, but she knows the game and that's essential to our future."
Haupricht played her high school career at St. Ursula Academy, which advanced to the Division I state championship match in her senior season. The Arrows were the state champions in her junior season and district champions all four seasons. Haupricht was honorable mention all-conference in her sophomore and junior seasons.
"Madison's nickname with her club is 'Diggy.' She has a court presence and is everything you look for in a libero, she takes charge," Dixon said. "She gets excited about digging balls and she's very consistent on serve-receive. Madison's like a little sparkplug."
Metzger lettered four seasons in volleyball and three in basketball at Dalton High School in nearby Wayne County. She was an All-Ohio first team performer in her senior season and was named All-Ohio third team in her junior year. Metzger was the two-time district player of the year in her final two seasons. In her prep career, she finished with 1,242 kills, 168 blocks, 92 aces and 252 digs. In her senior year, the Bulldogs advanced to the regional finals and finished 27-1 as a Division III member. The previous season, DHS advanced to the state final four.
"She's a workhorse. She's one of those kids who is never going to complain," Dixon said. "She's going to run through a wall if you ask her to and she'll lead by her example."
The Eagles lost just two seniors after a 2011 season that saw them finish fourth in the GLIAC and advance to the GLIAC Tournament semifinals where they lost to Hillsdale, which reached the national final four.
"We're really excited about getting them here," said Dixon. "August is only nine months away. I'm really excited because I think they're going to fit in well with the core we have here and it will only lead to good things to come."