Michigan State volleyball signs four in 2021 recruiting class


Cathy George celebrates a successful set/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Ian Drummond, Volleyball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING — Michigan State volleyball coach Cathy George announced on Wednesday that four players will join the program for the 2021 season.

The incoming players are 5-foot-11 setter Julia Bishop (Dearborn, Mich.), 5-foot-8 defensive specialist Grace Danziger (East Lansing), 6-foot-3 middle blocker Aubrey O’Gorman (Lake Odessa, Mich.), and 6-foot-3 middle blocker Abby Olin (Coopersville, Mich.).

“The 2021 freshman class will be strong, and it will complement our returning roster in every category,” said head coach Cathy George in a press release. 

All four players are in-state talent, highlighting the depth of the prep volleyball circuit in Michigan. Bishop, O’Gorman, and Olin were among the 10 players selected as finalists for the 2020 Miss Volleyball award by the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association. 

Bishop and O’Gorman are ranked at No. 20 and No. 50 in PrepVolleyball’s list of the top 150 players nationwide in the 2021 class.

“With three of four of our newcomers being finalists for Miss Volleyball, we feel like we got some of the best talent in the state to come to East Lansing,” said George. “The combination of skill, experience and athleticism will serve MSU well throughout their collegiate careers, and we’re excited to see them continue to grow and develop.”

Kathy George instructs MSU middle blocker Kelsey Kuipers/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Bishop is the most touted player in this class statistically. She is currently the No. 9 player in the state of Michigan by total assists with 966 and No. 5 in assists per set with 10.5, and just out of the top 50 in both categories nationally, according to MaxPreps. She has recorded 5,000 assists for Farmington Hills Mercy, the defending state champions.

“She finds ways to win no matter what the challenge,” said George. “This quality, along with her location, leadership and team-first attitude will certainly make an impact on the Spartans for years to come.”

Danziger is on the Spartans’ home turf of East Lansing High School. She and Bishop both came up through the Mizuno club system of the Michigan Elite Volleyball Academy, and the Spartans will be hoping that they have some natural defensive chemistry because of that. 

She was a two-time All-Conference selection in 2018 and 2019 and received All-District honors in 2019 as well.

“Grace Danziger is a Spartan through and through,” said George. “Her continued improvements and her relentless pursuit of knowledge of the game made her an easy choice to help strengthen our defensive corps.” 

O’Gorman plays for Lakewood, another state powerhouse that went to the statewide final four in 2017, 2018, and 2019. She picked up first-team All-State honors in the latter two years and third-team in 2017. She ranks in the top-50 statewide this season in total blocks and blocks/set with 63 and 0.9 respectively. She has also been a devastatingly accurate attacker, holding the top kill percentage among offensive players this year.

“Aubrey is an intense competitor and a strong leader. We have had the opportunity to watch her growth and development over the years,” said George. “Aubrey’s quickness, length, and tireless work ethic will provide quality depth in the middle blocker position. We are excited about both the tangible and intangibles that Aubrey will add to our team culture and program.”

Olin comes from a slightly different background than the rest of the class, belonging neither to an elite club or nearby program. She still picked up 2019 first-team All-State honors and All-Conference awards in 2018 and 2019. However, the Spartans are most excited about her versatility. 

Olin primarily played middle blocker for Coopersville, but the coaching staff believes she can play outside hitter as well. MSU will lose three of its top outside hitters after this season in Alyssa Chronowski, Meredith Norris, and Lauren Swartz, so depth at the position will be important for the future.

Meredith Norris sets herself up for a spike/Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

“Abby Olin is a hidden gem and has been away from the mainstream club circuit,” said George. “Abby possesses a great deal of athleticism, jumping ability, and a natural feel for the game. We anticipate her game to grow exponentially once she is surrounded and competing daily with top-level talent.”