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April 10, 2002

USI volleyball signs pair of Newburgh natives

The University of Southern Indiana volleyball team announced the signings of Newburgh, Indiana natives Laura Ellerbusch and Courtney Nevins to letters of intent for the 2002 season. The two are the first players to sign with the Screaming Eagles for the upcoming season.

Both Ellerbusch and Nevins come to USI with an impressive resume. They helped Castle High School to the sectional championships in 1999, 2000, and 2001 as well as the SIAC championship in 2001.

“They come from a program that emphasizes hard work, discipline, and a love for the game,” Head Coach Chrissy Smith explained. “Those are the same values we hold here. This is going to benefit both them and USI volleyball.

“Both girls also bring strong academic performances to the team, which is another very important component to becoming a successful student-athlete,” Smith continued. Nevins was named Academic All-State and is a member of the Spanish Honors Society while Ellerbusch is in the Academic Honors Program. Both are members of the National Honor Society.

An eight-time letter winner in volleyball, basketball, and softball at CHS, Ellerbusch was the 2001 Evansville co-Player of the Year and was the winner of the 2001 Kiwanis Mental Attitude Award. She was also named first-team All-Conference in 2000 and 2001 and was CHS’s most valuable player in 2000. During her senior season at CHS, Ellerbusch set the school record for kills in a season (248).

Ellerbusch, a 6’0” middle hitter, also was an All-Conference and All-Metro selection in basketball this past season. The co-captain of CHS’s women’s basketball team, Ellerbusch was named the team’s most valuable player. She helped lead CHS to sectional championships in 2000, 2001, and 2002 as well as a regional championship in 2001.

“Laura's enthusiasm for the game and competitiveness are her biggest assets,” Smith said. “She also has incredible athletic abilities that help her both in the front row and the back row.”

The signing of Ellerbusch figures to help fill the void left by former middle hitter Leah Mercer. “She has the ability to move into the second starting middle spot left by Leah Mercer,” Smith added.

Nevins, a 5’10” outside hitter/defensive specialist, is a two-time All-Conference and All-Metro performer at CHS. She recorded 272 digs and 217 kills in 2001. Nevins had 251 digs as a junior in 2000.

A two-time letter winner in volleyball, Nevins will challenge USI’s outside hitters as well as its defensive specialists in the upcoming season. “She has great ball control and hits consistently,” Smith explained. “She is a smart player who I feel will make good decisions on the court.

“This will be a big advantage for her coming into the preseason, when three out of four returnees at those positions are experienced seniors.”

Smith is excited to have recruited local standouts from the Evansville area. “It is great to get two very talented athletes from a strong local program to represent USI athletics. I hope that their choice to play for USI will serve as an example for local talent in the future.”

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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