Cheney, Wash. – The Eastern Washington University volleyball team has secured commitments from one four-year transfer, one junior college transfer and one high school graduate while filling out its coaching staff in advance of its 2015 season, head coach Wade Benson announced Wednesday, May 6.
Alexis Wesley will transfer from Memphis following the completion of her undergraduate degree and has one year of eligibility remaining. She is eligible to compete immediately.
Cheney native Ashley Seiler joins the Eagles after one season at Casper College while Tilbe Yağuoğlu comes to EWU following a prep career at Märkisches Gymnasium Hamm in Germany.
Benson also announced the completion of his coaching staff with the addition of Matthew Dyck, who will serve as EWU's assistant coach.
A 6-1 middle blocker, Wesley will conclude her collegiate career in Cheney following a stellar four-year stay at Memphis where she finished her stint third on the Tigers' all-time hitting percentage list with a career .280 clip. She led Memphis to 70 victories during her career, propelling the Tigers to a 23-11 overall record and a 13-7 mark in American Athletic Conference play this past season, good for the most league victories in program history.
The Silverdale, Wash., native graduated from Central Kitsap High School in 2011 where she was a second team all-league selection as a junior and senior. She saw time in nine matches in her first year at Memphis before her sophomore campaign was just short due to a season-ending injury just two matches into the season.
Wesley earned Second Team All-AAC honors as a redshirt sophomore, starting all 32 matches while leading the Tigers with 112 total blocks to go along with 256 kills. She upped her total to 147 blocks this past season, ranking third in the conference in blocks per set (1.13 bps). Her 147 blocks were good for fifth-most in a season in program history and she finished her career at Memphis with 542 kills and 273 total blocks.
"Alexis is a great find for us," said Benson. "She's a very athletic player who put up very good attacking numbers and blocking numbers at Memphis. We project her as a starting middle blocker for us. We have a lot of youth in that area, and Alexis is going to add that 'it' factor to us and certainly some maturity in that position."
A 5-11 outside hitter and Cheney native, Seiler returns home after a one-year stint at Casper College in Casper, Wyo., where she earned First Team All-NJCAA Region 9 honors after leading her squad to a spot in the NJCAA Region 9 title game. She averaged 3.29 kills per set and 3.19 digs per set last season while recording 22 double-doubles.
A 2014 graduated of Cheney High School, Seiler earned Great Northern League honors in each of her four years playing volleyball, including an all-region honor in 2011. She also lettered in softball, basketball and tennis.
"Ashley is a local gal who we found right here in Cheney," said Benson. "She ended up playing club for us and really surprised us by her growth when she played with better players. She got very, very good and was able to get more experience at Casper College where she did very well for a freshman. She's got the ability to start for us as a first-year player here at EWU."
Yağuoğlu, a 5-8 setter from Hamm, Germany, joins the Eagles after graduating from Märkisches Gymnasium Hamm in 2014. She comes from an athletic family as her mother played on the Turkish National Volleyball Team while her father played volleyball and her brother plays mini football for the German National Team.
Yağuoğlu is currently undecided on a major and chose to attend EWU because she's confident that the Eagles' volleyball program will get the best out of her.
"Tilbe has a lot of experience as a setter," Benson said. "She came up through the club ranks playing with a lot of great players. She has a lot of maturity to her game and she'll really help us in the setting area for years to come."
Dyck replaces departed assistant coach Janelle Allen who left following two years as an assistant in Cheney. He spent the previous four seasons as the head coach at Central Arizona College, most recently guiding his team to a third-place finish in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference. He received ACCAC Coach of the Year honors following an 18-7 record in the 2013 season and saw eight of his players earn all-conference honors during his four-year stint.
Dyck was the head coach of Arizona's men's volleyball program from 2008-10 and served as the director of Arizona Premier Volleyball from 2006-14. He earned his bachelor's degree in history from Arizona in December of 2005 and received his master's in coaching and athletic administration from Concordia University Irvine in February of 2014.
Dyck will serve as the Eagles' assistant recruiting coordinator while also supervising the team's academic program and assisting with on-court training, taking the place of Janelle Allen who left after two years in Cheney.
"We had a couple of candidates stand out in the hiring process that all brought some different things to the table," Benson said. "Matt is somebody that I've known for 15 years and I've watched his growth in the volleyball world from afar. He's done some very good things everywhere he's been and is ready to make this step. He's been a large asset for us since he set foot on campus and will continue to be down the line."
Wesley, Yağuoğlu and Seiler join a group of newcomers that includes fall signees Ka'iulani Ahuna (Keaukaha, Hawaii/Kamehameha Schools), Jessica Gilbert (Modesto, Calif./Enochs HS) and Fernanda Machado Vido (Belo Horizonte, Brazil/Colégio Pitágoras).
EWU's six newcomers will combine with eight returning letter winners and four redshirts to create a formidable core of talent in advance of Benson's third consecutive season at the helm and 10th overall at Eastern.