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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 79 There, they'll join Annie Drews, who plays for Pomi Casalmaggiore (Italy), and Val Nichol, a member of Im- pel Wroclaw (Poland), as former Boilermakers who are now playing professionally. Azariah Stahl, who also com- pleted her career at Purdue in December, also could seek a pro contract, although she has other non-volleyball op- tions, as well. It's not unsurprising that Purdue has a handful (or so) former players now in the pros. Throughout Dave Shon- dell's 15-year tenure at Purdue, many have gone over- seas, some of whom have now retired. But Purdue is a good feeder, because it's consistently one of the top pro- grams in the country and plays in one of the best leagues, if not the best, in the nation. "When I talked to my agent, he was like these leagues you're going to be playing in, the Big Ten can't prepare you any better for it," said Evans, an honorable men- tion All-American last season and three-time Academic All-American. "Night in and night out, it's just a brutal battle. The Big Ten has prepared me incredibly well. Not just that, just the training and the coaches here (at Pur- due). The platform we have and the resources are some- thing that not a lot of schools have. They've been really helpful in the process, getting my name to agents and kind of working with me on that. I am very thankful for their assistance." For Evans, the prospects for a national team invite are slimmer — the senior team carries only two setters at any one time — but she wants to stay in the pipeline. And professional experience likely will help. "It's something that I've held close to me and have had in the back of my mind," the Liberty Township, Ohio, na- tive said. "I'm just taking it one day at a time and just enjoying the journey. Evans is also using the volleyball opportunity as a chance to explore other parts of the world, something she likely couldn't do otherwise. "I just want to be a first-string player, I want to play right away, and I want to have a cultural experience," said Evans, a soon-to-be mechanical engineering grad- uate. "When you talk with your agents, they're working for you so they're trying to find the best fit for you as a team, personality-wise. They tell us to rank four or five things that we want from our most important priority to our least priority. For me, my rookie year, my first priority is a full cultural experience in a safe environment. "This is something you can't do when you're 35 and take time off (from work). This is the time to do it, that's "(Purdue's coaches) put us in the best position to do anything we want to do, whether that involves playing volleyball or going into your career. I think whatever you want to do after Purdue, they prepare you and will help you out." Danielle Cuttino Charles Jischke / Purdue Athletics Setter Ashley Evans may be more of a long shot than Cuttino to make the national team, but she wants to use pro experience to stay in the mix.

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