Nov. 19, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan head volleyball coach Mark Rosen announced today (Monday, Nov. 19) the signing of Gabbie Bulic (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick), Abby Cole (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven) and Cindy Zhou (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville) to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period.
"I really like this class," Rosen said. "It's not the biggest class as far as numbers, but I think it's a very physical class. We will get more physical at each position that we're bringing in, and that's a priority. I think it's just our size and athleticism. Our class includes a tall setter, a more physical setter, which is exciting. We bring in two middles, maybe right sides, that are really physical, so I'm excited about that. I think it's a class that could impact us quickly, but we also have a really good group in the gym right now. It's going to be up to them and how they come in and how prepared and competitive they are. But I'm very excited about it. I think it's going to elevate our program's overall physicality."
Bulic, a 6-foot-4 middle blocker, earned first team all-district and all-conference honors as well as all-Ohio honorable mention her senior year at Brunswick High School in Brunswick, Ohio. She also earned honorable mention to the Under Armour All-America teams. She was named the Medina Gazette's Most Valuable Player in 2012. A two-time all-district and all-conference selection in volleyball, Bulic also plays basketball for the Blue Devils and was named the Northeast Ohio Valley Division Player of the Year and honorable mention all-Ohio selection as a junior. She also helped the Blue Devils to their first regional semifinal appearance in 29 years. Bulic played club volleyball for the Southwest Volleyball Club and will play for the Maverick Volleyball Club this season.
"Gabbie is a player that not a lot of people know much about," Rosen said. "We're very excited about her. I think she's going to be a tremendous player and person in our program. I like her personality and physicality, and she was off of a lot of recruiting radar screens because she's a basketball player and she's playing for a smaller club. I love the fact she's moving to a bigger club this year, and that's really going to ramp up her level in club, which I think is going to prepare her a lot more for the collegiate season. She's somebody who I think has tremendous potential to get better. And we look at that in recruiting, we recruit kids with the idea of what they're going to be like when they're 20 or 21 vs. what they are when they're 16 or 17. She's somebody who I think could be a tremendous 20-year-old and really have a long future in volleyball as she gets better."
Cole, a 6-5 middle blocker, was the runner-up for Michigan's Miss Volleyball and was named to the Under Armour All-America second team as a senior at Grand Haven High School in Grand Haven, Mich. Cole, who also earned first team all-state, all-conference, all-area and all-region honors, was named the No. 3 Senior Ace by Prepvolleyball.com and was a top-50 junior recruit. She also helped the Buccaneers to a state semifinal berth in 2012. Cole was an all-state second team selection and made all-conference and all-area squads as a junior and earned third team all-state honors as a sophomore. Cole helped Grand Haven win the state championship in basketball her junior season with the Bucs and was a second team all-state selection and a Detroit Free Press Dream Team member. Cole plays club volleyball for the Michigan Volleyball Academy.
"I think Abby is probably the most physical kid we've ever recruited," Rosen stated. "She's somebody who not only is very physical with her presence, but she's big; she's got long arms, long legs, jumps very well and moves very well. She's somebody who I think has a desire to be great in whatever she does, so I think she's going to come in and do whatever she needs to do to make a great physical impact on our program. She's also just a character kid. In my mind her work ethic is just tremendous, her academic focus is tremendous, and she's a great teammate. I've watched her a lot in different interactions with high school, club and basketball. She's one of the best teammates I've seen. She treats people really well and gets a great response from them because of it. So I think she's the whole package, and we're really excited about her and what she's going to bring to our program in a lot of different categories."
Zhou, a 6-0 setter, is a two-time captain at Libertyville High School in Libertyville, Ill. She helped the Wildcats to regional and conference championships in 2012 and was named an Under Armour All-America honorable mention as a senior. A three-time Lake County All-Area team member by the Daily Herald, Zhou earned all-state special mention by both the News-Gazette and Chicago Tribune as a junior. She was named a top-50 junior recruit and No. 91 Senior Ace by Prepvolleyball.com. Zhou plays club volleyball for Sky High and helped her under-16 national team to a fifth-place finish at the Junior Olympics.
"Cindy is somebody who I really liked from the get-go," Rosen said. "I think she's somebody who is going to continue to develop as well. I think she's got a ton of room to get better as a setter. I'm very excited that she has the opportunity to train with Erin (Virtue), and I think Erin can bring a lot out of her. She's a physical setter, which is a good thing. I think she still has a lot of room to improve, not only technically to get better as a setter but also in just her tactics of the game, how she puts her hitters in positions to be successful, and how she uses herself as an attacker to help those hitters. I think she has lot of really exciting steps to take in how she approaches that position, and I think she has the intellect as well as the athleticism to be really elite as a setter."
Michigan heads to East Lansing, Mich., for a matchup with in-state rival Michigan State Wednesday night (Nov. 21) at 6:30 p.m.
Contact: Kent Reichert (734) 763-4423