The West Virginia volleyball team is off to an impressive start with an 8-0 record and has accomplished this feat through a variety of players.
One of those impactful players for the Mountaineers has been senior outside hitter Adrian Ell. Ell has been a very important part of the Mountaineers’ perfect start to the season, in not only her first season with the team but at a new position.
Ell leads the Mountaineers in total attempts (115), and is tied for first in sets played (16), games played (5) and service aces (10).
Ell is also second in points (63), points per set (3.94), kills (45), kills per set (2.81), service aces per set (0.63) as well as being third in assists (5), solo blocks (1), assisted blocks (14), blocks (15) and blocks per set (0.94).
Ell previously played two seasons at Florida State, playing 106 out of 109 sets as a redshirt freshman in 2018, and all 29 matches in 2020. Ell played in the 2020-21 fall, before transferring to West Virginia for the spring, sitting out as a transfer before this season.
In her first year at West Virginia, Ell has gone through the process of learning a new position, outside hitter, which she had not played much before.
“Learning a new position has been very fun but can be challenging mentally and physically,” Ell said. “There’s going to be hiccups, not only for me but the team as a whole.”
While learning a new position, Ell has made connections with teammates that she will rely on throughout the season.
“Good things like getting used to the program, getting along with my teammates, and feeling more and more at home has been awesome,” Ell said. “I think that’s going to carry me and the rest of the team a long way for years to come.”
Head coach Reed Sunahara depends on Ell’s ability on the court for the Mountaineers, but wishes he had more players as well-rounded as her.
“I wish we had more well-rounded players, that helps with the flow of the game and all that stuff,” Sunahara said. “More importantly we can depend on her and her consistency is what we’re looking for and when we were recruiting her, that’s one of the main reasons why we wanted her to come here was so that she could help us with consistency, and a that’s what we're missing a lot of time last year.”
Ell highlighted the difficulties of learning her new position and the process she is going through to improve.
“The big thing is serve/receive, it’s something I haven’t done in a long time, and then also just getting more and more comfortable in my role and what I need to bring to the team, each and every day," Ell said. "It's a totally different position, a lot of different responsibilities, a lot of moving pieces, but I’m really excited for the challenge and I know that my teammates have helped me a lot so far and my coaches have been really supportive.
"I’m excited to get that rolling and see where we can go this year," Ell added.
The Mountaineers have their first home game on Thursday in the Mountaineer Invitational against George Washington at 12:30 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.