By Amber North
With the return of sophomore setter Erica Ringger and the addition of freshman Longhorn setter Caron Blotch to his lineup, head coach Travis Hudson’s Sara Noe-less woes seemed to be over as he prepared for the upcoming season.
Now, Hudson is Ringger-less.
In was announced Monday that Ringger has opted to be released from her scholarship and will transfer following the semester.
“I’m disappointed to see her go but she’s a terrific kid, and I think the situation she’s going to will work out well,” Hudson said. “There’s no big story behind this – it’s just a situation where she feels like she’s going into a better situation than she currently is.”
What was Western’s loss, became Indiana-Wesleyan’s gain. The Christian school located in Marion, Ind., literally prayed for a setter, and Ringger couldn’t help but answer their prayers.
“I just felt like doors are open up there,” she said. “It’s closer to home, which is a big plus so my parents and friends can see me play.”
The Fort Wayne native came to Western in 2000 as a redshirt so she could learn the team’s offense. In 2001 she recorded 47 assists in 11 games. Last season, she improved to 85 assists in 13 games.
She served her entire career at Western as a backup setter behind last season’s Sun Belt Player of the Year Sara Noe. When Blotch transferred, Ringger understood that she would again have to compete for the starting setter position.
“I was willing to stay at Western and battle it out with her, but I thought about whether if I should pursue other options or be a part of the team that I love,” Ringger said. “I really was going to stay on this team until a couple a weeks ago when this option (to play at Indiana-Wesleyan) opened up.”
Because she is transferring from an NCAA school to an NAIA school, it will be easier for Ringger to be eligible to start the season right away.
Ringger said that her transferring to another college has nothing to do with her being unhappy about the addition of Blotch.
“My decision wasn’t based on her and I have no hard feelings for her at all,” she said. “She is a great addition to our team and I’m happy about the transition that I’m making, and it worked out best for everybody and everybody is happy.”
However, Hudson will miss a good friend in Ringger.
“It’s going to be an effect on our team,” he said. “We will have less depth than we had and we lose a lot of integrity, hardwork and leadership with a kid like Erica.”
BEGINITAL Reach Amber North at [email protected] ENDITAL