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La Salle-Peru seniors Abby Turczyn (seated, second from left) and Katie Olson (seated, second from right) signed National Letters of Intent on Wednesday at L-P. Turczyn signed to play softball at Illinois State University and Olson signed to play volleyball at Grand Valley State University. Turczyn was joined by her parents Lori (seated, left) and Tom (standing, left) and L-P softball coach Mike Schmidt (standing, middle). Olson was joined by her parents Lynette (seated, right) and Scott (standing, right) and L-P volleyball coach Mark Haberkorn (standing, second from right). L-P athletic director D’Wayne Bates (standing, second from left) also joined the signees. NewsTribune photo/Kevin Chlum
It’s a big week for La Salle-Peru seniors Katie Olson and Abby Turczyn.
Not only will the two lead the Lady Cavalier volleyball program into the IHSA Class 3A state tournament this weekend, but they also made their futures official. Olson and Turczyn signed National Letters of Intent on Wednesday at L-P.
“It feels really good,” said Turczyn, who signed to play softball at Illinois State University in Normal. “I’m glad Katie and I got to do it together, especially this week with going to state and everything. It’s been a crazy week, but it’s been one of the best weeks ever. To sign, I think I can speak for both of us when I say it’s a weight lifted off our shoulders. Even though we’ve been verbally committed, it’s all finalized now and we’re ready to go for next year.”
Olson signed to play volleyball at Grand Valley State University, an NCAA Division II school located in Allendale, Mich.
“Their volleyball program is very good and they are all around good in athletics. That was a great thing,” Olson said. “I love the coaches. They are super nice. It just seemed like a great school.”
Olson said she’s expected to contribute right away for coach Deanne Scanlon, who has led GVSU to 18 consecutive winning seasons and previously served as an assistant to Olson’s aunt, Cathy George, at Western Michigan University. George has been the coach at Michigan State University since 2004.
“She told me right off the bat that she’s going to base the team around me,” said Olson, who plans to study nursing. “She’s tried to get me so she can get other players. That’s another reason I chose it is I know I’m going there to play.”
Olson has 800 assists, 138 digs, 66 kills and 41 aces this season. She is a two-time NewsTribune All-Area selection.
“Katie O is an outstanding athlete, first of all,” L-P volleyball coach Mark Haberkorn said. “Second of all, she’s a student of the game. She has an off-the-charts volleyball IQ. She sees the floor well, she sees where the blockers are and she’s able to pick that up immediately and find the mismatches. She’ll be phenomenal at the next level. She’s just so sharp. She does everything well. At this level, I don’t think we’ve seen a better setter this year.”
Turczyn chose ISU in large part because her sister, Kelsey, is on the Redbird softball team, and the sisters will play one year together.
“Even when I was looking at other schools, a major factor was my sister goes (to ISU),” Abby Tuczyn said. “We’ve never really played together and I just wanted to experience that. I’ve always looked up to her. I thought, ‘Where better to go than ISU with my sister?’”
Abby Turczyn also liked other aspects of an ISU program that has more than 900 victories and nine NCAA regional appearances under Hall of Fame coach Melinda Fischer.
“The coaching staff is awesome and I like how they run their program,” Abby Turczyn said. “It’s a great program. They play a tough schedule. They travel all over and play big D-I schools that finish at the top of the NCAA Tournament. It’s very structured and I really like that about the program. It’s just a great experience.”
Turczyn, a two-time NewsTribune All-Area pick, led the Lady Cavs with a .444 batting average last season. She also had 29 runs, 15 RBIs, 11 stolen bases and 10 doubles.
“We’re very proud of Abby,” L-P softball coach Mike Schmidt said. “I think Abby has had a tremendous high school career and she has the make up to move on and do well in college as well. Abby is a hard worker. She also is a very intelligent softball player. She really understands the game, she knows her situations and really understands the whole process that goes into it. She’s worked really hard from a young age to gather that knowledge. I think that’s what makes her the player she is today.”
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
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