Wapahani senior Aubreigh Applegate nearly committed on a few occasions to other NCAA Division-I volleyball programs, but her instincts told her to hold off.
Applegate passed on signing in the fall, and let the stressful recruiting process extend into the spring. Her patience finally paid off last week when she took an official visit to Dayton.
“My biggest thing is I want to step on campus and feel welcome and feel like this is it,” Applegate said. “I had that with maybe one or two other schools, but with Dayton, it just really set in.”
Applegate orally committed to the Flyers on Tuesday night. She said she will sign her National Letter of Intent sometime in the next few days.
Dayton posted a 27-5 record last season, winning the Atlantic 10 regular-season and conference championships. Applegate joins another Delaware County product on the Flyers in 2009 Burris graduate Allyson Morey.
The Flyers first started recruiting Applegate in the fall, but their head coach Kelly Sheffield left after the season to take the same position at Wisconsin. That put Applegate in limbo for a few weeks as she waited for Dayton to hire his replacement. The Flyers decided to promote assistant Matt Affolder to head coach, and that put her mind at ease.
The Wapahani senior passed on offers from Kent State, Marquette and Ohio to accept a one-year scholarship from Dayton, which recruited her as a defensive specialist.
“It’s a stressful process,” Applegate said. “I know I kind of took care of it late, but I think it was all worth it in the end.”
Applegate agreed to a scholarship that covers one year of tuition, but Wapahani coach Mike Lingenfelter said she is talented enough to convince the Dayton coaching staff to extend the years on that scholarship.
“If Aubreigh goes there and does the things she’s very capable of doing, I think that scholarship will expand in a flat-out hurry,” he said.
Applegate emerged as the No. 1 hitting option for the Raiders last season. She paced the Class 2A state champions in kills with 475. She improved significantly as a passer, too. The Class 2A All-State honoree finished second on the team with 375 digs.
Those statistics indicate the vital role she played for the Raiders in winning a second consecutive state championship, but in the mind of Lingenfelter, her contributions were just as significant the previous season, even though she never played in an actual match.
Applegate transferred from Delta to Wapahani, and she sat out the 2011 season in accordance with IHSAA transfer rules. The 2011 season turned out to be a historic one for the Raiders. They won the Class 2A state championship and halted a streak of 14 consecutive titles by rival Burris in the process. Applegate sat out every match, but she contributed to that state title with her effort in practices.
“Her work ethic for a situation where she wasn’t getting a whole lot back was incredible,” Lingenfelter said.