West Virginia University volleyball coach Reed Sunahara announced on Wednesday the addition of transfers Athena Ardila (Weston, Massachusetts) and Adrian Ell (Cincinnati, Ohio) for the 2021 spring season.
Ardila transferred from Northeastern and has enrolled at WVU as a senior, while Ell transferred from Florida State as a redshirt junior. Each student-athlete has two years of eligibility remaining.
A three-year starter at Northeastern, Ardila, a native of Weston, Massachusetts, played in 307 career sets for the Huskies, averaging 2.82 kills per set for a .153 hitting percentage. She also registered 119 career blocks to average 0.38 blocks per set. In 2019, Ardila was named to the All-Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Volleyball First Team after racking up 265 kills and 32 blocks as a junior.
While at Weston High, the 5-foot-10 outside hitter led her team to four league championships, as well as a section title and a state championship match. She also established state records for kills in a single season (576), as well as career (1,642). Additionally, Ardila participated on the 2015 USA Youth A1 Red National Training Team at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championship.
The daughter of Fabian and Sarah, she intends to continue her major in health and well-being at WVU.
“Athena will give us ball control, experience and another arm to help us compete at the highest level,” Sunahara said. “She has great aspirations to continue her career after college, and she wants to play at the next level.”
Ell, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, appeared in 213 career sets for the Seminoles, totaling 968 assists in three years at Florida State. She matched her career high of 31 assists twice and recorded a personal-best 25 digs against UCF in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. In the fall of 2020, Ell willingly played out of position, totaling five kills and a trio of blocks in three matches played.
While at Archbishop McNicholas High, the 6-foot-3 setter/right-side hitter was recognized as an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Third Team High School All-American after finishing her high school career with 875 assists, 708 kills, 126 service aces, 153 blocks and 671 digs. She earned Greater Catholic League (GCL) Co-Ed Player of the Year honors her senior year, as well as District 16 Division 2 Player of the Year accolades. Additionally, Ell was a member of the NKYVC squad that captured the 2016 USAV 17 National Championship.
The daughter of Robert and Angel, she has enrolled in the sport management master’s program at WVU, with aspirations to work in a college athletic department or professional sport organization. Ell graduated from Florida State with a bachelor’s degree in sport management in December.
“Adrian will add experience and versatility to our program,” Sunahara said. “She can play multiple positions, and her physical presence is what we need to compete at a high level in the Big 12.”
The Mountaineers ended the 2020 fall season with an 8-8 record in Big 12 play. WVU returns to action this spring following the NCAA’s approval to move fall championships. The adjustments were made due to the COVID-19 pandemic.