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McLaughlin Signs Three to Notre Dame 2017 Incoming Class

Nov. 16, 2016

By Robby Hamman

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The future is bright for the Notre Dame Volleyball program. The 2017 incoming class consists of two signees ranked as top 65 players in the country in the 2017 class according to PrepVolleyball and one Under Armour High School All-American. Head coach Jim McLaughlin has announced the additions of libero Madison Cruzado, setter Monroe Olsen and outside hitter Hannah Thompson to the Irish family.

“We are excited about the group we have signed during this early signing period for the Class of 2017,” said McLaughlin. “We believe Madison, Hannah and Monroe will be great additions to the program and will help fill some of the holes, while adding depth to our team.

“We had targeted Madison, Hannah and Monroe early in the process as three of the recruits we felt would fit in extremely well with our existing players and help us continue to develop a winning culture. All three are very talented players but also have the strong character we look for in our student-athletes.”

Two of the commits are from the Midwest, as Cruzado comes to the program from bordering state Ohio, while Olsen is staying in her home state of Indiana. Thompson joins the Irish from the state of New Mexico.

“As with any player that comes into our program, no matter how skilled they are, a lot of this group’s success will depend on how hard they work and how well they adapt to our system,” said McLaughlin. “However, because all three are strong competitors, I believe they will see quickly what it takes to be successful at this level and will immediately put forth the effort necessary to make the kinds of contributions we expect from each of them.

“While all three of our recruits are exceptional volleyball players, what really sets them apart from some of the other top talent is the fact they are extraordinary people. All three have a lot to offer our program in addition to their athletic talent. I have enjoyed getting to know these young ladies and their families.

“With the type of program we are building here, which emphasizes both academic and athletic excellence along with strong character, it is critical that we bring in players who will not only help us on the court but also perform well in the classroom while fitting in well with our other players. Madison, Hannah and Monroe will be able to do all of these things. We feel very fortunate that all three have chosen to come to the University of Notre Dame and will be able to help us continue to build a top program.”

Madison Cruzado | Libero | 5-4 | Elyria, Ohio | Elyria HS

High School and Personal Highlights:

  • Named to PrepVolleyball Top 100 Senior Aces List (No. 53)
  • 2016 Ohio Division I All-State First Team selection
  • 2015 AAU 17 Open MVP and National Champion
  • Amherst Steele (previous school) program record holder for career digs (1,620)
  • Elyria program record holder for single season digs (631) and digs per set (8.1)
  • Also excelled at softball throughout high school career
  • Community Service: Volunteered at Lorain County Outreach and served as a special needs athletics program assistant for volleyball and softball
  • Daughter of Dustin and Susan Cruzado

Coach McLaughlin on Madison Cruzado:
“Madison is a libero and I expect the world from her. She can pass and she should be an even better passer by focusing more attention on that area. No one on the court should be able to dig better than her. She has incredible range on defense and she will develop the mindset to help the team in that capacity. She serves well and we will invest significant time each day in her serve, as her serve will be one of the most important parts of her game.

“The best thing I like and appreciate about her is that she plays hard on each play and is connected emotionally. She has a big heart and she’s a very determined young lady and now she’s just got to get to work to distinguish herself as one of the best in the country. That’s the expectation I have for her.”

Cruzado on why she chose Notre Dame:
“Notre Dame presented an unparalleled academic, athletic and spiritual opportunity that reflected exactly what I was looking for from a university.”

Monroe Olsen | Setter | 6-2 | Valparaiso, Ind. | Valparaiso HS

High School and Personal Highlights:

  • Named to PrepVolleyball Senior Aces (Top 150)
  • 2016 Under Armour All-American (Honorable Mention)
  • 2016 Indiana class 4A First Team All-State selection
  • Three-year varsity team captain
  • Led team in aces all four years of high school, totaling 273 aces
  • Student Athletic Advisory Council representative
  • Member of the National Honors Society
  • Valparaiso School Foundation Top Academic Student Award
  • Community Service: Volunteered with Tri Kappa Book Drive, Lake Shore Paws and Valplayzo
  • Daughter of Troy Olsen and Debra Mlnarik-Olsen

Coach McLaughlin on Monroe Olsen:
“Monroe is a setter and really has a complete skill set. When we recruited her, we could see that if she developed, and did the things that we wanted her to do, that she could run an offense at the highest level. She’s definitely got the ability. The thing that is really neat is she’s got a good head on her shoulders and competes well. She also has a strong presence and an ability to focus at a very high level for her age.

“We have an expectation for her that is very high but I think she wants that and will embrace that. We’ve just got to go one day at a time getting all the things in place that elite setters have to do. She’s a competitor and now she’s just got to fight her tail off and invest her mind and her heart to get in position to get playing time.”

Olsen on why she chose Notre Dame:
“I chose The University of Notre Dame because I can be a student-athlete at one of the most prestigious and competitive schools both academically and athletically in the country, but also for the beautiful campus, alumni network, and the reputation of the University. The opportunity to learn, grow and play volleyball for one of the most successful coaches in volleyball in the US, along with the entire coaching staff, were the biggest determining factors. Ever since I was little there was just something about the atmosphere and the people on campus that is hard to explain. There is just no place like it.”

Hannah Thompson | Outside Hitter | 5-9 | Albuquerque, N.M. | CibolaHS

High School and Personal Highlights:

  • Named to PrepVolleyball Top 100 Senior Aces List (No. 61)
  • New Mexico First Team All-State selection
  • Three-year varsity team captain
  • Led Cibola High School to a state championship in 2014
  • Member of the National Honors Society
  • 2014 track & field 100-meter dash state runner-up
  • Community Service: Volunteered at a number of community functions, including Road Runner Food Bank, Breast Cancer Walk and Feed My Starving Children.
  • Daughter of Jonathan and Vercye Thompson

Coach McLaughlin on Hannah Thompson:
“Hannah is an outside hitter that has exceptional athletic ability. She is also a great kid, with strong values and a good heart. She listens, pays attention and has a really good arm. You’ve got to be good at everything at this level but you’ve got to be great at some things, and I think one of her identities will be her ability to play great at the net. She committed to us almost a year ago and we are looking forward to her finally being able to join the program.

“I worked with Hannah in our summer camp and was impressed with her focus and how she processed feedback, which allowed her to make good changes over the three days she was with us. If she comes in and works hard she could contribute immediately. She is very bright and should be able to pick up our system quickly and she’s a kid for which I have tremendous expectations. She comes from a wonderful family and will be a tremendous asset to the team. We expect her to have a bright future here.”

Thompson on why she chose Notre Dame:

“I believe that The University of Notre Dame will help me become a better all-around person spiritually, academically and athletically. At the end of the day volleyball doesn’t last forever, but the experiences and friendships I gain from the University of Notre Dame will.”

Individual match tickets for Notre Dame volleyball’s last two home matches in 2016 are on sale. The Irish play Boston College (7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23) and Syracuse (1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25) in the final week of the regular season. Visit or call the Murnane Family Ticket Office at 574-631-7356 for more information.

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