Experienced Outside Hitter Transfers to Eastern

Melissa Waelter joins Eastern program after two years at South Alabama from the Sun Belt Conference

Outside hitter Melissa Waelter, who was a 49-match starter in two seasons at South Alabama, has transferred to Eastern Washington University to play volleyball for the Eagles, head coach Wade Benson has announced.

Waelter is a 5-foot-10 junior from Arnsberg, Germany, and is a 2011 graduate of Franz Stock Gymnasium High School. In two years at South Alabama, she started 49 of the 50 matches she played and had 506 kills, 406 digs, 60 blocks and 51 service aces. As a sophomore, she ranked eighth in the Sun Belt Conference in kills per game (3.08).

“Melissa is an outstanding final addition to our 2013 team,” said Benson. “Melissa is very experienced and a two-year starter in the Sun Belt Conference.”

Waelter is the 18th player on EWU’s roster for the 2013 season under Benson, who is returning for his second stint as Eastern’s head coach. The 18 players include 10 returning letterwinners and eight newcomers. Last year’s squad finished 5-26 overall and 5-15 in the Big Sky Conference.

“We are becoming very deep with talent and I can see us improving greatly next year,” Benson added. “We will be redshirting as many as five players in 2013. Our pin players are improving every day and the battle begins for playing time.”

As coach previously at EWU from 2000-06, Benson led EWU to one NCAA Tournament berth, three Big Sky regular season titles and one Big Sky Tournament championship. He had an impressive record of 154-55 (.737), and his Big Sky record during that time of 78-24 (.765) still ranks among the top four in conference history.


Melissa Waelter – OH, 5-10, Jr., TR, Arnsberg, Germany (Franz Stock Gymnasium HS ’11 / South Alabama)

South Alabama: In her career, Waelter started 49-of-50 matches at South Alabama in the 2011 and 2012 seasons, with a total of 180 sets played and 12 double-doubles. She finished with 506 kills (2.81 per game), 406 digs (2.3), 60 blocks (0.3) and 51 service aces (0.3). She started all 22 matches she played in her sophomore season in 2012, finishing with 85 sets played and eight double-doubles. She led the team with an average of 3.08 kills per game to rank eighth in the Sun Belt Conference. She finished with a total of 262 kills, 215 digs (2.53 per set), 31 blocks (0.38) and 25 service aces. She had a career-high 22 kills against Louisiana-Monroe (10/12/12), when she also finished with 18 digs. She had 16 kills or more on four occasions, including 19 at Middle Tennessee (9/20/12), as she led the team with 15 double-figure matches in kills. As a freshman, Waelter was named to the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List. She started 27 of South Alabama’s 28 matches and competed in 95 sets. She led the club offensively with 244 kills and 2.57 kills per set. She also led the club in service aces with 26 (0.27 per set to rank just outside the top 10 of the league) and had 29 total blocks. Waelter was also solid defensively, as she finished the year with 191 digs and averaged 2.01 per set. She had six kills or better in 21 matches, including 13 double-digit tallies. She had matches of six digs or better 18 times, including seven in double-figures. Waelter led the team in kills in six matches and digs in three, with four double-doubles. Her first career double-double came against Louisiana-Lafayette (9/23/11) with 11 kills and a season-high 17 digs. She also had double-doubles versus North Texas (10/21/11) with 10 kills, 10 digs; versus Denver (10/22/11) with 12 kills, 12 digs; and versus Troy (11/1/11) with 14 kills and 11 digs. She recorded a season-high 15 kills against Jackson State (9/10/11) and had a season-high five service aces against Southeastern Louisiana (9/2/11).

HS: Graduated from Franz Stock Gymnasium in Arnsberg, Germany, in 2011. She played at the club level for eight years for TUS Iserlohn 1846 e.V. of the Regionalliga in Iserlohn, Germany. During her club career, she saw action at both the middle blocker and outside hitter positions.

Personal: Born 4/20/91 in Arnsberg, Germany. Daughter of Heinz and Petra Waelter. Intends on majoring in psychology at Eastern. Her name is pronounced “walter.”

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