The Ferris State University women's volleyball program hopes another piece to a potential championship team has been added with the addition of college transfer Brandie Merren (Hopkins), who will play for the Bulldogs starting with the upcoming 2011 season. The announcement was made by FSU head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm.
Merren, a setter-defensive specialist, returns to the court this fall following a year's absence. She spent her initial collegiate campaign in 2009 at NCAA Division I Western Michigan and played in 10 matches for a total of 29 sets. Merren recorded six service aces and 18 digs for the Broncos while averaging 0.21 aces per set and 0.62 digs per set under head coach Colleen Munson. The 5-7 Merren tallied a career match-high seven digs versus Miami (11/7) after serving up an ace and garnering two digs against Indiana (9/18) in her college debut. She signed with WMU after receiving highest honorable mention accolades for incoming freshmen on PrepVolleyball.com.
"We are truly excited to have Brandie join our program," said Brandel-Wilhelm, who will begin her 16th season at Ferris State this fall. "She is an excellent player and quick athlete. Her competitive drive will allow her to immediately have an impact with our team."
A four-year (2005-08) starter at Hopkins High School, Merren claimed Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association (MIVCA) Class B All-State Third-Team recognition as a senior in 2008 and earned Class B Honorable Mention All-State plaudits in her 2007 junior season. A team captain under head coach and her mother, Terrie Wisser, Merren attained All-OK (Ottawa-Kent) Silver Conference along with all-county and all-region laurels all four years. She was chosen as the Vikings' Most Valuable Player in both the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
In her 2008 senior year, Merren hammered 106 kills in 288 attempts while posting 115 service aces, 171 digs, 1,041 assists, 63 block solos, and 99 block assists in 30 outings. Her 56 assists in a match as a senior represented the sixth-highest output in the state's prep history. As a junior in 2007, she compiled 158 kills in 441 hitting attemps to go along with 153 service aces, 260 digs, 1,043 assists, 59 block solos, and 203 block assists in 30 contests.
Merren concluded her prep career by holding school records for career assists (3,605-7th all-time in Michigan), career aces (480-2nd all-time in Michigan), and career digs (1,606). She finished second among the school's leaders in career blocks with 209 while her 1,148 assists as a sophomore in 2006 marks a school record.
A 2009 Hopkins graduate, Merren was a four-year varsity letterwinner in both volleyball and basketball. She started three seasons in basketball at the guard position for the Vikings.
Merren spent 10 years playing for the Dunes Volleyball Club under coach Rick Ashmore. She also was a member of teams which placed first at the 2007 USA Junior Olympic Under-17 National Championships and third place at the 2004 USA Junior Olympic Under-14 National Championships.
The daughter of Russell Merren and Terrie Wisser, both of Hopkins, Brandie plans to major in elementary education at Ferris State.
Merren joins middle hitter Courtney Rehm (Portage/Central), outside-middle hitter Caroline Heitzman (Newaygo/Fremont), and middle-outside hitter Claire Grawburg (Rochester Hills/Rochester) as newcomers to the 2011 Bulldog team.