Ole Miss volleyball and head coach Kayla Banwarth announced the addition of transfer setter Gabby Easton over the weekend, adding top-tier talent to a position that lacks depth.
— Ole Miss Volleyball (@OleMissVB) May 1, 2020
Say hello to our new friend, Gabby! ♀️
She joins the 2020 roster after transferring from Clemson, and will be one of SEVEN new faces for your Rebs this fall‼️
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Welcome, and #HottyToddy! pic.twitter.com/BUia7H06d6
Easton is a big-time talent boost for Banwarth, who was tapped as the team’s eighth head coach in December and brings a national championship mentality to the Rebels.
“We are thrilled to have Gabby join our Rebel family,” Banwarth said. “She will undoubtedly contribute positively to our team on and off the court. She has set big goals for herself and we look foreard to helping her achieve those goals. She brings all-conference experience and accolades that will raise the bar of Ole Miss Volleyball. Her talent is outweighed only by her drive to succeed. We can’t wait to see Gabby in an Ole Miss uniform!”
At 5-foot-9, Easton enrolled at Clemson in 2018 and made an immediate impact with her silky hands on a Power-5 program that saw significant strides in her first season. She recorded seven matches with at least 50 assists, including her career-high of 60, and was named ACC Freshman of the week in back-to-back weeks in October.
Easton totaled 1,397 assists, ranking second in the conference in 2018, and was one of four setters in Clemson history eclipse 1,000 assists in their freshman season. She did it in only 25 matches played and added 206 digs and 78 total blocks to her impressive stat line.
Easton only saw action in eight games as a sophomore, which likely contributed to her decision to find a new program, and Ole Miss landing her commitment is a huge deal. Her sets are pure margarine. She will join a roster with an incoming freshman setter Callaway Cason and incumbent senior setter Lauren Bars when she gets to Oxford.
Prior to her time with the Tigers, Easton was the only setter in T.L. Hanna High School history to record 4,080 assists and finished her high school career with 724 kills, 877 digs, 231 aces, and 190 blocks. At the club level (which holds more weight the in volleyball recruiting world) she was an AAU All-American and named the AAU National Championship MVP when her team won a national title in 2017-18.
It is yet to be seen what the new offense at Ole Miss will look like under Banwarth, whether a 5-1 or a 6-2. Either way, Easton has a chance to be a valuable piece in year one.
In a 5-1 offense there are five eligible hitters and one setter. No matter where the setter is on the court, she is the primary setter. If she is in the front row, she is not an option on offense. Easton could very will win the starting job outright in a solo-setter offense.
In a 6-2 system, there are six players who are offensive options when in the front row and two setters that play opposite one another. The primary setter is whoever is in the back row, while the other is an option on offense from the front row. More often than not, the setter will be subbed out in the front row for a more established hitting attack. If Banwarth turns to a 6-2, it is very realistic that Easton will see playing time when she becomes eligible.
No matter how the roster and offense shakes out, Easton and her buttery sets are a huge get for a first-year head coach looking to lead Ole Miss to new heights. Yahtzee!