"Anybody who watched Alex play would understand why we want her to be a part of our program," stated Morehead State University coach Jaime Gordon Wednesday afternoon prior to his practice.
"She's a great athlete and very passionate about the game. She is all about volleyball and everything that goes with it. We were excited to go through the recruiting process and make her a Morehead State Eagle."
Alex Fuelling, the daughter Leesa Gross Fuelling, who also played Division 1 volleyball, and Eric Fuelling, signed her letter of intent to play for Morehead State Wednesday morning at Bellmont. As per NCAA regulations, Coach Gordon could not attend.
Alex liked the Morehead State situation when she visited the campus. "There was just something there. It just felt right. The campus is beautiful, the coach was awesome and the girls were super nice and they seemed to get along. I just liked it a lot," said the BHS senior.
"I feel she found a program that was a great fit for her," stated Leesa Fuelling, who finished her volleyball career at Ball State in 1987.
Alex just completed her Bellmont career Saturday night at Ball State's Worthen Arena, leading Bellmont to its second state crown in four years with a clean sweep of No. 1 and defending state champ Indianapolis Brebeuf Jesuit.
"There something to be said for a player and athlete who understands what it takes to be a champion," said Gordon.
"We have a nice tradition of conference championships and to have somebody who has that experience and knows what it takes to perform in the clutch is a big advantage."
Fuelling, of course, played many years of spring and summer volleyball, playing this last year for an elite team with the Munciana group. Alex feels that playing with and against some of the top talent around helped her develop her skills.
Fuelling had 16 of her 488 season kills against the Brebeuf Braves. She added 228 digs and 39 blocks this season. She is a three-time first team All-State player.
Alex was recruited as an outside hitter, but Gordon is confident that they can utilize her other skills.
"The great thing about Alex is that she's such a versatile player. Her attitude is that she will do whatever it takes to help her team. That's a fantastic strength. She'll help us out as outside hitter and she has shown a great deal of strength and ball control as blocking force at the net. In the same breath she can step in wherever we might need her," said Alex's new coach.
Gordon will "put the six best players out on the floor to compete and help us win, and that is earned every single day in practice. Alex will be able to help us out but in exactly what capacity ... we'll figure those things out in August," he noted.
"But there's no doubt in my mind she will be a big part of our success."
Translation: Alex won't be redshirted.
In his eighth year, Gordon has built a strong program as the Lady Eagles have won the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) three of the past four years, including this fall. That gives makes Morehead the site of the OVC Tourney and the winner of that meet gets an automatic berth in the Division I NCAA Tourney.
"We're graduating a strong senior class and we're excited about having Alex and the other two individuals in her recruiting class," offered Gordon.
Morehead State had to beat out Butler and Illinois State for Fuelling, who also made visits to IU, Purdue and Notre Dame. Duke and Clemson showed interest in Alex, but those destinations were too far away from Decatur, Indiana.
"Morehead State is about four and one-half to five hours away, so we'll have a chance to make most of her home games," noted Leesa.
"Morehead, Kentucky is very similar to Decatur in size and what they have to offer. It's a rural community, but only 45 minutes away from Lexington."
When she started her search for a college team, Alex thought big. "At first, I was looking to go bigger D-1. Then I decided it was definitely not what I wanted to do. I wanted to find a place where I can have an impact on the program," explained Alex.
Gordon watched the replay of the 3A State Finals on the IHSAA network. "It was an incredibly exciting match to watch. Naturally, we were pulling for Bellmont and it was great to see all the players on the team step it up and compete like they did.
"It was also exciting to see the tremendous support that the community put on for the girls. The fans were amazing. It had to be a really great experience for Alex and her teammates, a special experience that a lot of people don't have the opportunity to have. And to have it happen twice is quite an accomplishment,," praised Gordon.
"Bellmont has one of those strong traditions that starts to breed itself. The younger kids in the community see those positive role models and expect to be like that."
Gordon feels like they have something special at Morehead State as well. "We've been able to create a tradition in which some fantastic young women compete for us. I can't tell you how excited I am for Alex to be a part of that. It's definitely great to have a big time player like Alex come to Morehead State."