Gillis played one season for the Trojans, seeing action in 21 matches and averaging 2.14 kills per set. She will be eligible to play right away in the fall.
“Proud to say I am now a Badger!” Gillis tweeted on Monday. “Can’t wait to spend the next three years at the University of Wisconsin.”
Gillis, who is from New Castle, Indiana, was the No. 7 ranked recruit in 2014 according to PrepVolleyball. She also was a Fab 50 selection and a second-team high school All-American by Volleyball Magazine.
Gillis will join a long line of UW players from Munciana Volleyball Club, including libero Taylor Morey and incoming freshman middle blocker Tionna Williams.
Mike Lingenfelter, co-director of Munciana, said Gillis will be a perfect fit for UW coach Kelly Sheffield, whose coaching roots go back to the club.
“I think she’ll have an impact for them immediately,” Lingenfelter said. “From a culture standpoint, I think she’ll only add to what they’re doing. I’ve coached a lot of very good players, but I don’t know if I’ve ever coached a better person than Lauryn.”
Lingenfelter said that Gillis has the blue-collar work ethic that is required to excel in Sheffield’s system. Gillis was a four-time AAU All-American for Munciana, helping it to national AAU runner-up finishes in 2012 and 2014.
“She’s a kid who can stay on the court for all six rotations,” Lingenfelter said. “For us she was a primary ballhandler, almost like a big libero. If you allow her to move around and create space, she’s very good.
“She’s a very gifted athlete, a physically strong kid, a solid jumper with a big reach. She plays hard on every point, and that’s a lost commodity. That’s what really sets her apart from most kids I coach.”
Lingenfelter said Gillis first indicated that she might be looking to transfer when she came home for Christmas break.
“She seemed a little disgruntled, and in February she talked to me about wanting to come closer to home,” he said. “She and Taylor Morey are great friends. More importantly, she wanted to be in a program where her family could see her play and she could be more in her comfort zone.”
Lingenfelter said he only recently began fielding calls from college coaches interested in her, and that peaked over the weekend when he was at a big AAU event in Louisville.
“About every 10 steps I took, somebody was trying to plant a seed for Lauryn to look into their school,” he said. “I got about 15 calls today from coaches. A lot of people were kind of late to the party.”
That’s because after visiting UW, Gillis’ mind was set.
“She went up there and absolutely fell in love with it,” Lingenfelter said. “She thought any other trips would be a waste of time and money because she’d already fallen in love.
“I texted a couple coaches that were heartbroken because they really wanted her in their program. Most of the Big Ten and almost all of the top 20, 25 teams in the country are the ones that were calling. She’s a special kid.”