Mac Podraza, Jess Mruzik Training With USA Volleyball

Penn State women’s volleyball players Mac Podraza and Jess Mruzik are among 18 college standouts who are currently training with USA volleyball March 12-18 in Anaheim, California.

Podraza and Mruzik announced their commitments to the Nittany Lions in late January after excellent careers at Ohio State and Michigan, respectively. The duo of All-Big Ten performers will arrive on campus at Penn State following the spring semester.

Mac Podraza

Podraza, the reigning Big Ten Setter of the Year, secured three AVCA All-American selections and three first-team All-Big Ten nods during her decorated career in Columbus. She was one of the most coveted players in the transfer portal this offseason for good reason, and was a major pickup for Katie Schumacher-Cawley and her staff.

Podraza, who has one season of eligibility remaining, will replace second-team All-Big Ten setter Seleisa Elisaia in Penn State’s lineup. Elisaia is now playing professionally in Puerto Rico alongside former Penn State teammate Kashauna Williams, who joined Podraza in Anaheim last June as a member of the U.S. collegiate national team.

Jess Mruzik

Mruzik, a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection at outside hitter, will bring two seasons of eligibility with her to University Park once she graduates from Michigan this spring. She received AVCA All-American honorable mention as a sophomore in 2021 and has been one of the conference’s best attackers the last few seasons.

Mruzik had a chance to gel with several of her new Penn State teammates during USA volleyball’s open program February 24-26 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which saw more than 200 college athletes try out for spots on the U.S. women’s national team and collegiate national team. Allie Holland, Alexa Markley, Zoe Weatherington, Camryn Hannah, and Ally Van Eekeren joined Mruzik in Colorado, where Schumacher-Cawley was one of the coaches tasked with overseeing the event.

Mruzik is among five outside hitters invited to USA volleyball’s spring training camp this week, while Podraza is part of a three-setter group in Anaheim that also includes Minnesota’s Melani Shaffmaster and Stanford’s Kami Miner. Reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Taylor Landfair and Wisconsin’s Sarah Franklin and Carter Booth are the other Big Ten representatives on hand. The session will conclude with a scrimmage on Saturday.

Once Podraza and Mruzik arrive on campus at Penn State in a couple months, they will continue building chemistry for the 2023 season and learning more about each other’s tendencies in the gym. For now, they’re showing U.S. women’s national team head coach Karch Kiraly and his staff what they can do as part of a select group hand-picked to train in Anaheim.

“We are thrilled at the opportunity to work with this group of student-athletes for 2023 spring training camp,” Kiraly said in a press release. “With the LA 2028 Olympic Games less than six years away, who knows? Some women from this group could be repping USA volleyball.”