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In a whirlwind, U volleyball adds transfer Alex Acevedo from Oregon

It has been a busy few weeks for the Gophers volleyball team and coach Keegan Cook. They just returned from a 12-day European trip during which they finished 5-1 against an assortment of international competition.

Cook had to leave the trip a few days early, but it was planned well in advance because his second child was on the way. His wife, Sarah Ammerman, gave birth to their second son, Finley, on Friday.

In the midst of all that, Cook was working on another new arrival, though this one will be more impactful on the court in 2024.

On Tuesday night, the Gophers announced they had added Alex Acevedo from Oregon. The 6-2 outside hitter redshirted her freshman season and has four years of eligibility remaining after being the No. 13-ranked recruit in the class of 2024.

"This was a recruiting process that I'll remember forever because it started at 2 in the morning in Istanbul and it finished the day after my son was born," Cook said. "It's one that will be a good story if we get it right over the course of her career."

Acevedo, who was the 2023 Gatorade Player of the Year out of Idaho, is the second transfer to come to the Gophers from Oregon this year and brings instant depth to a position that includes hitters Mckenna Wucherer and Julia Hanson. Watertown native Kate Thibault transferred to the Gophers from Oregon in May, which gave her new coaches a nice reference point for Acevedo.

"It was 20 questions to Kate, and then I probably talked to over a dozen different people," Cook said.

Acevedo entered the portal at the end of the transfer window, and she did her due diligence as well, spending 14 days on the road to make five official visits.

"I was really impressed," Cook said. "She made a plan and stuck to it."

The rapid timing made for an immersive recruiting experience. The Gophers had felt their roster was set for next season before Acevedo became available, but when the opportunity came, it was too good to pass up.

"The recruiting classes of '25 and '26 are really important to us, but we want '24 to be a good year, as well," Cook said. "When I think about [seniors] Melani [Shaffmaster], Lydia [Grote] and Phoebe [Awoleye], I have to make sure I'm giving them the best possible team that I can. They deserve that. That was the ultimate decider for me."