OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - It seems like just yesterday Blake Mohler was taking the Coast by storm, earning 2014 Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year honors. However, in seemingly the blink of an eye, the now-Purdue standout has just one year to go in her collegiate career.
“It’s a little scary," Mohler said with a laugh. "You never think that it’s gonna come until that year comes. I have just been playing, knowing that I have another season left and that (I can tell myself) okay, well, I didn’t get that this season, but I can grow and learn, get better and do that next season - but this is the last time.”
Mohler has certainly made the most of her experience in West Lafayette, Indiana. The former Ocean Springs standout earned All-Big Ten First Team and All-American Third Team honors, and an invitation to try out for the U.S. Women’s National Team - all this after offseason shoulder surgery last December.
“I didn’t really get back to playing like myself until midway through the Big Ten season, so knowing that I could progress that much in such a short amount of time, I can’t wait to have a full seven months of training behind me before I start next August," Mohler said.
Mohler has big goals in store for the 2019 season - including All-American First Team honors - but the rising redshirt senior also hopes to lead the Boilermakers further into the NCAA Tournament, and believes they have the talent to do so.
“Our chemistry has never been as good on the court as it is right now, and I know we can only grow on that," Mohler said. "The recruits we have coming in are only going to build with that, so I’m really excited to see how that goes.”
Mohler was once one of those recruits right here on the Coast. Her signing with Purdue was one of many examples of volleyball’s prominence picking up steam in the area.
“It’s definitely starting to grow, and I’m starting to see that," Mohler said. "I know my coach is starting to look at more programs down here compared to when they were before I had gotten signed to Purdue.”
From Vancleave’s first state championships to Pearl River forming the state’s first JUCO program, volleyball continues to gain more traction in South Mississippi, and Mohler wants to play her part.
“It’s one thing that I want to do once I’m done with college and done with my volleyball career is to be able to come back and help this community grow," Mohler said. "Volleyball is such a great sport and there’s so much opportunities after college for it, and I would just hope that I could get those girls these types of opportunities that have been given to me.”