Crystal Lake Central's Madeline Timmerman had a pretty good feeling about Eastern Michigan when she made an official visit to the Ypsilanti, Michigan, school for the first time with her mom last month.
When she went back to visit for a second time, this time with her dad, older brother and younger sister, the junior had her mind made up.
Timmerman announced her commitment to the NCAA Division I Eagles via Twitter on Wednesday. She also had an offer from North Dakota and was talking to Villanova, Wright State and UNLV.
"When we went there, I fell in love with the school," Timmerman said. "It was everything that I could imagine. It really was the perfect fit for me. I loved the coaches. They're all super nice and super awesome. The school is in the perfect spot. The volleyball program just really appealed to me.
"There really wasn't anything about the school I saw as a negative. I just loved it all."
Timmerman, a 6-foot-2 middle blocker, was a Northwest Herald All-Area honorable mention last season. She finished her sophomore season with 178 kills, 33 aces and a team-leading 132 blocks, which ranks second in Tigers history for blocks in a season.
Eastern Michigan went 21-14 and 9-7 in the Mid-American Conference last season, winning its first MAC Tournament title and earning its first bid to the NCAA tournament. The Eagles lost in the first round to Illinois, which went on to the Final Four.
Darcy Dorton, an assistant at Eastern Michigan for the previous four years and former NCAA champion at Penn State as a player, takes over this fall in her first head coaching opportunity.
Timmerman appreciated the way the coaches and players interacted with each other on and off the court.
"I liked how they all worked and communicated together as a team," Timmerman said. "They are all fun people. I liked their personalities and how they coached and interacted with all of the girls."
Timmerman joins two area players already on the Eagles: sophomore Mackenzie Garis and freshman Jayden Otto. Garis and Otto attended Prairie Ridge.
Central was 31-6 and placed third in the Fox Valley Conference at 13-3 and returns its entire starting roster. The Tigers started the season with a 25-5, 25-9 win over Jacobs on Tuesday.
Timmerman is the fifth Tigers volleyball player committed to play in college, along with Camryn Hausler (Wright State), Maddy McCormick (Colorado State), Madde Blake (Gannon University) and Olivia Anderson (Indiana Tech).
Timmerman said it's always been a dream of hers to play in college. For now, she's focused on the high school season.
"I'm just really excited to finish off these two years at Central," Timmerman said. "I think it's going to be great. Some of these girls, I've been playing with for a couple of years now, and, for some of them, it might be my last season with them. I just hope we can have fun while doing the best we can."