CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia volleyball head coach Shannon Wells announced today (May 20) the addition of Kate Dean (Tuscola, Ill.), a transfer middle blocker from Eastern Illinois. Dean is set to begin training with the Cavaliers this summer and will have two years of eligibility at UVA.

Dean comes to Virginia after playing two seasons for the Panthers, starting 29 matches last season as a sophomore when she helped EIU to the NCAA tournament and a 28-5 record and 15-3 mark in Ohio Valley Conference play. It marked the first time the Panthers advanced to NCAA play since the 2001 season.

“It was evident throughout the recruiting process that Kate was a great fit for our program,” Wells said. “She is mature, grounded, reflective and desires to be great. She helped lead her team to a NCAA tournament bid and is excited to bring that knowledge and experience to our volleyball program. Our fans will love her energy and her authentic personality. We can’t thank Kate enough for buying into our vision of building a championship program and getting back to postseason play next year and look forward to having her play a big part in it.”

During the 2023 season Dean tallied 209 kills on the season for an average of 1.97 kills per set. She finished the year with a .329 attack percentage and was third on the team in blocks with a total of 62 rejections (0.58 BPS). She recorded double-digit kills in seven matches, including a season high of 12 in back-to-back contests against Southeast Missouri.

During her freshman campaign, she played in 25 matches, starting 21 times. Dean posted 77 kills on the season with an average of 0.96 kills per set. She was one of three Panthers to register at least 49 blocks during the season. She ended the season with season highs in kills (12) and blocks (10) for her first career double-double. Dean posted a .175 hitting percentage on 217 attacks and was second on the team in blocks per set with an average of 0.61.

Dean also competed on the EIU beach volleyball team as in 2023. She appeared in 14 matches and picked up four wins. She played all of her matches during the season between No. 4 and No. 5 pairs.

Dean played volleyball at Tuscola High School where she was named to the AVCA All-American list finishing with 712 kills, 175 blocks, 185 digs, 53 service aces and 13 assists during her senior season. She was named to the Illinois honorable mention All-State selection team twice and was a AVCA All-Region 6 and Champaign News-Gazette All-Area selection. Dean was named Tuscola HS team MVP and a unanimous first team All-Central Illinois Conference selection the last two seasons

She played club volleyball for Illini Elite 18 Cardinal where she was coached by Michelle Erins and Kyle Caldwell. She was named to the 2021 Ultra Ankle JVA Watchlist at the club level. Dean was named the MVP of the 18 Club Division at the 2020 St. Louis President’s Classic.

Dean’s sister, Karli played for four seasons (2020-23) at Missouri-St. Louis. She also played middle blocker.