Central standout Chopra gives word to Wolverines

Central standout Chopra gives word to Wolverines

CHAMPAIGN — There always was a good chance Mira Chopra would play volleyball at the Big Ten Conference level.

Among the four schools the Champaign Central sophomore was seriously considering were Michigan, Maryland and Indiana.

Wolverines coach Mark Rosen now can boast being the Chopra sweepstakes winner.

The Maroons middle hitter verbally committed to Michigan via Twitter on Sunday night, making her college choice with two full prep seasons still on her plate.

"It feels really good," Chopra said. "I knew this was coming, and I knew I had to make this decision soon because everyone's committing pretty early nowadays."

Chopra also chose Michigan over Southern California, the lone non-Big Ten program in her recruiting discussion.

It's not hard to see why Chopra is so drawn to competing in the Big Ten. It sent seven teams to the most recent NCAA tournament, with Illinois, Wisconsin, Penn State and Nebraska all making the Elite Eight and the first two of that group making the Final Four.

The Wolverines cracked the Sweet 16 during a 24-10 campaign, Rosen's 21st in charge at Michigan.

"I had a really good connection with their head coach," Chopra said. "It has everything I could've thought of wanting in a school."

That included a strong academic system. Though Chopra doesn't know exactly what she wants to major in — eyeing both the medical and business fields — she was aware she wanted her college experience to be about both volleyball and a good education.

Chopra visited the Ann Arbor-based campus last July. She recalled feeling "a really good vibe" and enjoying both the Wolverines' volleyball and living facilities.

"They said they liked how I'm a big, physical girl," said the 6-foot-2 Chopra. "There's another middle in my class, too, so I could be playing midddle or right side when I get there."

Chopra helped Central to a Class 3A regional championship and 28-9 record last season, averaging 2.39 kills per set while working alongside Illinois signee Rylee Hinton.

With plenty of high school volleyball still on the docket for Chopra, she's expecting initial offseason tournaments to feel a little different than they did before.

"You're loyal to one school," Chopra said. "I'm not saying I'm not trying to impress anyone, because I'm still trying to get better."

Set to become the Maroons' offensive leader with Hinton's impending graduation, plenty of opportunities should exist for Chopra to flourish in the future. Even though she's forged a pathway to Division I athletics, Chopra isn't interested in settling into a mold.

"It's one of the best schools in the country, and that's really big for me," Chopra said. "Just keeping my head right and motivating myself (is important), because I do have two years left."