MONTGOMERY – One day, Hilliary Fox hopes to be a dentist.
But even before she’s known as Dr. Fox, she already has a Ph.D in volleyball.
Fox, the former Barr-Reeve standout, recently completed her four-year career on the volleyball court for the Purdue Boilermakers as an integral cog on one of the best teams in the country.
Though Fox and her teammates fell just short of their final four goal, it was a terrific season for Purdue. The Boilermakers advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament for the second time in four years, scoring big wins on the home courts of opponents Missouri and Illinois before falling to eventual national runner-up Wisconsin.
While on paper Purdue might have looked like an underdog against undefeated and fourth-ranked Missouri on the Tigers home court in the second round of the NCAA tourney in early December, Fox and her teammates didn’t see it that way.
“The selection show, when we saw our draw, and we were so excited, that’s the draw we wanted, it was perfect. People who don’t know volleyball, I think, were worried, because they saw we were playing Missouri, an undefeated team. But people who know volleyball know Big Ten volleyball is the best volleyball around,” said Fox. “So we knew going into that game that we were better and we were going to prove that, and we beat them in three. I think they were a little shocked, but we weren’t. We knew it was a stepping stone and that we were going to make it there.”
Purdue beat the Tigers in four games to advance to the Sweet 16 and a matchup with Illinois on the Illini’ home court. Less than a month early, Purdue had fallen to Illinois 3-0 in Champaign, but this time, Fox and friends reversed that result with a 3-0 win. Fox said the atmosphere in the NCAA tournament was incredible, even when the Boilers were facing hostile environments.