Penelope Van Eman and Rylie Tucker have shared a close friendship since they were 6 months old, and on Wednesday they shared a milestone in their lives when they both signed to play collegiate sports.
Penelope Van Eman signed with Charleston Southern University to play volleyball. Van Eman was a 4 year letterwinner with the Brahmans and helped lead the team to a regional final appearance this season before losing to defending state champion Jensen Beach.
Van Eman knew she wanted to play collegian volleyball early in high school and sent out dozens of emails, phone calls and letters to various programs. Charlston Southern Coach Carry Brown began recruiting Van Eman when Brown was the coach at Florida College and continued when she was named head coach of the Buccaneers program.
The Buccaneers went 9-18 last year and look forward to Van Eman bringing her same energy that she brought in High School. Van Eman is expected to play Defensive Specialist and Outside Hitter with Charlston Southern.
Van Eman was part of a very successful OHS Volleyball program that came within a game of the state final four this season. She says she has amazing memories as a Brahman which mostly include long bus rides with her teammates.
Charleston Southern University is located in Charleston South Carolina and is a member of the Big South Conference. Most of their games can be seen on ESPN Plus.
Rylie Tucker experienced a breakout junior season at Okeechobee in 2023 with the Brahman softball team. She hot .350 with 10 extra base hits, 2 home runs and 22 RBI. All among the team lead. Tucker turned that season into an offer to play softball at Cedarville University in Cedarville Ohio.
After struggling for consistent playing time her freshman and sophomore seasons, Tucker was a major force her junior season in the middle of the lineup. She credited confidence in her ability for her breakout season.
The Yellowjackets went 22-26 overall in 2023 but 16-8 within the conference. Tucker says her work ethic are what Cedarville likes about her game.
Rylie’s older sister and Brahman alum Morgan Tucker recently finished up her college volleyball career at Chowan University in North Carolina. Rylie said she got a lot of advice form her older sister on what to look for in a campus and coaching staff.
Tucker says her goals for her senior season with OHS Softball are to win the district championship.