Indy Ignite pro volleyball team set to debut in January

In October, longtime Minnesotan George Padjen plans to relocate to central Indiana to embark on the biggest challenge of his decorated coaching career.

Such is life when one is about to go pro.

The 46-year-old Padjen will lead the expansion Indy Ignite — the eighth and newest member of the Pro Volleyball Federation, a professional women’s league that achieved success in its inaugural 2024 season.

One by one, the boxes are being checked as the Ignite prepare for the start of their debut season in January. There is already a team logo, a head coach and most recently, a 10-player roster that, on paper, might be suited to contend with some of the league’s elite franchises.

“I couldn’t be happier about how this team was put together,” said Padjen, who was born in the northern Wisconsin town of Mellen (population: 608) but served as an assistant women’s coach at Division II Concordia University in Minnesota for the past 21 seasons. “Players react to playing with people they like, and people who are talented. You can tell they’re hard workers and are in there to get better. They have that same mentality of they’re not done growing. They’re not done learning.”

The Ignite will play their home matches at the Fishers Event Center, a 7,000-seat entertainment and sporting venue scheduled to open in November.

“The sport, in general, is growing like crazy,” said Center Grove girls volleyball coach Jennifer Hawk, who hopes to take in some of the Ignite home matches. “To have it in the discussion, and then the Olympics, there is a lot of good hype for the sport. January is prime time to start club, so I would imagine a lot of the clubs would probably try to organize something. It’s just kind of a bummer that it’s so north. I was hoping for something a little more centralized, because every other professional team is downtown.”

The Indy Ignite roster, announced on June 30, is highlighted by the addition of former Wisconsin setter Sydney Hilley, a three-time Big Ten Conference setter of the year who was a member of the Omaha Supernovas when they won the first league title in May.

Hilley, who played with Center Grove graduate Madison Hammill at Wisconsin and accumulated 6,220 assists in her time there, was Most Valuable Player of the PVF playoffs.

Another cornerstone of the Ignite’s first season will be 5-foot-9 outside hitter Leketor Member-Meneh, previously a member of the Atlanta Vibe.

The franchise also brings in several players with local ties, including libero Kylie Murr (Yorktown), middle hitter Blake Mohler (Purdue), outside hitters Grace Cleveland (Purdue) and Carly Skojdt (Carmel) and libero Maddie Schermerhorn (Purdue).

The Pro Volleyball Federation proved an immediate hit, drawing an overall attendance of just under 400,000 fans with 3.9 million viewers streaming matches on YouTube. Player salaries ranged from $60,000 to $125,000, with some also earning bonus money. Top salaries for the upcoming season have been set at $175,000, making the league one of the strongest in financial benefits in women’s professional sports.

Dallas is planning to join either this season or next; Kansas City is on board beginning the 2026 season.

Indy Ignite president and general manager MK Huse, citing the state’s outstanding women’s volleyball reputation because of its club and collegiate programs, said adding Indianapolis to the league simply makes sense.

“The average attendance was over 6,000 across all the locations,” Huse said. “It’s hard to have expectations in our first year, but we’re very proud of what we did in year one. We built the team with a foundation of high integrity people. We’re here to win.”


The Indy Ignite will begin their inaugural season in the Pro Volleyball Federation this winter. Tickets for home matches will go on sale beginning Aug. 5 at

• $100 deposit for general admission season tickets

• $250 deposit for premium season tickets

• Early bird prices for single match tickets will range from $20 to $200; regular pricing ranges from $25 to $225. Visit the team website (address above) for more information.