Friday, 04 December 2020 17:26

SIGNED: Anderson inks commitment letter to William Peace volleyball

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Georgia Grace Anderson, flanked by her parents Alan and Deann Anderson, smiles as she signs her letter of commitment to William Peace University. Georgia Grace Anderson, flanked by her parents Alan and Deann Anderson, smiles as she signs her letter of commitment to William Peace University. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — Georgia Grace Anderson was described by several of her current and former coaches as being “dedicated” and “committed” to the sport of volleyball. 

She made her next commitment to the game she loves Friday when she signed her letter of commitment to William Peace University.

Not letting COVID-19 restrictions disrupt her college signing day, Anderson and the Richmond Senior High School volleyball community celebrated outside in the school’s front courtyard. 

The senior Lady Raider middle hitter was surrounded by her parents, Alan and Deann Anderson, when she inked her future in front of a large crowd of family members, teammates, teachers and classmates. 

Also on hand was her grandmother Betty Caudle, Richmond head coach Ashleigh Larsen, assistant coach Melissa Dennis, her middle school coach Teresa Mason and travel coach Dal Langston.

“It’s a dream come true. I could barely sleep last night,” Anderson said with a smile. “It felt good to win last night and then come out here today and sign to William Peace.

“There were so many people here supporting me today and it really means a lot,” she added. “They’re as excited for me as I am excited for myself.”

Deann, Alan and Georgia Grace Anderson, with Betty Caudle.

On Sept. 25, Anderson verbally committed to join William Peace’s program, a Division III school that competes in the USA South Athletic Conference. Since then, the three-year varsity starter and the Lady Raiders have begun their shortened regular season and sit at 3-3.

Anderson became the first Lady Raider volleyball player to sign with a college team since former player Altman Griffin signed with UNC-Wilmington following the 2017 season. Current varsity assistant coach and Lady Raider alumni Madelyn Chappell recently wrapped up her career at Salem College.

“This is a big deal and it says a lot about how strong we are as a program at Richmond,” Anderson said. “Our team works so well together and I’ve learned a lot from playing here. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Members of the RSHS varsity and junior varsity volleyball teams celebrate with Anderson.

Larsen was Anderson’s junior varsity coach as a freshman, and has served as her varsity coach the last three seasons. She noted how profound Anderson’s impact on the program has been. 

“Georgia Grace’s signing shows how much dedication she has put forth towards our program and her love for volleyball,” Larsen said. “She has worked really hard and given up other sports she loves to pursue this dream. 

“We do not have very many girls leave here to further their volleyball career, but it is awesome to add her to the list. I hope the younger girls use her, as well as our previous signees, as a role model to strive to get where she is. It is definitely an important day for not only GGA, but for our program as well.”

Larsen said it’s “little steps” like Anderson’s signing that is putting Richmond County on the volleyball map. Several members of the varsity and junior varsity teams were on hand to witness the special moment.

A staple of the Lady Raider program for four years, Anderson was named to her first All-Sandhills Athletic Conference team last season. As a junior, she recorded the second most kills (261) in the SAC.

Through six matches this fall, Anderson has a team-high 48 kills in 22 sets played (2.18 kills per set). In her career, Anderson has 428 career kills and set a team and conference record with a .431 kill percentage in 2019.

Outside of Richmond, Anderson has spent several years playing travel volleyball. She credited her time with AC Sandhills and the L2 Volleyball Club as being a big part of her success in getting to the college circuit.

Larsen opened the signing ceremony by noting some of Anderson’s accomplishments on and off the court. Anderson is a member of Richmond’s Beta Club, National Honor Society and Senior Senate, and carries a 4.75 weighted grade point average.

It was also announced that Anderson was awarded the Presidential Scholarship at William Peace, which is given to students who “have earned exceptional academic records.” She plans to major in elementary education.

Langston, who has coached Anderson for the last two years with the L2 Volleyball Club, shared a story of a time he knew Anderson was a competitor.

“You have to have someone who wants to win a lot worse than they want to lose,” Langston said. “It was a tight match and I looked around to see what their faces looked like and I was looking to see who had that drive.

“I got to Georgia Grace and her nostrils were flared. You have to have kids who are willing to do whatever it takes to win and that’s indicative of Georgia Grace. She’s someone who will drive your other players.”

Anderson (center) with coaches Teresa Mason, Dal Langston, Melissa Dennis and Ashleigh Larsen.

Mason, who coached Anderson during her career at Rockingham Middle School, commented on Anderson always staying true to herself and the sport of volleyball.

“From the first day she walked into the gym (until now), she is the exact same person,” Mason said. “As far as her integrity, her character, all those things a parent would be proud of. I always want my players to be the best version of themselves, and she has done that.”

During her time playing varsity volleyball at Richmond, Anderson has also impressed Larsen with her ability to lead the team.

“GGA has definitely grown into a more vocal leader in her four years at Richmond. She has always been willing to work hard and better herself and her teammates,” Larsen said. “It has been awesome to watch her transform from a quiet, not so little freshman into the young woman she is today. 

“She has worked hard to maintain a high GPA and push herself to reach her dream of continuing her education while playing volleyball. I feel like we have talked about this day for quite some time and I am happy to say it is finally here.”

William Peace is under the direction of first-year head coach Nicole Barringer and is set to play a spring schedule starting in March. When Anderson reports to campus for her freshman year in 2021, she has her eyes set on earning as much time on the floor as she can.

“I want to go in on day one and fight for a spot,” Anderson said. “I want to get as much playing time as possible.”

“Peace is getting a hard-working athlete who is willing to work overtime to ensure she is fully prepared for each game,” Larsen closed. “GGA motivates her teammates no matter what. Her court awareness and volleyball knowledge will help her adapt at Peace.  

“She is settling into a conference that has players similar to what she faces in her travel ball programs, so she is already walking in with some background experience at that level of play. She will do whatever it takes to earn her spot on the court."

Last modified on Friday, 04 December 2020 17:40
Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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