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Friday, 25 September 2020 15:48

BREAKING: Anderson verbally commits, will call William Peace 'home'

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Richmond's Georgia Grace Anderson verbally committed to William Peace University on Friday. Richmond's Georgia Grace Anderson verbally committed to William Peace University on Friday. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

ROCKINGHAM — It may have taken a little longer than she wanted it to, but Georgia Grace Anderson is at peace with her decision as to where she will call home for her college volleyball career.

The Richmond Senior High School standout middle hitter made her verbal commitment Friday afternoon, announcing she will suit up for William Peace University the next four years. Anderson’s decision came after an extended waiting period because of COVID-19.

"Super excited to announce my verbal commitment to William Peace University to continue my academic and athletic career," Anderson tweeted. "There's no way I would be where I am today without the love and support from my family, coaches, and teammates. Can't wait to be a Pacer!"

A recruiting journey that started her freshman season of high school, Anderson’s path to committing with the Pacers saw her collect five college offers along the way. She was also weighing offers from Averett University, Greensboro College, Methodist University and a walk-on spot at UNC-Pembroke.

She did her homework and toured each campus and met with coaches, but William Peace was the one she knew “deep down” would be the best fit.

“It’s a big weight off my chest,” Anderson laughed. “This was a big decision, and now that it’s made, I feel a whole lot better. I’ve been in this process since ninth grade, and to see it all work out is great.

“My goal was to commit this summer but COVID happened,” she added. “The pandemic made me have to work hard on my communication with coaches. I sent a lot of emails, but got to start touring campuses in August.”

The Pacers are coached by Nicole Barringer, and Anderson was recruited as a middle hitter. She was told by Barringer she could “fill the shoes” of a future opening in the frontcourt, which was promising for Anderson to hear, but said she will “fight for my spot.”

Anderson becomes the first Lady Raider volleyball player to join the collegiate ranks since former player Altman Griffin signed to play with UNC-Wilmington in 2018.

At Richmond, Anderson has served as a varsity starter for head coach Ashleigh Larsen the past three seasons, while also earning her first All-Sandhills Athletic Conference nod following her junior campaign. 

A season ago, Anderson tallied a conference-best .431 kill percentage. In 88 sets played, the 6-footer also recorded the second most kills (261) in the SAC. 

She hit double-digit kills 14 times this season, the most on the team, and had a team-high 16 kills three times (Jack Britt, Lumberton and Reagan). 

“Georgia Grace has been excited since she left (Peace’s) campus the first time and it must have been a perfect fit,” Larsen said. “She has worked really hard to achieve this goal.

“She gave up on other sports she loved so she could pursue this dream. I’m happy she found her new home and am excited to see her play at the next level.”

A big part of her life during her career at Richmond, the volleyball program and Larsen have had a major impact on Anderson chasing her dreams.

“I’ve had Scully (Larsen) all four years as a coach, and the whole senior class has had a great relationship with her on and off the court. She’s a great coach,” Anderson explained. 

“My teammates have always been so supportive, understanding and helpful. It’s nice to have teammates who wanted to see me succeed. My time at Richmond has definitely prepared me for college.”

Anderson and her family attended a practice at William Peace on Thursday, and after leaving, she knew it was the right fit. She noted that her future education is just as important as her playing career, and said the university is a “really tight-knit community that had a real home feel” to it.

While at the practice, Anderson was impressed by Barringer’s enthusiasm, which she said “is the same love the players have” for the sport. 

“Coach Barringer has done a whole lot to the program the last couple years and it’s only growing from here,” Anderson said. “(Barringer) played at Averett, which is a powerhouse in Division III, so she knows the game well and is so competitive.”

An added bonus is the small professor-to-student ratio at William Peace, and with the school in Raleigh, Anderson said that could lead to a lot of internship and job opportunities. Currently, Anderson plans to major in elementary education, the same profession as her mother, Deann Anderson.  

While Division III programs don’t allocate athletic scholarships, Anderson said she will be receiving academic scholarship money from William Peace.

Anderson will join a William Peace program that went 24-8 in 2019. Competing in the USA South Conference, the Pacers finished third in the East Division, just two games behind division winner Averett, and made it to the second round of the USA South Conference tournament.

William Peace’s 2020 season has been postponed due to the coronavirus and will be played this spring. Anderson and the Lady Raiders will get their season started on Nov. 17 at Purnell Swett High School, which she’s ready for.

“This decision will definitely let me focus on my final high school season,” Anderson closed. “It takes some of the pressure off and it will let me and my teammates have a lot of fun. I want my senior season to be the best it can be.”

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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