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A few months ago, new Brunswick Community College volleyball coach Melissa Everitt had a handful of players and was scrambling to find players to field a team.
Entering the team’s first home match of the season at 1 p.m. Saturday against Catawba Valley Community College, Everitt has enough players to have full-team scrimmages and is hopeful of being one of the better teams in Division II Region 10 volleyball. BCC, in the first year of the program, qualified for the national tourney in 2008. Everitt, in her first year at BCC, also wants to reach the national tourney, to be played Nov. 18-20 in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
Everitt has three returning players: 5-foot-8 outside hitter Ericca Matthews, setter KaAnn Murray and 5-foot-9 outside hitter Courtney Steele.
Among her recruits are five county players: Rheanna Lawson, Nicole Ray and Brittany Spivey, all from South Brunswick, and Kenzie McDuffie and Mattie Tippett, from West Brunswick.
McDuffie was first-team all-conference last year; Lawson and Tippett were second-team all-conference. Ray and Spivey did not play volleyball last year, but were members of a South team coached by BCC assistant Chad Shoaf.
Joining them are five freshmen.
Deondra Drayton is a 5-foot-6 outside hitter and right-side hitter from South Columbus High School.
She was referred to Everitt as the result of a flyer she circulated at a coaches’ clinic.
“I got a call back from the head coach at South Columbus saying that there was a young lady interested in playing and going to school (at BCC).”
Drayton tried out and Everitt liked what she saw.
“She is a good hitter,” she said. “She’ll be a good addition.”
Emily Schweer is a 5-foot-8 right-side hitter/setter from Denver High School in Iowa originally recruited for basketball.
“Her junior year she was 10 assists away from breaking the school record for being the all-time assists leader,” Everitt said.
Schweer did not play volleyball her senior year.
“She feels likes she’s a little rusty,” Everitt said, “but she’s coming along. She has a great attitude and works really hard. She move here a week early so that she could start with us.”
Alya Shaw is a 5-foot-5 right-side hitter/setter from South View High School in Fayetteville. Like Schweer, she will also play basketball.
“She does anything that I ask,” Everitt said.
Hannah Sofield is a 5-foot-10 middle hitter. She attended North Myrtle Beach (S.C.) High School and is transferring from Coastal Carolina University. She did not play at CCU. Of all the freshmen, Everitt is most familiar with her.
“I coached her three years ago in my 17-and-under national travel team,” Everitt said. “You will probably see Hannah getting conference honors. She’ll play front row and back row. She serves well, she hits well, she passes well. She is an all-around really good player.”
Stormy Woodle is a 5-foot-10 right-side hitter and middle blocker from Loris (S.C.) High School, the same high school from which Ericca Matthews graduated.
“(Stormy) is one of tallest players on the team and she is super excited to be here,” Everitt said. “Right now, she is still developing and I anticipate she will come a long way for us this season.”
Everitt is relieved to have so many good players heading into the season, especially considering she had so few players with which to build her first team.
“Now I do have a full roster,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d be trying to figure out who to put in. I was trying to figure out if I was putting anybody in.”
Everitt’s team is strong at setter, and to take advantage of that Everitt will run a 6-2 offense, in which two setters will start.
“I’m missing a 6-foot-5 middle hitter,” Everitt joked. “Other than that, we’re pretty good.”
The team has been through two-a-day practices and Everitt already has had one-on-one evaluations with her players. For now, she is unconcerned about the conference competition she will face once the season begins.
“I have blinders on,” she said.
Off the court, Everitt also is planning to have her players be involved in the community. For example, it recently participated in a blood drive.
“We have a good group of girls,” Everitt said.
And Everitt is planning to build a youth volleyball program. In the offseason, she will coach a 17-and-younger team. She also hopes to begin a development volleyball league on weekends at BCC for younger players.