Kelley signs with Alice Lloyd

Published 3:22 pm Thursday, February 14, 2019

Pineville senior Lillie Kelley has signed to play volleyball with Alice Lloyd, joining her high school teammate Katrina Collett as the second player signed to the school this year. In only the third year of the volleyball program, Collett and Kelley are the first two signees to play in college.

Kelley will enjoy the familiarity of playing with her high school teammate.

“It’s really awesome that Katrina will already be there too,” said Kelley. “I’m not just going to be ‘thrown in the fire.’ It’s going to make the whole process a lot easier.”

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Kelley says that playing volleyball in college is a dream come true.

“I never thought I’d be able to play college volleyball,” said Kelley. “Someone my height doesn’t typically do well in volleyball. They usually want someone who is a lot taller than I am. Being from such a small school like Pineville, I wasn’t really sure if I’d ever get the chance. When I visited Alice Lloyd and they offered, I took it immediately.”

Kelley’s role on the court isn’t limited to a singular position.

“I’m a defensive specialist, but I play a lot of outside hitter too. With such a small team, we all kind of fill in the gaps where we are needed and just do what needs to be done.”

Kelley fondly recalls getting an experience to go to Disney World with the team.

“It was an amazing experience. We got to practice on sand and it was just an overall amazing experience for all of us.”

Kelley’s coach Samantha North is excited for both signees to make their mark.

“These are the first signees that we’ve had,” said North. “We are only in our third year of the program, so it’s pretty remarkable. One of your main goals as a coach is to see your players go on to the next level, and we have had two now. It’s pretty awesome.”

North believes that the two signees inspire the rest of the team.

“I feel like it gives them an extra fire,” said North. “It shows that if they work hard and put in the time and effort, that they can achieve the same level of success that Kat (Collett) and Lillie (Kelley) have obtained. It goes to show what putting in extra work and taking that extra step to be better can do.”

Kelley says that the trust between herself and Collett have allowed them both to excel.

“If there was ever a point in time that I couldn’t get to a certain spot or position on the floor, I always knew that Kat would be there,” said Kelley. “I’ve never wondered if she was hustling as much as I was or working as hard as I was, because I knew she was. I just have so much trust in her on the court, that I don’t worry about anything when she is out there with me.”

Kelley says her family was very surprised, but extremely supportive.

“My family was kind of mind-blown when I got the offer,” said Kelley. “As soon as I started playing volleyball, I knew I wanted to play at the next level. They weren’t sure that someone as short as me would be able to play at the next level but told me I could do anything I set my mind to. They were extremely surprised when I got the offer, and they have been extremely supportive and excited.”