Holly Hill’s Weaver signs with USC-Salkehatchie volleyball
HOLLY HILL – Rainey Weaver was a major part of the Holly Hill Academy volleyball team’s success in recent years.
Lady Raiders head coaches changed, but her play only improved and drew more notice from opposing teams and college coaches. As of Monday, with Weaver signing a college volleyball scholarship with the University of South Carolina-Salkehatchie, she is looking forward to being a major part of a building process for the volleyball program at the Walterboro campus.
Weaver – daughter of Dennis and Beth Weaver – is part of the inaugural class of volleyball players signed to scholarships by new USC-Salkehatchie coach Amanda Jones. “My top two offers that I considered in the end were from Limestone and USC-Salk,” Weaver said. “I’m really excited and nervous for my future. “I really like the way Coach Jones handles practice and I like the small-campus environment.” With plans to major in early childhood education, Weaver hopes to garner volleyball offers from four-year college programs by the time her two seasons are up at USC-Salkehatchie. “A lot of the schools that I am looking at (for a four-year degree) have really good childhood education programs and great volleyball programs,” Weaver said. “So, I’m excited to see what my future holds.”
Weaver battled through a bout with mononucleosis during her senior season for the Lady Raiders, but still finished with 115 kills, 38 blocks and 37 service aces on the season. She helped HHA and first-year head coach Sheryle Young finish with a 12-2 region record and a 24-7 overall record, including playing in SCISA state tournament action. As a senior team captain, Weaver helped keep the Lady Raiders team together and focused, as they played under their third head coach in three seasons. “Coach Sheryle helped me so much this season, and she made me realize that I can go places in my volleyball career,” Weaver said.
Weaver also was named to the SCISA Region 3-A North-South All-Star Volleyball game and was selected to the SCISA All-State Volleyball Team. “Rainey has worked so hard to get to this day and we are so proud of her; offensively, she is a strong outside hitter, and defensively she is an excellent blocker,” Coach Young said. “Not having Rainey for some of the (2015) season really hurt us, because of her skill on the court and her leadership on the team. “When she is on the court, the other team is so focused on blocking her and that gives some of our other hitters some opportunities they wouldn’t normally have to score points. Rainey has a knowledge and love of the game that, with her work ethic, will make her a huge asset to Coach Jones and the Lady Indians volleyball program.“
Weaver has also played volleyball once the school season was complete in recent years, competing for Branchville-Colleton Juniors club volleyball and C4 club volleyball. Now, she sees college volleyball on her horizon.
In January, USC-S announced that Jones had been hired as the new women’s head volleyball coach for the 2016 season, according to USC-S athletic director Jane Brewer. The USC-A volleyball program, which competed a few years ago (2006 and 2007), will be returning to Salk this August and will compete in Region X of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
“The rise in interest in volleyball has prompted USC-Salkehatchie to bring volleyball back; and we are pretty excited about it,” Coach Jones said. “We are still looking to sign a couple more girls in this signing class; but we are excited about Rainey, since she has been in contact with us since January.
“I’m hoping to have about 12 to 15 girls on the team. We will sign some more and have another open gym tryout to give enrolled girls who may want to play on the team the opportunity to join us. It’s a process, building a program, where you get super excited and then super discouraged. You want to build fast and build well, but I think the first year or two will be challenging.”
The Lady Indians will see action against colleges from across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, including Catawba Valley, Cape Fear, Brunswick, USC Lancaster, Wake Tech and Louisburg College.
CHRIS CLARK T&D Sports Editor