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Hubs senior make volleyball mark halfway across the world

July 13, 2000

Hubs senior make volleyball mark halfway across the world



By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent


Nicole Morgan didn't have to fly nearly halfway around the world to find out she was among the best volleyball players in this area.

But her 10-day trip to Hawaii last week went a long way toward establishing her as one of the better players in the country.

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Morgan was in elite company as one of just 230 high school volleyball players in the nation to participate in the TourneySport USA Hawaii Classic, an invitation-only volleyball tournament staged for the first time last week. But she proved she belonged by being one of just 18 named to the all-tournament team.

"I was surprised," said Morgan. "I was happy about (being named), but I was surprised. I couldn't stop smiling. I really had no idea."

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The North Hagerstown senior was nominated for an invitation by her coach, Jamie Pryor, whose primary interest was to help her secure a scholarship to play at the collegiate level.

"She said she wants to go on to college," said Pryor. "So mainly I was hoping to get her some exposure to college coaches to get a scholarship. But I also wanted to give her some exposure to kids from other parts of the country, to give her a feel for what she'll see in college."

Once the invitation was secured, the work began for Morgan. She had to raise over $2,700 to cover airfare, lodging and meals. She was skeptical at first that she could secure that much money.

"With my parents help, I sent a lot of letters to companies in the Hagerstown area explaining the trip and what I needed," said Morgan. "A lot of my friends and relatives helped, too. It took about four months, but after the first month I was pretty confident I could do it."

While volleyball was certainly the focus of the trip with "three or four games a day for five days,'' she didn't spend 24 hours a day in the gym.

"I got to see Pearl Harbor and most of the beaches, and the Diamondhead crater," she said. "I met a lot of nice people, found out where they were from and played volleyball with them. It was very educational."

Obviously, her education wasn't limited to off-court activities. With all 50 states represented, Morgan had an opportunity to play with and against some girls - especially those on the West Coast, Pryor said - who have been playing since they were five years old or so.

"Some of the girls there were really good," said Morgan, who added that she didn't feel at all outclassed by the competition. "Some of them were more experienced than me, so I learned some new things that I can use."

While Morgan reaped immediate rewards from the tournament, Pryor expects her trip to pay dividends not just for the Hubs' program, but ultimately, for all the programs in the area.

"Nicole's a real good part of our program," said Pryor. "She's often a coach (on the floor), and she gives everything her all. I think (her experience in the tournament) will give some of the others something to shoot for. Not just for our team, but for all the players in the area."

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