Advertisement

Volleyball event works to keep Kelly's memory

July 25, 2013|By DANIEL KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com
  • Sam Kelly
Sam Kelly

HAGERSTOWN — Samantha Kelly left a lasting impression on Karah Knight and Brynne Kirsch — whether as a volleyball teammate, an opponent or simply as a friend.

Now, Knight and Kirsch have come together to organize Sunday’s “Spikes for Sam” co-ed volleyball event in honor of Kelly and in support of her memorial fund.

“We have more than 20 teams. We are ridiculously excited. All of our hard work is paying off,” said Kirsch, a 2012 graduate of North Hagerstown High School. “I just picked up the T-shirts and they look perfect. We’re thinking it’s going to be a great turnout.”

“There are teams still calling us. It’s kind of crazy right now, but we’re very excited,” said Knight, a 2012 graduate of Smithsburg High School. “We didn’t think we’d have this many teams, but it turned out real well.”

Kelly was a standout outside hitter for the Williamsport High School volleyball team, earning Herald-Mail All-County First Team honors as a junior and a senior. She was killed along with classmate Brendon Colliflower in an auto accident following Williamsport’s Prom in May 2012.

The Samantha Kelly Memorial Fund was created in her honor. Her family currently plans to use the money raised by the fund for a scholarship program and Samantha’s Memorial Athletic Center, a proposed multi-purpose complex where, among other things, youth volleyball, basketball and soccer can be played.

The “Spikes for Sam” event will be held at Williamsport High School beginning at 10 a.m., and will run through the afternoon. In addition to plenty of volleyball, planned events include a cookout, corn hole games, raffles and trivia about Kelly.

Kirsch played club volleyball with Kelly on the Potomac Elite team, based in West Virginia, during both players’ junior and senior years of high school. She earned All-County First Team honors as a setter for North Hagerstown as a senior.

“I met Sam at volleyball camps in Washington County ... and we got very close through (club volleyball),” Kirsch said. “The coach wanted to make sure we bonded, so that’s how we grew close. We were the only Washington County girls to play on that team, so Sam and I would work out together.”

Kirsch recalls fondly the North Hagerstown/Williamsport match during both players’ senior season, when Kelly sparked the Wildcats past the Hubs in a five-set thriller after taking a spike off her face.

“Sam beat us. She was the one who ran that team, and she deserved it,” Kirsch said. “Any other volleyball player would have gotten angry and shut down, would have been embarrassed, but it put so much energy into her. I feel every athlete should be like that.”

Knight, who earned All-County Second Team honors as a defensive specialist for Smithsburg as a senior, played on two club teams with Kelly during their early teenage years.

“I met Sam on the Synergy team at 13, and ever since then, we’ve been friends,” Knight said. When playing with her, she’s a big part of your team, but playing against her was pretty scary, she was so good. But on and off the court, she was really sweet.

“I always think of her laugh. She was always laughing. When we were in Pittsburgh together on a club team trip, we were together the whole time and that was a lot of fun.”

A few months ago, Knight and Kirsch both participated in a volleyball/dodgeball event in support of the Mitchell Akers Leopard Spirit Memorial Scholarship Fund. That’s where the seeds for Sunday’s “Spikes for Sam” event were planted.

“Brynne came to me and said, ‘We should do something like this for Sam,’ and I thought we could definitely pull it off,” Knight said. “We wrote ideas down and talked to Sam’s family about it. At first it didn’t work out, but later on, it did.”

“This was our thing where we said (to Kelly’s family), ‘Let us do this for you,’ and they’ve enjoyed it, and that makes us feel very good,” Kirsch said.

Advertisement
The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|