FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University women’s volleyball coach Paul MacDonald has announced the signing of three high school seniors – 5-10 outside hitter Elizabeth Drewry of Richmond, Va., 5-9 setter Katheryn O’Connors of Virginia Beach, Va., and 6-2 middle blocker Casey Whitehead of North Kingstown, R.I. – to enroll at FMU and join the Patriot program this fall.
Drewry is a product of Mills E. Godwin High School, where she played for coach Jason Garrett.
This past season, she compiled more than 320 kills and almost 300 digs while helping the Eagles to a 14-12 record, the Central Region championship, and a spot in the state tournament quarterfinals.
She earned second-team VHSCA AAA All-State recognition and first-team All-District and All-Region honors. She was a first-team All-District pick and a second-team All-Region choice as a junior in 2007.
She also played for the U-Turn Volleyball Academy and the Richmond Volleyball Club.
O’Connors comes from Kempsville High School where she played for coach Rob Hale.
She was named the Chiefs’ Offensive Most Valuable Player and garnered second-team All-Beach District honors.
She also played for the Coastal Virginia Volleyball Club.
Whitehead is a product of North Kingstown High School where she played for coach Brian Garrepy. She comes from the same high school that produced former Patriot player Beth Sturgeon (1994-95).
As a senior, Whitehead amassed 228 kills, a .370 hitting percentage, 54 solo blocks, and 51 service aces, while gaining first team All-State and All-Divisions honors.
She was a second-team All-State and first-team All-Divisions selection in 2007. As a sophomore, she helped lead the Skippers to an undefeated Division I state championship season.
She has also played for the SMASH Volleyball Club.
“Liz (Drewry) brings a high volleyball IQ and a very steady offensive presence to our program,” MacDonald said. “She has excellent court awareness on the attack, and her block height and positioning are very steady. She also possesses a jump serve that will cause problems for the opposing team’s passers.
“We were looking for a setter with great court movement who could bring out the best in our offense, and Katie (O’Connors) definitely brings these abilities to the court. She is a great decision maker who has a knack for making her hitters better. Her jump setting abilities will cause problems for the opponent’s blocking schemes.
“Casey really brings the total package as a middle blocker. She already grasps all of the individual blocking concepts of a high-level college player. As she works to put to use the physical power she brings on offense, she will definitely thrive as an attacker in our program.
“I am extremely excited about the abilities that all three of our signees bring to the 2009 Patriot volleyball program. Each of these athletes will have a chance to compete with the returning players for a spot on the court for the 2009 season. Their roles ultimately will be determined by their efforts in our gym as they learn new offensive and defensive systems, and as they learn to execute skills and techniques at the college level.”
Francis Marion lost two seniors from last year’s 23-9 squad that posted second-place finishes during the Peach Belt Conference regular-season and tournament, and earned the program’s third-ever NCAA Division II National Tournament invitation.