Alleigh Johnson, a senior pin hitter (a player whose front row position is closer to the antenna, or pin) at South Central High School, signed her national letter of intent on Saturday to play volleyball for Queens University in Charlotte beginning this fall.
Johnson totaled 270 kills, 264 digs, 184 assists and 59 service aces for the Falcons last season.
Johnson talked about her decision in this week’s edition of the Prep Spotlight.
Q: Where does Queens University have you projected to play in college?
A: 6 rotation pin hitter (pin hitters are the players whose front row position is closer to the antenna. They sometimes hit balls near the pin as part of side attacks but are still considered middle players).
Q: What positions did you play while at South Central?
A: As a freshman, I was a setter/pin hitter, and my sophomore, junior and senior seasons I was a pin hitter and setter.
Q: Tell me about your decision. Who else was interested in you?
A: Although I had interest from other schools, Coach (Hannah) Long with Queens was the first to show interest, and I built a relationship with her during this process.
Q: What factors led you to choose Queens over others?
A: COVID restrictions added to the stress of the recruiting process, but Coach Long was extremely helpful and understanding during these times. This, in addition to the family-like atmosphere at Queens and the opportunity to get a great education and play the sport I love made the decision easier.
Q: What do want to major in academically?
A: Sports management of sports marketing.
Q: Tell me about your sport. At what age did you start playing?
A: During my early years, volleyball was not my thing. I played a lot of softball. But during middle school, I began to take volleyball more seriously.
Q: Did you play travel ball? If so, how did that help you with high school volleyball?
A: I played travel softball with the Carolina Cardinals organization and volleyball with East Carolina Junior Volleyball Club. Both clubs helped me grow physically and prepare me for challenges on and off the field and court. The work that it requires to be successful was learned with countless practices and travel tournaments.
Q: What have been your favorite memories, both individually and as a team?
A: My favorite individual memory was coming off the bench as a sophomore and getting three straight kills against New Bern in the playoffs. My favorite team memory was in my junior year when we beat D.H. Conley three times. My favorite ECJVC memory was earning a bid to nationals and finishing fifth overall.
Q: Who would you like to thank?
A: First, my parents, Junior and Danielle Johnson. They made all this possible. Countless practices, travel and memories. I have had great coaches who have helped me along the way – Wendy DeHart (A.G. Cox), Kayla Ruffin (South Central and ECJVC), Rebeca Jernigan (South Central and ECJVC), Kelley Krainiak (ECJVC) and T.J. Smothers (Carolina Cardinals softball). I have also had great teammates that have driven me to get better every day.
Q: Did you ever think you could play your sport in college?
A: Not at first, but as I got older and better, I believed I could compete at that level.
Q: How important is academics when playing sports?
A: My parents stressed the importance of academics. My mom is a school teacher, so academics were a big deal in our house. My dad stressed that I was STUDENT-athlete. Without the academics, the sport I have fallen in love with would not be possible.