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Hall is National Junior of the Year

By Jed Blackwell/The Spartanburg Sports Report

Reaching Thayer Hall on Saturday morning required a text message instead of a call.

She was busy calling lines at a club volleyball tournament.

That dedication to the game has served Hall well, and paired with her immeasurable talent it has paid off time after time. Hall capped a week in which her Dorman High School team received their state championship rings and a visit by the MaxPreps Tour of Champions with a huge individual honor as she was named the National Junior Player of the Year.

“I don’t really know how to describe it,” Hall said. “All I can say is I’m so thankful God continues to expand the platform he has blessed me with to be a light for all His glory.”

The 6-foot-3 junior outside hitter led the Cavaliers to a 46-2 record and the Class 5A state championship this past season. A two-time Gatorade Volleyball State Player of the Year, Hall recorded 608 kills, 420 digs, 50 service aces and 31 blocks. A member of the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team, she is a two-time state Player of the Year in the 4A and 5A classifications and was named a MaxPreps Underclass All-American. The Cavaliers were a consensus National Top-15 team across three major high school polls last season. In addition, Hall’s club team has won two straight national championships.

The rising senior said the award would drive her to work even harder.

“This just adds fuel to the fire for next season,” she said. “Obviously I hope my senior season will be my best, but above that, I just hope to finish strong. I would love to come back and repeat as much as I can but it won’t come easy. It comes with twice as much work and effort with every rep.”

Hall said the more experience she can gain, the better she’ll be as a player.

“I play volleyball year-round,” she said. “There is never a break but I wouldn’t have it any other way. God blessed me with talents that I wouldn’t trade for anything, but this game takes so much more than just being a good athlete. Not only am I constantly getting reps on the court, whether that’s as outside hitter or libber, but I’m constantly bettering my volleyball IQ off the court just by watching the game. It’s not all about the play, you have to think like a coach and still play like an athlete.”

Hall appreciates her place in the game and in Dorman’s longstanding volleyball history, thanking her coaches for their hand in her success.

“Dorman is by far the best program I could have ever asked to be a part of,” she said. “I cannot thank Coach (Paula) Kirkland, Coach (Lia) Kibler, Coach (Amber) Wiles and Coach (Megan) Steading enough for all they do for the team and for me. They are so selfless in how much time and effort they put into us. It’s the least I can do to give back and honor them in what I do.”

Kirkland said Hall had shown amazing growth over the past three seasons, and she’s looking forward to the future.

“I can’t wait to see what her senior year has in store for her,” Kirkland said. “She’s a remarkable talent that even now is not satisfied. She’ll continue to work at getting even better, and I can’t wait to see that.”

While she knows her distant future includes a commitment to play at the University of Florida, the near future is what’s on Hall’s mind at the moment.

“Next up is the chance to three-peat a national championship with the girls I’ve played with since I was nine,” she said. “I want nothing more than to finish out their senior season at Club with a win. They’re my sisters that I wouldn’t trade for the world and they love the game as much as I do. After that, it’s back to the basics and we’re building up from there on our way to State.”

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