Miller signs with Tennessee Wesleyan College, leaves hole for Heritage
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (email@example.com)
It kind of set in for Heritage coach Lisa Collins Wednesday afternoon as the volleyball skipper watched Katie Miller sign her papers to play volleyball at Tennessee Wesleyan next season. Next season is months away still, but for the first time in a long time, there’s a last name she won’t see on her roster.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do without a Miller being around, it seems like I’ve had one forever,” Collins told The Daily Times as she took a second look at her beaming senior and her Bulldog blue sport jacket.
Katie Miller came on to the Heritage varsity as a freshman and had one season where she played with older sister Morgan Miller, who was in her senior season as a Lady Mountaineer.
“That was a great season,” Eric Miller, the two girls’ father, said, and not just because it meant both girls were on the same practice and game schedule. “It was great to watch both of them out there and getting to play together.”
In fact, the younger Miller says it was her older sister’s love of the game that led her to pick it up in the first place.
“I started playing in sixth grade. My sister played before me and that was pretty much why I tried out in middle school,” Katie Miller said.
Four years later, Katie has rewritten the Heritage record books. With 1,236 sets this year she took the season mark and her marks for serving aces, 245, and sets, 3,132, were new career records for the Lady Mountaineer program. It didn’t take long for Wesleyan to express an interest in adding the Heritage senior to this year’s recruiting class.
“We went down and had a visit of the campus and he let me know that I had a spot on the team if I wanted it. I liked the size and how homey it felt,” Katie Miller said.
Wesleyan coach Toby Brooks saw almost all he needed on film and after meeting Miller, knew he had another component to his plan.
“We’ve gotten a lot of great players from here in the past. We didn’t get a chance to get up and see them play this year but once we spoke with her, we knew she would be a great fit,” said Brooks, who also signed WB’s Kendra Swafford last week to the NAIA program in Cleveland. “We had a very young team this year so we weren’t looking for a lot but were looking for some final pieces to the puzzle. We’re hoping she can come in and really help us out.”
Making the jump to the college game was a tough decision but it’s one the Millers’ coach has had experience with over the seasons.
“It really is a personal choice, they have to decide do I move off? Do I want to be near home? Do I want to continue playing in college, where speed wise its a totally different game? Do I invest that time or do I want to do something else in college? That’s what they’re weighing,” Collins said.
“She has set herself up very well with both academics and volleyball.”