CENTRE – It’s been a big week so far for Madeline Ware.
On Thursday, she’ll be part of Cherokee County High School’s graduating class of 2021. On Wednesday afternoon, she made her college plans official by signing a volleyball scholarship with Shorter University.
“I can’t be any more excited than what I am right now. I’m still jittery from it (the signing),” she said.
Ware has every right to be jittery. The senior middle blocker just fulfilled a dream she’s had since her freshman year.
“I can remember being her age and being that excited when signing day finally came and your dreams are coming true,” Lady Warrior coach Tiffany Rieger said. “You know how hard you’ve worked for it, all the hours and the sweat you put in the gym that most people don’t even know about. I know how important this is to her. It makes me want to tear up, I’m so excited for her.”
Rieger said Ware’s extra work has showed on the court in the two years she’s been her head coach. This past season, Ware posted 63 kills and 21 blocks from her position.
“I feel like I’ve watched her go from kind of timid and shy to developing more self confidence,” Rieger said. “A lot of that comes from her growing passion for the game, just having more exposure and more experience.
“She’s got really good blocking footwork and really good hands. I’ve seen those develop and come through. I’ve seen her work hard on her serve and her passing. Her senior year, her passing got a lot better. I’m excited to see what happens when they start working with her on different skills.”
Ware said she took an official visit to Shorter about a month ago, where she met head coach Naomi Posada Sullivan and assistant coach Jordan Leitch. They showed Ware the ropes of how they do things and what they expected of her.
“I loved what I saw,” Ware said. “They said I would mainly be moved in the front row, outside or middle. If I grow some more, it would probably be middle, but mainly outside or right side is what my position will be.”
Ware thanked the coaches she’s had throughout her high school career, including Rieger and former Lady Warrior head coach Dax McDonald and assistants Dusty Cothran. She also thanked her parents and teammates for “pushing me to be the best player I can be.”
“They’ve supported me in every way,” she said. “It’s bittersweet knowing I won’t be playing on my home court that I’ve known the past four years, but I’m also anxious and excited for what’s to come.”
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