By Owen Gotimer
Viva Loudoun College Editor
(April 16, 2014) – Loudoun County High School junior Hannah Vandegrift has made an early commitment to set for the Temple University volleyball team starting in the 2015-2016 academic year.
“Once I had my mind set on Temple it was definitely a relief that they agreed I would be a good fit for the team,” said the 6-foot Vandegrift. “Now, I can focus on fine-tuning my skills.”
The junior setter committed to Temple following the Loudoun County Raiders wrapping up their undefeated 2013 campaign at 31-0 with a match victory in the VHSL 4A state championship over the Jamestown Eagles on Nov. 25.
Vandegrift should see more playing time at setter during her senior year as the Raiders’ captain and setter Mandy Powers is set to graduate this June. However, she will not put on the blue and gold in the fall to play for former 12-year Loudoun County head coach Jenica Brown.
In January, Brown and her brother and Raiders’ assistant coach Jarod Brown resigned to spend more time with their families.
The Brown siblings worked together to lead the Loudoun County volleyball program to state championships in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. Like her coaches, Vandegrift got interested in volleyball thanks to her family.
“My older sister played volleyball so I was always around the court,” Vandegrift said. “It seemed natural to start playing.”
While her sister initially motivated her, Vandegrift noted her current motivation lies in her mentor who used to coach volleyball for the Georgetown Hoyas.
“My mentor, coach Ben Glon, has spent countless hours working with me on both my mental and physical game,” Vandegrift said. “Coach Ben is definitely a huge part of my support system.”
Another support system comes in the form of the coaching staff at Temple including head coach Bakeer Ganes. In 2013, Ganes led the Division I Owls to a 18-12 record including a 9-9 finish in the American Athletic Conference.
The Owls also took home the title at a local tournament as they went 3-0 at the Patriot Invitational at George Mason University in Fairfax in early September.
“My current club coach, coach Silvia Johnson, has an excellent reputation for preparing her players for college,” said Vandegrift who plays club volleyball for Metro American. “With more of her training, I hope to go in and make an impact right away.”
Born in Silver Spring, Maryland, Vandegrift said her journey to the school located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a trip back to the city lights after spending her life in small-town Leesburg.
“My high school is really small and not very diverse, I wanted a change. I wanted to go to a school that had more than 20-thousand students in a urban setting, that offers good academics,” Vandegrift said. “Once I narrowed that down Temple was the obvious choice. The bonus is that the coaching staff is incredible and I can see myself fitting right in with the team.”
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and is currently a sophomore at Syracuse University. Follow Owen on Twitter (@BigO_Gotimer) for up-to-date college signings and news. Contact us if you want Owen to do an article on the college commitment of your favorite local athlete or a story on a Loudoun County graduate playing in college!