A change of heart by North Surry senior Maggie Hawks last month means that the volleyball team at Salem College will have a decidedly local flavor come fall.
Hawks, whose varsity basketball and volleyball teams went a perfect 7-for-7 on conference championships during her outstanding career as a Lady Greyhound student-athlete, had originally planned on continuing her career at Lenoir-Rhyne University, where her twin brother Mason recently signed to play college basketball.
However, Maggie changed her mind, and on Wednesday afternoon, signed a letter of intent to play for the Spirits.
“I really felt like that Salem was where my heart was at, and I really liked the coach there,” she said. “I considered Lenoir-Rhyne, where my brother is going, and then I changed my mind back in March. It’s going to be a change, not having Mason around, but I think I’ll be able to do it, and go our separate ways.”
In choosing Salem, the three-time All-Western Piedmont Athletic Conference libero gives a big shot in the arm to a program that was already on solid footing, having posted a 13-18 record in its first season in the USA South Conference last fall, with just one senior on the roster. Spirits head coach Kevin Troup, who is also active in the local travel ball scene, is working hard to increase the talent level on the team. To that end, he recently landed another player that local fans are familiar with. Surry Central’s Grayce Goins signed with Salem earlier this month.
“We don’t really know each other, but we’ve played against each other forever, in high school and on different teams in club ball,” said Hawks of her longtime rival from the other side of the county. “It will be good having her as a teammate, though.”
Hawks, who achieved the rare feat of making 1,000 digs during her high school career, said that she’s already been told that she will be the starting libero for the Spirits when they begin their season in the fall. When she joins the team, she will have two other former conference rivals besides Goins as teammates. South Stokes’ Taylor Moulton and West Stokes’ Hannah Delcamp will both be starting their sophomore seasons for Salem.
Hawks is excited to begin her college career, but said she will miss her teammates at North Surry, who enjoyed a remarkable run of success while she was there, culminating in a trip to the NCHSAA 2A state championship game in basketball last month. North Surry’s double-barreled assault on the boys’ and girls’ titles drew considerable media attention to the fact that Maggie and Mason were each leading their teams on a run all the way to the finals.
In the championship game at Reynolds Coliseum, the Lady Hounds couldn’t find an answer for Clinton star Mikayla Boykin, a Duke University recruit who either scored or assisted on more than half her team’s points in a 59-49 victory. Still, it was a remarkable season for the Lady Hounds. Their 26-6 record included a win and two losses against 1A state champion Mount Airy, the loss to 2A state champion Clinton, a three-point setback to 4A champ Northwest Guilford, and two narrow road losses to two other 4A teams that won 24 games each. Hawks earned All-Conference honors on what is arguably the best North Surry girls’ basketball team ever.
“We were so close,” she said. “It stunk to lose, especially since she’s going to Duke.”
Not bad for someone whose first love has always been the sport of volleyball. During her senior season, she missed the first few weeks due to recovering from shoulder surgery, but returned in time to lead the team with 440 digs, help North win the WPAC title, and advance to the state quarterfinals, where the Lady Hounds lost a close match on the road at unbeaten Wheatmore.
Even so, it was a memorable fall for Hawks, who not only reached 1,000 career digs, but also was chosen as the Homecoming Queen.
“That surprised me,” she said of being chosen as queen, but said that the highlight of her volleyball career was reaching the milestone in career digs.
She will have time to collect plenty more when Salem begins its season in September.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.