DOBSON — Of the more than two dozen local seniors of the Class of 2017 who signed to play college sports, Kaylee Freed was one of the last to sign, doing so with less than six weeks to go before graduation.
She went on to have a very successful freshman season at Pfeiffer University despite great challenges both personally and on the volleyball court. This fall, she’ll continue her college career, but it will be closer to home.
Freed, a 5’9” middle hitter who played for North Surry in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, had entered her senior year of high school as nearly an afterthought on a team working on a long string of conference titles. But she emerged as a standout in her own right that season, finishing second on the team to WPAC Player of the Year Mikaela Johnson in kills. At season’s end, Freed, who said at the time she never expected to have the chance to play in college, was recruited by half of the USA South Conference, namely Ferrum, N.C. Wesleyan, Methodist and Pfeiffer, as well as Surry Community College. She signed with Pfeiffer on April 12, 2017.
During that off-season, Freed had to undergo surgery to clean up a balky knee, and lost her grandfather, described as “her biggest fan,” just days before she departed for Misenheimer to start college. Neither one prevented her from arriving at Pfeiffer for practice and almost immediately grabbing a spot in the team’s regular rotation.
She went on to start 16 matches at middle hitter for a team that turned into what could only be described as a “dumpster fire.” Three matches into the season, the Falcons’ head coach resigned for personal reasons, and Pfeiffer played the 2017 season with an interim head coach, a graduate assistant and a student assistant. They ended up going 4-21, although one highlight came in a four-set upset of a 20-win Salem team late in the season, where Freed had nine kills against a team fielding several of her old high school rivals.
With the school year at Pfeiffer winding down, she decided she would come back to Surry County for her second year of college, and play for one of the other schools that recruited her. On Thursday, Surry Community College announced that Freed would play the upcoming 2018 season for the Knights.
“I am so excited to add her to our roster for the upcoming season. Kaylee is a strong hitter and great blocker at the net,” said SCC head coach Jan Marion-Kiser. Kaylee will be a tremendous help to us offensively with her strong swing.”
As a senior for North Surry, Freed had 81 blocks, and was a strong defender at the net even against taller players, both in her high school days and last year at Pfeiffer.
“She will also be great to have at the net on defense with a strong block,” said Marion-Kiser.
The Knights had an strong season last year, going 20-12, and could do even better this fall even though they lost an NJCAA All-American performer in Anika Thomas. Marion-Kiser expects to have the tallest and most athletic team she’s ever had at Surry, led by returnee Lauren Charleville (North Stokes), an All-Region player in 2017, and joined by Lexia Wingler (Forbush), Bryce Smith (East Surry), and newcomers including Freed, Callie Trivette and Chloe Ford of Starmount, who both signed in March; and former Mount Airy standout Sadie Brooks, who signed last November.
“We have some other kids who are transferring in, too, and Kaylee just kind of fell into my lap,” the coach said. “I am looking forward to the upcoming season and the strength she will add to our lineup.”
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