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PIKEVILLE — Piedmont International University head coach Chelsea Jones perhaps best described standout setter Hannah Carter’s decision to continue her career at Piedmont following three varsity seasons at Charles B. Aycock High.
“Everything (CBA head coach Tangela Faulkner) is losing, I am gaining,” Jones expressed during Friday afternoon’s signing ceremony in CBA’s gymnasium. During a lengthy photo session, Carter, now a member of the Lady Golden Falcons undefeated softball team, signed with the Winston-Salem based school — a Division I member of the National Christian College Athletic Association. Jones reported Carter, the daughter of Ron and Kristy Carter, is receiving an athletic scholarship.
Carter, the Lady Falcons’ record-setting setter, chose the Bruins over Bluefield State (Virginia), Louisburg, Peace, North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T.
“The coach reached out to me,” Carter explained in the midst of coaches, teammates, friends and family members. “I liked the location, the atmosphere and the fact it was similar to CBA. I liked the coaches and players and connected with all of them.”
Piedmont will be initiating a women’s volleyball program after recently merging with John Wesley University. Jones previously served as the head coach at John Wesley and as an assistant coach at Salem College. Jones noted she has received five commitments and Carter is the second recruit she has signed this week. She hopes to bring in seven players.
In Carter, the Bruins add a 5-foot-7 player who started three seasons for CBA and was proclaimed all (3-A/4-A)-Eastern Carolina Conference her junior and senior seasons. She owns school records for most assists (46) in one match and most assists (608) in a season. Carter statistically ranked as the conference’s No. 1 setter her senior year. With Carter in the lineup, CBA advanced into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs all three years, reaching the third round in 2016 and the second round this past season.
“I have been coaching her since she was 13,” commented Faulkner, Carter’s high school and travel coach. “I have seen so much growth. She will not let that second ball hit the floor. She has done some big things here.
“Hannah brings tenacity, leadership and drive. I know she’s going to do big things there; I am excited to see her get to the next level, but I know what I am losing.”
Jones mentions leadership (vocal and leading by example) as Carter’s greatest strength.
“She brings energy, work ethic and the desire to do her best not only for herself but for the team. That’s extremely important for the team concept, Jones said. “As far as her playing, I don’t foresee any wait time.”
The possessor of a 4.1 GPA, Carter plans to pursue a degree in business management and ethics.
As a youngster, her dream was to play softball collegiately.
“But when I started playing volleyball in middle school, I knew it was the sport for me — and I pursued that,” she remarked. “I think I have progressed a lot and worked hard to get where I am. I like being the setter because I can control the offense and it allows me to connect with everyone on the team.”
Carter hints the level of commitment will be her biggest challenge at the next level.
“There’s a lot of weight,” she said. “People will be expecting you to do good. You have to prove you can do it. I want to start.”
Carter, the grandaughter of a minister and with the church prominent in her life, assures she welcomes the Christian environment, adding: “That was really what I was looking for. Without God, I wouldn’t have any of what I have today.”
Carter’s parents are understandably proud, but she admits: “The only problem is that (Piedmont International) is 2 1/2 hours away.”