Ayers ‘set’ to join Hurricanes|Southside star signs with Louisburg

Published 5:55 pm Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sports Editor

CHOCOWINITY — After setting her mind on playing at the next level, the dream came true for Kristen Ayers. The Southside High School star will play setter for the Louisburg College volleyball team next season.
“Louisburg is a small school and it has about the same number of people as the high school does,” Ayers said. “I think it will be an easy transition. I really liked the environment.”
Ayers has had a spectacular high school career, excelling in volleyball and shining in softball. The senior, whose passion is volleyball, was named to the WDN All-Area First Team after an impressive season.
She collected 229 points, 123 assists, 48 kills, 35 digs, 30 service aces and 19 solo blocks. Those stats helped land Ayers on the All-Four Rivers Conference team.
Ayers, voted Southside’s Female Athlete of the Year, helped lead the Seahawks to a 15-8 overall record. While she had several outstanding games individually, Ayers said her favorite memory centered around a solid team performance.
“The highlight was beating Williamston in three games for the conference championship,” she said.
While she played multiple positions for coach Elizabeth Pruden’s Seahawks, Ayers will be a setter for the Hurricanes.
“I need to work on my agility and my setting because I’ve only been setting for about a year,” Ayers said. “I’ll be working on my speed and skills for setting.”
Pruden is thrilled to see Ayers make it to the next level.
“I very proud to have coached Kristen,” Pruden said. “She was a huge part of the team. I wish I could clone her.
“I love her to death and I’m very proud of her.”
Ayers is ready to help make the Hurricanes a team to be reckoned with next year.
“I think they were about average last year,” Ayers said. “I know they got a lot of top recruits and, hopefully, we’ll be a lot better.”
She believe she’ll be able to help the Hurricanes immediately.
“I can pretty much play anywhere on the volleyball court,” Ayers said. “I’m not a big outside hitter because I’m not as tall as everybody else, but I can play outside hitter if you need me to. I’m also a great defensive player.”
Pruden believes Ayers has what it takes to be successful in college.
“She just has to keep her head on her shoulders,” Pruden said. “I think she’ll do great.”
Ayers, who will study physical therapy, is hoping to play at the Division I level following her two-year stint with Louisburg.
“The coach (Holly Mitchell) told me that a good 70 to 75 percent of the athletes go on to play Division I,” Ayers said. “I would really like to go to UNC-Wilmington.”
The athletic Ayers credited her parents, Jasper and Teresa Ayers, for helping her succeed in high school.
“They’ve always told me that if I work hard things will fall in place, and to always keep my grades up,” said Ayers, who is an Honor Roll student. “They’ve taught me to hold my head up high.”
Ayers also thanked Pruden for helping her to sign with the Hurricanes.
“She always told us to step up and do our job,” Ayers said. “She’s encouraged me a lot. She’s actually the one who told me to fill out the application for Louisburg.”
Ayers plans to enjoy her final days at Southside, and hopes her teammates, friends and fans remember her as a good person on and off the court.
“I want them to remember me as a team leader and as someone that you could always talk to if you needed help,” Ayers said. “I hope they remember me as a great friend and athlete.”
Ayers is also anxious to see what the future holds for her.
“I’m not really nervous,” Ayers said. “I know that if I work hard, I’ll be able to compete with them. I’m just really excited.”