Kennedy ends volleyball career on top, eyes Ball State
Now that her final season of volleyball at LPHS has ended, Aniya Kennedy finds herself preparing for her future collegiate career playing as a Cardinal for Ball State University’s volleyball program.
Kennedy first became aware of volleyball in middle school. It sparked an interest, so she decided to go out for the team in sixth grade. After playing her seventh grade year, she chose to participate in Dunes Volleyball, a club team that takes place during the off season of school ball. This furthered her passion for the sport, leading her to take a more serious approach into her career.
“Dunes helped me figure out my skill set, how good of a player I was, and how to deal with new people within different environments,” Kennedy said.
Her volleyball skills were strengthened when she decided to play for a club level team at Dunes, starting out in the 13’s division. During her first year there, she made the highest ranked team for her age group. She continued throughout her years at Dunes to be one of the highest ranking athletes on her team, always playing her best, with the best.
Dunes enabled her to not only fulfill her abilities but expand her talents, allowing her to showcase her skills in a way that gave her serious visibility to college scouts. Throughout her high school career, she made varsity all four years. This helped her push her limits, enabling her to become one of the best players in the state, to her being invited to the Under Armor’s All American Volleyball Camp, and to be named to the DAC All Conference Team.
The one setback she struggled with the most was the rather consistent ankle injury. Ankle sprains chronically plague volleyball players. In a sport with constant motion, it is usually the abrupt stop that can be devastating on the ankles, making them weak and therefore subject to sprains (sprains can last one-two weeks usually at a minimum). Physical therapy for healing to regain full motion and strength can be draining and painful. As with any sport, there will always be things to overcome, whether it be mentally or physically. The ankle injuries played into her mental game, making her hesitant about what she was capable of doing when she was fresh off an injury.
What seemed to be a curse, in turn became an opportunity to look over offers for scholarships from many different schools and to choose the one in which she ultimately felt was the best fit.
Her family has been supportive during her time of decision making and have been a motivating factor throughout her entire volleyball career thus far. They are excited to see it through with her as she heads to Ball State before school begins there in the fall.
“My family has been a big help, supplying me with the things I need to better my abilities to help me in my future,” Kennedy said.
Her plans for the future are to take all of her past experiences and skills and apply it to her career at Ball State University. She chose Ball State because it is closest to home and seemed the right fit for her. There, she plans on studying exercise science.
“I’m still close to home but far away enough to be independent, and it seems like there is a good family environment there,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy’s interaction with her fellow players over the years have been very positive, being a leader for others in her position. Her coach saw her as the go to person for anyone who needed help or guidance.
“She was always a good teammate. She always strived to help others with things such as drills or with their form, and was overall a great leader,” Bella Meier, sophomore volleyball player, said.
As her high school days come to an end, she prepares herself for her new experiences in college. La Porte will miss her dearly, but is thankful for what they have gained from her presence.