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Ace up her sleeve
Lady War Eagle junior drawing college interest
South Forsyth volleyball standout Kinsey Williams hammers the ball over the net during a recent practice. Williams, a junior, is drawing heavy interest from college recruiters. - photo by Jared Putnam
South Forsyth's volleyball team has risen to 10th in the state, and junior Kinsey Williams can take a lot of the credit.

With 80 kills, 27 service aces and a .400 hitting percentage in the first two weeks of the season, Williams hasn't just caught the attention of her teammates and opponents.

Plenty of Division I schools have shown their interest in snaring her at the next level, too.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Sept. 1 — the first day colleges and universities can start contacting potential prospects — the e-mails started pouring in.

Auburn. Georgia Tech. Samford. College of Charleston. Wichita State. New Hampshire. Appalachian State. Radford.

"It's amazing," the 16-year-old said of all the attention she's attracted. She says Auburn is her top pick, but she hasn't made a decision yet.

This is Williams' third year starting for the Lady War Eagles. She joined the team as a freshman with no volleyball experience, and immediately found a spot in the starting lineup.

She juggled basketball and volleyball at first, but dropped hoops her sophomore year, feeling that she had the best chance of going far in volleyball.

It looks like a good decision these days.

Kelly Wren, head coach at South, said that watching Williams reminds her of her days as an NCAA Division III All-American at LaGrange College, where she played softball and volleyball.

"I love seeing her go through this process, because I can remember what it felt like to make that decision (on where to go to school)," Wren said. "I know she's going to do a really good job."

Wren said she feels that Williams is talented enough to play beach volleyball or head to Europe after college.

The coach says Williams looks unstoppable at times, delivering quick hits, quality passes and guiding her teammates. In some games, she's recorded a .700 hitting percentage.

"I've looked at her as a leader since I walked in," said Wren, a first-year coach at South.

She said that Williams, along with seniors Katie Onushko and Jordan Viduna, provide the heart of the Lady War Eagle team, which had a 12-5 record coming into this week and is seeking a third consecutive strip to the state playoffs.

"The three of them together really hold our team together," the coach said.

Wren said that Williams is a trail-blazer for both the program and the school, as a future D-I athlete.

Only Grace Hoyt, a South graduate now attending Mississippi State with an athletic scholarship, has previously jumped from South to D-I volleyball, Wren said.

"It's a new attention-getter, I think," Wren said of the program. "South is really rising with volleyball right now."

More aggressive recruiting of younger athletes by southern schools looking to compete with teams on the West Coast, where the sport is well-established at the college level, probably contributes to the attention, she thinks.

Wherever Williams ends up — she has a second visit to Auburn scheduled soon — her passion for a sport she only discovered a few short years ago is likely to follow.

"It's just a thrill out there. ... I just love the competition, and it's just fun. I have fun while I'm playing it. It's not just to play, it's something I like to do," she said.