Volleyball Signing: Carson’s Hannah Elmore
CHINA GROVE — Carson volleyball coach Kelan Rogers has a split personality.
During the season, he’s the tough taskmaster, difficult to satisfy, and he’s as mute as that Cougar sculpture at the front of the school if you try to get him to praise an individual.
Once a season’s over, however, it’s always clear how much Rogers thinks of his players, especially the seniors who have poured their hearts into practices and games for many years.
Ask Rogers about Brevard signee Hannah Elmore during the season and it’s no-comment. Ask him about her now that her time in orange and blue is over, and the tough guy almost gets misty-eyed.
“Hannah was fabulous,” he said. “She played good volleyball for us, and there were days she played great volleyball for us. She’s been a big part of all the success we’ve had here — something like 115 wins in the last four years.”
It’s certainly possible that Carson’s 34-1 mark this season, its second straight 3A runner-up finish, will last forever as the best season any Rowan volleyball team ever has. For a public school in China Grove to have phenoms such as Elmore, Madison Weast and Charlotte signee Michaela White in the same class ... well, the odds are long. It may never happen again.
There’s been no doubt for a while that Elmore would be a college player if that’s what she wanted to do, and it’s what she wanted to do.
“I come from a basketball and soccer household, but we moved here from Raleigh and I just got interested in volleyball,” Elmore said. “I think it’s just because it was such a different sport than anything I’d ever tried. I was about 10, a fifth-grader, when Trish Hester (who started Carson’s volleyball program) got me into Junior Olympic volleyball.”
When Elmore talks about being from a basketball background she’s not kidding.
Her father, Gary, was an assistant hoops coach at Campbell in 1992 when the Camels won the Big South Conference and danced in March Madness. Their first-round opponent was a Duke team headed for the national championship — Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley and Christian Laettner. It didn’t go all that well for the Camels against Duke, but that’s a priceless family memory.
Elmore probably could’ve been a good basketball player. She’s 6 feet tall, she’s strong and she can get off the floor. But volleyball grabbed her heart early and has never let go.
“It’s just a fun game, and I really enjoyed working at it and trying to get better at it,” she said.
Elmore obviously has some talent, but at the end of the day, her work ethic was probably even more important. She’s gotten a little more dominating as a hitter each year.
“Hannah and Michaela White are the most dedicated players I’ve ever known,” Carson senior Laura Vaughn said. “They had a dream of playing in college, and no one gave them those scholarships. They worked for them, they earned them, and they deserve them.”
Elmore will be remembered for her stretch run as a Cougar.
Carson had to fight through three tough matches to become repeat champs of the Western Regional. Elmore had 13 kills against South Iredell in the third round, 23 against Marvin Ridge in the Western semis, and 11 against St. Stephens in the Western final.
She produced quality as well as quantity. She was clutch. She had kills for match point against South Iredell and St. Stephens and she decided a pivotal game against Marvin Ridge with another rocket.
Carson had a nice blend of fiery players and poised players. Elmore was one of the emotional ones.
“She plays with a lot of fire and enthusiasm,” Rogers said. “She’s just a great hitter. She’s a hammer.”
There were several connections that led to Elmore signing with Brevard. Former West Rowan and Catawba player Kelly Burdeau is in her first year as Brevard’s head coach after coaching high school teams at West Iredell, Mount Tabor and South Brunswick.
Burdeau is a friend of current West Rowan coach Jordan Raye, who coached Elmore in Junior Olympics, and one thing led to another.
Brevard has a ways to go to catch up to the good teams in the South Atlantic Conference. The Tornados were 7-20 this season and 3-19 in the SAC, but Elmore should be able to help turn things around.
“Coach Burdeau said she needed a power hitter, and I liked Brevard a lot when I visited,” Elmore said. “When I called Coach to tell her I wanted to commit, she was pretty excited.”
Rogers expects Elmore to do fine in the college game.
“There’s going to be a growth curve for her in college, but she’ll make an impact on Brevard’s program,” Rogers said. “They need that big outside hitter, and Hannah is a terminator.”