South’s Morrow signs with Lenoir-Rhyne

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 17, 2009

By Mike London
LANDIS ó South Rowan’s Kayla Morrow signed recently with Lenoir-Rhyne after verbally committing to the Bears early in the fall.
The 5-foot-11 Morrow will be a welcome addition for a program that was 19-15 this season, even though it finished seventh in the highly competitive, nine-team SAC.
L-R coach Dave Markland believes Morrow can make a difference for a team that came out on the short end in numerous five-set matches.
“If you can get into in the top half of the SAC, then you’re one of the best teams in the Southeast Region,” Markland said. “Our league has sent five teams to an eight-team regional the past two seasons. We took a lot of very strong teams to the wire this year, but we just didn’t make enough breaks for ourselves.”
Morrow, recently named co-player of the year in Rowan County along with Carson setter Taylor Whitley, was at the top of the priority list for the Bears. She is their only early signee.
Markland, who coached at Appalachian State and Davie before taking the L-R job in 2003, said South Rowan coach Jan Dowling has attended his camps for years.
Dowling keeps him informed when the Raiders have college prospects, and he traveled to watch South play several times in 2008 when he was recruiting Morrow’s teammate Taylor May.
May turned down the Bears to play basketball at Catawba, but Markland got his first look at Morrow.
Markland was impressed by Morrow’s continued development when he taught at a local volleyball clinic earlier this year.
Markland, who coached the Bears to SAC championships in 2004 and 2006, began actively pursuing Morrow this fall. He saw her play against Carson while she was still mulling her college decision and at North Iredell after she’d verbally committed.
“What attracted us to Kayla, above all, was that she’s always put the classroom No. 1, and she’s a hard worker with a high-character family,” Markland said.
“Athletically, she’s just very explosive. She’s quick, she gets off the floor very quickly and her maximum jump is excellent. She should make an impact for us in the middle right away. As her ball control improves, she could move outside.”
Morrow’s vertical jump is in the 29-inch range. An excellent all-round athlete, she also competes in basketball, softball and track. She’s been all-county in softball and has led South in scoring so far this basketball season
Morrow’s father, Artie, was a very good football and baseball player at A.L. Brown, and she began her athletic career with her eyes on a softball scholarship. She was persuaded to try volleyball by teammate Amber Waldroup and gradually transitioned to being a volleyball-first athlete.
She represented North Carolina in national and international Junior Olympic events, traveling as far as Colorado, and is currently playing club volleyball tournaments in addition to her basketball efforts.
Morrow drew recruiting interest from bigger schools, including Virginia Tech and UNC Greensboro, but the Bears had exactly the major she wanted ó a five-year athletic training program for a masters degree ó and also produced the strongest financial package.
She’ll get about $9,000 per year for volleyball and $13,000 annually in academic scholarships. Even with four sports, she’s found time to study. She’s in the top 10 in South’s senior class.