By Nick Talbot
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON - Grace Weaver never wants to leave the volleyball court.
For the next four years, the Belton senior won't have too.
Weaver signed her national letter of intent Wednesday at the Belton field house to play volleyball for Tulane University.
"It just happened at the right time, I just love the location and the setting in New Orleans," said Weaver, who first committed to play for the Green Wave over the summer. "I was as interested in them as they were interested in me."
Weaver finished her senior season at Belton with 526 kills, 443 digs and 41 aces for the Lady Tigers. She led Belton to a runner-up finish in district, a 22-18 record after starting the season 0-6 and a second-round playoff appearance and was named District 12-5A MVP for her efforts.
This season the Green Wave are 9-18 overall and 6-9 in Conference USA play.
"This is a rebuilding year for them , but we are going to be really good," Weaver said.
Before committing to Tulane, Weaver also visited Auburn, Mississippi, Belmont and Stephen F. Austin. But her heart all along belonged in New Orleans - even if she has to make a huge adjustment to get herself on the court.
Weaver, unlike in her high school career at Belton, won't be getting to the ball on the outside every time, slamming the ball down the throat of her opponents. She might even play predominately on the back row as a defensive specialist, at least as a freshman.
"I'll be an O3, which is like a backup outside hitter and a defensive specialist," Weaver said. "I don't mind playing back row. It is really fun ... Wherever I can play I will play."
It is that attitude, that according to her club coach, Jenny Kruger of Austin Performance that will make Weaver valuable at the next level.
"She is a six-location kid, which means she never comes out of the game," said Kruger, who coached Weaver on her APEX 18 team. "For Grace, her approach is different from the high school going into college. Everyone is bigger and faster. So, what sets her apart is she is one of the smartest kids on the court."
Skill set aside, more than anything, Belton coach Justeen Coulson said it was Weaver's desire and ability to learn the game that has set her apart from the competition.
"Her knowledge of the game is above her age and it has been like that since I got here, when she was a sophomore," Coulson said. "She wants to be a coach someday, so she is more than just a player. She is a student of the game."
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569.