• December 18, 2014

Ellison's McKinnon takes love of volleyball to TC

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Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 5:51 am | Updated: 10:04 am, Mon Jul 28, 2014.

From the moment he saw Megan McKinnon spike a volleyball, William De Gracia knew she was special.The former club coach of the Killeen-based Pacifica Riptides, De Gracia was blown away with the 10-year-old's “perfect” form.

“The thing was, to see a 10-year-old girl not only step into the ball and down it, she actually had an approach and with her long arms just brought it down,” said De Gracia, in his first year as Ellison's head volleyball coach. “It was just the perfect spike, and you have some girls 14-15 years old that can't do that. So, even at that age, you already knew she was going to be incredible.”

Always playing above her age bracket, joining the 13-year-old club team at 10, the 17-year-old McKinnon might once again be the youngest on the floor as she goes onto the next level.

The Ellison senior middle blocker enlisted to play volleyball at Temple College next season during a ceremony Thursday at the Eagles main gym.

“It's emotional. I'm sad on one end, but that's mostly for myself because she is my baby, but I'm excited for Megan for her to have the opportunity to do something she's always wanted to do,” said her father, Mack McKinnon.

Even if there was some confusion on which sport the basketball and volleyball standout was choosing.

“Everybody was expecting me to go (to college) in basketball, even throughout the whole day (Thursday), people were asking me, ‘Are you signing for basketball?' No, it's volleyball,” Megan said.“Volleyball is my thing and my dad's thing, basketball's more of my sister and my mom's thing.”

The youngest daughter of longtime Ellison girls basketball coach Sherry McKinnon, Megan turned to volleyball from a young age, telling her parents at 3 years old she'd be playing college volleyball some day.

“To see her live her dream, and the things she has talked about since she was three — she loves the game (of volleyball),” Sherry said.

Although recruited in both basketball and volleyball, there's never been much of a question in Megan's mind which avenue she wanted to pursue.

“Volleyball has always been kind of easy for me, in basketball I have to work harder — it's just natural for me,” said Megan, a 5-foot-11 post for the Lady Eagles basketball team (17-7).

Remaining close to home was a big positive for both Megan and her parents, which made Temple — currently ranked No. 11 in the NJCAA — the ideal choice on all fronts.

“This is her first love and she's just so excited,” her mother said. “I have a lot of respect for coach Malone and her program, she's really tough, and that's what Megan needs. And we're real excited she's going to be close by so we can still be a big part of her life.”

 

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