The time of year has come for student-athletes to ink their signatures on their letters of intent to play at their respective colleges. Audrey Hoffman and Kaitlyn Lattimer of the Mill Creek High School volleyball team are excited to extend their playing days into college.
Lattimer will be a part of the inaugural volleyball team at Georgia College and State University while Hoffman will head to Salisbury, N.C., to play at Catawba College. Both admitted they are glad the recruiting process is over and noted all the hard work they put into it.
“It was stressful because you start when you’re a junior and you’re emailing as many coaches as possible just to get your name out there,” said Lattimer. “They don’t know anything about you, yet you’re asking them to visit you and you have to deal with the stress of seeing coaches at the tournaments and wondering what their thoughts are about you.”
The recruiting process involves more than just the athletes putting on a show in front of recruiters. Everything from the location of the school to where you are on the depth chart plays an important role in the decision-making process.
“It’s such a relief that it’s finally over,” said Lattimer. “You have to make sure that you like the school and that the coaches are actually interested in you. When you get an offer [you have to ask yourself], ‘do I accept this or do I not’? ‘What if there is a better one out there?’” said Lattimer.
“It makes you very anxious. It’s very nerve-wracking when you have multiple coaches coming to watch you play at tournaments. It was definitely a goal of mine to have this done by the fall. It was such a huge relief to have it done by the fall,” said Hoffman.
“It’s stressful not knowing where you are on their list. [You don't know] if you are their No. 1 or No. 10 recruit,” said Hoffman. “Trying to get a feel where [as to] you are on the coaches’ list, how interested they are in you and whether or not they are going to offer you a scholarship is very nerve-wracking,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman and Lattimer had options to choose from and sought advice from their coaches to lead them in the right direction.
“I had offers from Brenau University and Berry College,” said Lattimer.
“I had monetary offers from Bluefield College, Queens University and Georgetown College,” Hoffman said.
“I asked [the coaches] what they thought about the offers and certain schools. Also, my club coach helped me out a lot because she calls the colleges. I had Coach [Brian] Williamson give me recommendations,” said Lattimer.
“I think the club coaches really guide you in the direction of what level of play you are at and where they think you can play at. They also contact coaches. Also, it’s up to you to email the majority of the coaches,” Hoffman said.
Both Hoffman and Lattimer agreed that having trustworthy opinions and coaches that are knowledgeable of the recruiting process was a big help. The last thing they wanted was to end up somewhere where they wouldn’t be happy.
“It was definitely valuable because they’ve seen the process happen. They’ve seen girls get crushed because they try to go to Division 1 schools and that doesn’t work for everyone. Those colleges aren’t for everyone,” said Lattimer. “It helped to have someone help you who have been through the recruiting process before.”
There’s a lot of pressure at Division 1 schools and a heavy schedule,” said Hoffman.
“Some girls don’t want the rigorous practices. Sometimes there is more seriousness than the amount of fun you have. It depends on how you want your volleyball season to go,” Lattimer said.
The sport has grown and definitely brings in a lot of revenue for some programs. However, money isn’t everything and Hoffman and Lattimer say they would rather have a less strenuous career than play on a higher platform.
“The only reason why I would have wanted to go to a bigger school was because of the atmosphere, not for the attention and the money the volleyball program would get. I’m not the type of player that wants the seriousness of a big school,” said Lattimer.
“I like the smaller school atmosphere,” said Hoffman. “The class sizes are a lot smaller. Since I’m going to be a dual major (biology/chemistry), I’d rather not be in an auditorium with 200 students. Catawba kind of has a big school [atmosphere] because they have a football team and that’s something that I wanted. That really made me like Catawba.”
Lattimer has been honored as First-Team All County Selection as while Hoffman landed a spot as a member of the Second-Team All County team.