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Pikeville signs Johnson

Coal Grove Lady Hornets’ Haley Johnson signed a letter-of-intent to play volleyball at University of Pikeville. Attending the ceremony were: seated from left, mother Shelly Johnson, Hayley Johnson, sister Hayden Johnson and father David Johnson; standing from left, Coal Grove coach Trisha Damron, Pikeville coach Shannon Gassman and Coal Grove athletic director Bryan Mulkey. (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

 

COAL GROVE — When Haley Johnson’s senior volleyball season ended last fall, she wondered what life would be like without the sport.

After a day or two of reflection, she decided life would have to continue with volleyball.

“I just love the game,” said the Coal Grove Lady Hornets’ senior standout who signed a letter-of-intent with the University of Pikeville to play volleyball.

“Honestly, I’m just glad to be part of a team and to keep playing and doing something I love to play. I couldn’t see myself giving up volleyball.”

During her career at Coal Grove, Johnson was a four-year starter who was first team All-Ohio Valley Conference, first team coaches’ all-district, and she helped the Lady Hornets to their first OVC volleyball title last season for the first time since 1991.

Lady Hornets’ coach Trisha Damron had nothing but praise for Johnson and thinks the senior will be a success at the next level.

“She’s been a member of the varsity all four years. She was a co-captain as a sophomore. She just led the team,” said Damron.

“She’s an all-around player. If you could have six of her, you’d have a great team. She’ll fit into any program.”

Pikeville first-year head coach Shannon Gassman echoed Damron’s sentiments.

“She fits very well. She’s a good fit in all areas,” said Gassman. “We want someone with character and integrity who is a good student and a hard worker and Haley fits that.”

Johnson said Pikeville is “pretty young and they’re pretty good.” She went for a visit and a workout and fell in love with the school.

“I had such a blast playing with their team and meeting the coaches,” said Johnson.

“I see me more of a back row hitter, but it’s where ever they want me to play. Hitting is a lot of fun, but I just love the game. It doesn’t matter where I play as long as I get to keep playing.”

Johnson plans to major in communication in order to transition to pre-law.