BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind. – For the third and fourth times this year, Ancilla College has dipped into the deep well of Howard County high school athletics to find and sign players to dress in a Chargers uniform this fall. This time, Brooke Barbary of Taylor signed to play volleyball and Arienne Beard of Kokomo signed to play basketball. The duo will join Eastern volleyball players Hayley Mavrick and Hannah Kelley on the Ancilla campus when the 2012-2013 school year begins.
“Howard County is good,” said Ancilla volleyball coach Lana Singleton. “I am very excited about the girls from Eastern and Taylor that I have signed. We are playing some really good volleyball right now – my returning team is good, and my recruits are good. This is a good area right now.”
Brooke Barbary, volleyball
With a huge smile, Barbary talked about how exciting it is to have made a college choice and to know that she will have an opportunity to play the game she loves for at least two more years.
“What a great opportunity to play volleyball in college,” said Barbary, who will study history before she embarks on her law degree. “Ancilla is a great place and the coach is great. It is a very nice facility.”
Barbary noted that she played two seasons at Kokomo before transferring to Taylor.
“I started varsity at Taylor my junior year, and we struggled but had fun,” she said. “But we took Western to four games while I was here, and it was just a great experience.”
Myndie Everling, the Taylor volleyball coach, praised Barbary’s hard work, which would evolve the setter into a team leader.
“I am just really proud of her; she became a great leader, worked hard, and became a co-captain this year,” said Everling. “She stepped up and I think she will step into a role at Ancilla. I can see her in the back row, or with her soft hands, as a setter.”
Singleton said she did not have an opportunity to see Barbary play during the school year, but thanks to recruiting a pair of Eastern players, Lady Comet coach Meredith Cipriano recommended the Taylor senior.
“It if weren’t for Meredith, I would not have known about Brooke – so Meredith deserves the credit on this one. She asked if I would take a look at Brooke, and I did and obviously liked what I saw,” said Singleton. “(Barbary’s) attitude is what drew me to her. When I saw her play, she was rusty because the season was over, but I loved the fact that she was trying hard and had a pleasant attitude. I want the whole package – good students, good people, good work ethic and good volleyball skills. Sometimes one of those is not more important than the others.”
Arienne Beard, basketball
Beard was a 5-4 point guard on the Lady Wildkats this past season. During her career, she played in 48 games, scored 113 points, grabbed 109 rebounds, made 87 steals and dished 92 assists. Her senior season, she led the Lady Kats in assists with 2.4 per game.
“She has come a long way and has been our starting point guard the last two years,” said Lady Kats head coach Jason Snyder. “She has also led our team in minutes played the last two years. This year, we wanted to push the ball more and she did that well. She has been in the paper more for defense than on offense. She could be an even better college player than a high school player.”
Beard said she chose Ancilla because it was a good opportunity to continue playing basketball, and she said this will be a goal fulfilled.
“I think I will fit in well,” said the shy senior. “I am just looking forward to playing for the Chargers.”
Ancilla head coach Stephanie Beason is excited about bringing in a Lady Kat to her program.
“Arienne is going to be a good fit for us,” she said. “When I watched her play against Richmond, she was just calm, cool and collected – even when she was guarded by two and three people. We have a lot of teams who will do the same, and I think she will step on the floor right off the bat and play for us. Arienne has a lot of things that factor in that will be good for us. I am a run-and-gun type of coach, and she has been in that style and will do good things.”
Beason also noted Beard’s defensive skills.
“We want to get some full-court pressure, and she can work both ends of the floor,” she said. “It is not often that you get someone that is good on both sides of it, but Arienne is one of those.”
With Barbary, Beard, Mavrick and Kelley all signed to play at Ancilla College, the Howard County pipeline to Donaldson, Ind., is flowing heavily. The next question is, while these players excel for the Chargers, who will be next in line for the drive north.