PHS's Phipps to Play Volleyball for Flyers
Pinecrest’s Mary Grace Phipps is bringing the patented hop, skip and jump that preceded her big swings to the Sandhills Community College volleyball team in the fall.
Phipps signed a letter of intent to join coach Alicia Hill’s successful Flyers program during a ceremony at the high school on Wednesday. The 5-foot-10 outside hitter contributed to a 26-4 season for the Patriots that included advancing to the fourth round of the state playoffs.
“It’s different, it makes her standout, and, of course, that’s one of the first things I noticed when I came to watch her play,” Hill says of Phipps’ athletic approach to jump serves and attacks. “It works for her and she does great.”
Phipps is the daughter of Earl and Rhonda Phipps. She transferred from Greenville Rose, another school with a strong volleyball tradition, after her father became the police chief in Pinehurst early last year. She has an older sister, Sarah. Her younger brother, Britton, attended the signing along with coaches, teammates and friends.
“It was a good move and obviously turned into good things for me,” Phipps says. “Seeing that I just moved here, I wanted to start off with two years at Sandhills and play volleyball while I’m there.”
She plans to to major in child development, work with special needs kids and finish up at a four-year school — maybe play volleyball there too.
An outside hitter for Patriot coach Barbara Foxx, Phipps displayed a strong all-around game that produced 161 kills, 149 digs, and 240 service points, including 51 aces.
The best part of the season for her was the three games against conference rival Scotland High.
“Even though we didn’t win, I thought they were the best games we played because they were so intense,” she says.
Foxx is glad Phipps will be close to home, making it more convenient to watch her play.
“It was a blessing for her to move into the area and take a starting position,” the Patriot coach says. “She attacked the ball consistently and she served tough. She was a good surprise for us and helped us have a good season.”
One of Phipps favorite pastimes is playing the piano with her father. It’s a good bet her new volleyball coach won’t be telling her much about what to do with her feet.
Hill talked about some of the things that impress her about Phipps as a volleyball player.
“Mary Grace is a smart hitter,” says the coach. “She knows whether she needs to tip, roll or swing away. She sees the block very well.
“It’s always good to have a local girl here. We haven’t had anyone from Pinecrest since Paige (Horne). We’re looking for her to have an immediate impact.”
Among the other attendees were Pinecrest assistant coaches Toni Boney and Ashleigh McKenzie, and SCC athletic director Aaron Denton.
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