Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local Sports

May 30, 2014

Willis' signing with SWCC a dream come true

JACKSONVILLE —

The gleam in her eye, the wide smile on her face and the exhilaration in her voice spoke volumes.

Braneesha Willis' dream of obtaining a scholarship to play volleyball at the collegiate level is now a reality.

Willis made it official Wednesday afternoon at the Jacksonville High School Fieldhouse where a signing ceremony was held for the newest member of the Southwestern Christian College (SWCC) Lady Ram volleyball team.

SWCC is a two-year college located in Terrell.

The school is a private institution that is affiliated with the Church of Christ.

Jacksonville head volleyball coach, Billie Walley, said that Willis is a student of the game and that she was one of the Fightin' Maidens' most improved players.

“Bree was a great asset to our team on the right side,” Walley said. “She (also) had a strong presence blocking (and) her hitting and ball placement improved greatly this year.

“Bree is one of the most coachable players we've had.”

Willis is a trail blazer of sorts for Wallie and Jacksonville volleyball as she is the first player in Wallie's five-year tenure as head coach that has received a scholarship to play the sport at the college level.

Willis stated that she realized during her senior season that she desperately wanted to play college volleyball and that her prayers were answered this past weekend.

“I didn't really know if I would make the team,” Willis explained. “I had to go over last Saturday and tryout before the (SWCC) coach and assistant coach and at the end of the day the coach congratulated me on making the team (so) I got down on my knees and thanked Jesus for being able to make my goal come true.”

Willis said that the SWCC coaches focused on conditioning, foot work, serving and hitting during the tryout and that she is particularity grateful for the support that she received from her dad, Derrick McDuff, in preparing her for an opportunity to win a spot on a college team.

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