Bulls' leader shows team the way to SPC title

It's only minutes after the conclusion of a recent Hickory Ridge volleyball match and Megan Yeargin is holding court.

Facing a semi-circle of eight or nine people comprised of teammates, their parents, her parents, a boyfriend and others, Yeargin is chatting about moments in the Ragin' Bulls thrilling five-game victory over Jay M. Robinson.

Her infectious smile warms the crowd.

It's no surprise that Yeargin's teammates elected her a captain for the second straight year and that she is the Harrisburg school's student body president. People just seem to like her.

And she's a pretty good volleyball player, too.

In a four-year varsity career that included at least one all-conference selection, Yeargin, a senior setter, has helped Hickory Ridge to three straight conference championships. She is also a basketball letter winner and played one year of soccer for the Ragin' Bulls.

As a C.C. Griffin Middle School student, not only did she play volleyball but she was also one of Central Cabarrus' biggest fans. Her sister Lauren was a standout player for the Vikings.

When Hickory Ridge opened in 2007, Megan Yeargin was a member of its first freshman class while Lauren remained at Central. While the Ragin' Bulls struggled through a year of transition with a young and inexperienced squad, playing against Central and her sister was one of Yeargin's highlights that season.

"It was one of our first games so we weren't very meshed together," said Yeargin. "I always looked up to my sister and the Central players when I was in middle school, so it was really weird playing against those people I cheered for. But it was fun."

On a team comprised mainly of freshmen, Yeargin, also a member of the Carolina Juniors Volleyball Club, started on the right side. The team finished fourth in the South Piedmont 3A Conference with a 10-6 record (10-11 overall) and lost a first round state playoff match.

Yeargin's defense improved so much her sophomore year that coach Patti Chason often positioned her on the back row. As Hickory Ridge won its first conference championship and reached the state tournament's second round, Yeargin was honored with Coach's Award.

"The team votes for offensive and defensive players of the year," said Chason. "But there's always that one player that I feel has given her all. She may not have been the leader that year in this or that category, but she was always the hard worker, the morale booster."

Last year, Chason considered moving Yeargin to libero but when the team lost its setter because of an auto accident, Chason tabbed Yeargin to fill the hole. Yeargin played setter in middle school, so it wasn't an overwhelming adjustment.

Yeargin responded with an all-conference season, recording 321 assists, 149 digs and 79 service aces. The Bulls tied for the regular season conference championship with Mount Pleasant and again reached the second round of the playoffs.

This season, the Hickory Ridge (19-5) lineup is deeper than ever. Yeargin is one of four setters on the team and is a part-time starter. Through the conference tournament, she had 245 assists, 137 digs, and 62 service aces.

Hickory Ridge won the regular season and SPC tournament championships and were named a No. 1 seed in the state playoffs. One of Yeargin's highlights was being selected captain again on a team rich with seniors.

Leadership is Yeargin's forte.

In addition to being voted to leadership positions in student council the last four years, Yeargin has served as a page in the state legislature and the governor's office and was selected to the Tar Heel Girls State government program in 2010.

She is also ranked fourth in Hickory Ridge's senior class.

Yeargin, who was named all-conference again this season, says she wants to become a school teacher.