Lake Norman & Mooresville

Senior outside hitter sets high goals for Eagles

Katie Schoenrock had many accomplishments on the volleyball court last year.

In October, the all-state SouthLake Christian senior outside hitter was on top of the world, hammering away 37 kills to lead her Eagles to an N.C. Independent School Association 2A state championship.

"After we won, everything kind of went in slow-motion," said Schoenrock, recalling her team's 3-1 win against Asheville Christian. "I remember the last point, and then all of us erupted and were in a pile in the middle of the floor. Then, I was like 'Wow, we did it, we're state champions!' It was everything I expected and more."

Schoenrock, a senior, and her SouthLake Christian volleyball teammates are wondering if they can experience that feeling again.

It won't be easy, as SouthLake moved up a class to 3A, where seven-time defending champion Charlotte Latin and other state powers await.

"I don't think anyone in school really understands what the move from 2A to 3A really means," said Schoenrock. "Everyone is expecting another state championship. We know it's going to be a huge challenge, but that is our goal."

A year ago at this time, Schoenrock was just getting used to her team and classmates at SouthLake Christian after moving with her family from the Raleigh area, where she attended Cary Christian from first to 10th grade.

Schoenrock was a volleyball standout at the school - and for the Club Triangle and N.C. Elite club volleyball teams.

Schoenrock admits that moving to a new school was tough on her. But after meeting teammate Kayla Summer, an all-state middle-hitter, and the rest of the SouthLake team during open gym, she was able to fit right in.

"Everybody welcomed me, and I didn't feel like the awkward, new girl," said Schoenrock. "Ever since then, we have been like family."

SouthLake Christian hasn't missed a beat so far this year, as coach Rachel Noreika and her Eagles started off the year 9-0 (3-0 in Metrolina conference play) with impressive wins against state runner-up Asheville Christian and over Charlotte Christian and Cannon.

Schoenrock has proved to be one of the leaders again, as she tops the team with 124 kills and 29 aces (as of Sept. 7). Schoenrock's aggressive style is contagious.

"Katie is not the most vocal girl, but she always leads by example with her play," said Noreika. "She is aggressive 99 percent of the time. She is going for the kill, the point every time she gets the ball. That can really get our team going."

Schoenrock hopes her style will also translate to college volleyball. Schoenrock is most interested in Western Carolina and Queens but added that it's still early in the process.

Schoenrock will also get looks with her Carolina Junior Volleyball club team.

"I've dreamed of playing college volleyball since I started playing when I was 6 years old," she said. "Volleyball has always been a big part of my life, and I definitely want to keep it that way."

But before she takes the next step in her career, Schoenrock and her Eagle teammates hope to make another run at a state title.

The core of the SouthLake Christian team lies with four seniors - Schoenrock, Summer, Molly Crawford and Hannah Croom - who all want to finish their careers on top.

"We want this so bad because this is our last chance to win it all for our school and our team," said Schoenrock. "We know it isn't going to easy, but we definitely think we have a good chance to repeat."