Providence Day’s Ciera Cockrell has always known what it is like to play against the best.
Her older brother, Ross, 23, was a standout football player at Charlotte Latin and Duke, and was drafted in the fourth round of the NFL Draft in May by the Buffalo Bills, where he is a reserve cornerback and special-teams player.
Her younger sister, Anna, 17, is an all-state and All-American track star at Providence Day, having won eight NCISAA state championships while rewriting state and school record books in her first two high school seasons.
Ciera Cockrell, 18, has made a name for herself on the volleyball court. The senior captain and standout outside-hitter recently committed to play at Davidson next year.
“I’ve joked around about having middle-child syndrome,” Cockrell said. “But I’ve never actually felt like I had it at all. Ross, Anna and I have always supported each other 100 percent. We’ve definitely had some healthy competition with each other growing up, but we are also all each other’s biggest fans.”
Cockrell, 5-foot-11, leads her team with 227 kills and a 140 digs Providence Day is 20-2 and 3-0 in CISAA play.
“I remember the first day I saw her in an open gym this past summer, and I was like, ‘Oh my, I had no idea how good she actually was.’ ” Providence Day coach Emily Carrara said. “I gave her some silly pointer and she looked at me, smiled, and said, ‘Okay coach,’ and immediately did exactly what I said.
“Soon after that, I called Davidson coach Chris Willis and told him how impressed I was with Ciera. They had been looking at her as a right side but needed an outside hitter. I made sure he knew she could definitely be the outside hitter they were looking for.”
Providence Day went 18-16 last year, losing to eventual state champion Charlotte Country Day in the NCISAA quarterfinals. This season, the Chargers have gotten off to a fast start, topping last season’s win total, which includes a runner-up finish to Epiphany Christian at North Raleigh Christian’s Volley with the Knights tournament in early September.
Cockrell shined at the event, earning all-tournament honors with 61 kills, six aces and 41 digs.
“This is just her third year playing high-level volleyball, so I feel like she hasn’t even come close to her ceiling or potential,” Carrara said. “With the amazing family that she comes from, I won’t be surprised no matter what she accomplishes in the future.”