MINFORD — Buoyed greatly by her height, Minford’s Ally Coriell enjoyed a “killer” high school volleyball career.
Now, the six-foot and four-inch —although some biographies out there list her as tall as 6-5 — middle matchup nightmare will put some additional sting into the West Virginia State University program.
That’s because Coriell, although officially in November but publicly and most recently inside Minford High School’s Falcons’ Nest, signed her national letter-of-intent to play collegiate volleyball with the Yellow Jackets — an NCAA Division II program and a member of the West Virginia-centric Mountain East Conference.
Because of Minford’s school days impacted by the coronavirus situation, it wasn’t until two weeks ago on Friday that Coriell had an opportunity to have her official signing ceremony.
She was flanked by her parents Kevin and Amber Coriell, Minford High School volleyball head coach Rachael Stapleton, and several of her Lady Falcon teammates and friends.
She is the second Lady Falcon for Stapleton to play at the collegiate level —joining Abby Grasso, who went to play at the University of Rio Grande.
Coriell concluded her stellar career with 1,057 kills, and graduates as the school’s record-holder for most kills in a career.
She joins the Yellow Jackets and head coach Kris Kern, as the 2020 season is his fourth at West Virginia State.
WVSU is located in Institute, W. Va. —right off Interstate 64 en route to the nearby state capital of Charleston.
Coriell said multiple schools had expressed an interest in her, but that she choose WVSU because of “their super-nice” facilities — and largely because of Kern.
Kern’s first three years at WVSU have produced almost instant, and even dramatic, positive impact —as the Yellow Jackets improved to 14-16 in his first season to a program-record 25 wins in his second.
The 2019 team finished as MEC regular-season runner-up, captured 10 consecutive victories at one point, and appeared in the MEC Tournament semifinals for the first time ever.
Kern, like Coriell, is an Ohio native — having coached and achieved success at both the high school and club levels around Central Ohio, including leading Logan Elm to the Division II state tournament in 2016.
He has also coached in college in the Buckeye State —for two seasons at Kenyon College near Mount Vernon.
“He’s (Kern) a really good volleyball coach who has coached high school and club ball and has a lot of wins. They have a good program going there (WVSU). He really works on developing his players over the years. And the girls on the team were very welcoming,” said Coriell. “They’re really hard workers, and I knew that would be where I would best fit in.”
Coriell said she was being recruited as a middle hitter, which is where she starred for the Falcons —earning in part all-Southern Ohio Conference Division II first-team honors and Division III District 14 Coaches Association accolades as a senior.
In her 259 career sets played, Coriell collected 1,057 kills with 153 total blocks, including 111 solo.
Her hitting percentage was a .257, and she served up 128 career aces.
Coriell, when asked directly, said she stands at 6-3 — although an extra inch is universally accepted to list her as 6-4.
“It kind of fluctuates with my shoes,” she said, with a slight laugh. “But yeah, 6-3, 6-4.”
Either way, Coriell said her height has benefited her high school career “tremendously”.
After all, it’s not often that many volleyball players in this immediate area are over six feet.
“Being a middle hitter and being able to play in college, it really does affect a lot with your height. Being this tall has definitely helped me get more opportunities with playing on certain travel teams and getting different looks from colleges,” she said.
But Stapleton said that although Coriell’s height helps, her work ethic and deep commitment to the sport is second to none.
“Ally is a great kid and a dedicated worker. She loves volleyball, it’s her first sport, she puts in time over the summer and she’s played a lot of club ball. She is a leader, she’s quiet and not the big ‘kaboom’ kid, but she is always consistent and working hard. If you tell her something, she works to do what you’re asking her to do,” said Stapleton. “Ally is extremely coachable. She is a good teammate and not selfish. Very much a team player. She’s worked on her back-row game, her serves, her blocking, she’s getting faster all the time. I really think she is going to be successful in college. She is really working to just improving all of her skills.”
The coach continued by explaining that she can see Coriell compete for not only a middle hitter spot, but one on the outside at right side.
“She has obviously been our middle hitter, but the position you play in high school volleyball may not necessarily be your prime position,” said Stapleton. “She has great blocking hands, and she can get up on that right side. I think she will be productive and beneficial to their team defense. We wish her all the best and we’re very excited for her.”
Coriell also discussed her own commitment to continued improvement and development.
“I want to improve in a lot of aspects of my game and just develop and get better every single year. Even if I don’t start out playing a lot, I hope that I can become a really good college middle hitter over time. The biggest difference will be the speed of the game. It definitely picks up a lot,” she said. “Just the athletes in general and the players you’re facing during these matches.”
Coriell said she is officially undecided upon a major, but is “leaning towards Education and maybe furthering it into being a guidance counselor.”
Should that pan out, it could be considered the reciprocation that Coriell said she received in her “killer” career at Minford.
For now, she will add some sting to the Yellow Jackets’ program.
“It’s (playing at Minford) meant a lot to me and it’s been amazing. My teammates have been great and always cheering me on and encouraging me, and my coaches have really helped me develop as a player,” said Coriell. “Everyone has been super supportive and excited for me. It’s been great.”
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved