PARKERSBURG - One of the senior catalysts in Parkersburg South's push to a state volleyball tournament berth this fall for the first time since 2007 has signed to play the sport in college for NCAA Division II Ohio Valley University.
Not only did Alexis Leach, a defensive specialist as the Patriots' libero the last two years, cap her senior season with the state tourney appearance, but also her selection as the Two Rivers Athletic Conference 2012 Player of the Year in volleyball and first-team all-conference choice.
Leach, a four-year player for South head coach Becky Bennett, also played basketball at South and is thinking about running track in the spring.
Leach, the daughter of South athletic director Rick Leach and his wife Lisa, said OVU head volleyball coach Paul Jacoby was ''looking to strengthen his team's defense and thought that Megan Morrison (another Fighting Scots' recruit) from PHS and I could help do that.''
Jacoby too was interested in Leach as a defender because she has experience, ''having played back row since the seventh grade. So that's my home on the court.''
She chose OVU since ''they gave me the opportunity to play volleyball, the good Christian environment at the school was a big plus for me and it's close to home, so I'll get to see a lot of my mom and dad, too.''
At South, Leach was on Patriot volleyball teams that reached the regionals her first three years, but never got to the state until this past season, when she was one of the Bennett's captains.
Leach plans to major in secondary education at OVU with her basis in social studies, looking to become a high school teacher. But she wants to double-major as well in business with her basis in marketing.
''And being able to play volleyball at OVU too gives me an great opportunity to keep my career going,'' she said.
Bennett thinks ''OVU is getting a great player, a great person. Alexis has a great attitude and a great work ethic, always willing to do whatever you need her to do. She works well with the younger kids, and always listens.''
Part of Bennett's first-ever freshman class coming in, Leach ''has just gotten progressively better and better each year,'' said the coach.