LAKE PLACID - A college scholarship is the capstone to a decorated prep career. It's one of the most hallowed awards a high school athlete can receive.
Lake Placid's Breauna Corley was awarded such an offer from South Florida State College, and the Green Dragons senior committed to play volleyball for the Panthers Thursday at Lake Placid High School.
"Now it feels official," Corley said. "I'm familiar with the campus. I've been there a couple of times and I play travel volleyball there. I'm excited."
Corley's family, who joined her at the signing are excited to see their daughter play for the Panthers. They hope to be able to see more games with her staying close to home.
A four-year starter for the Dragons, Corley finished her high school career with a season for the ages. The captain of the team, Corley amassed mind-numbing stats, totaling 193 kills, 52 blocks, 122 digs, and 38 aces. Her stellar play helped Lake Placid to a 25-4 record, a district championship, and a berth in the state regional quarterfinals.
For Corley's efforts, she was selected as the Highlands Today 2013 All-Highlands Volleyball Player of the Year.
"It's a big deal," said Dragons coach Charlotte Bauder. "SFSC is a good school and a good program. Breauna is the type of person that will do whatever she needs to do for the team. She's a completely unsefish player. I think she'll be a great fit with the Panthers."
A multi-sport standout for the Dragons, Corley excelled in softball and volleyball, but also played basketball and soccer for the Dragons.
Her athletic prowess didn't go unnoticed, and she received offers from schools nationwide. She said she has tenative plans to try out for the Panthers softball team.
"I'd like to go out. I'm just focused on volleyball right now, though. I don't even have a major picked yet. Maybe something in sports."
Corley doesn't think she'll be overwhelmed by the higher level of play.
"I'm not too worried. I'm one of only a few new recruits, and I'll be around a lot of older players who I know will help me. And I know Panther coach Kim Crawford and I'm comfortable at the campus."
Most student-athletes that attend SFSC plan on playing at a major Division I university after they complete their two-year stay. Corley is no different. But what most find out is that SFSC prepares them for the transition.
And Bauder can attest. She played for the Panthers and was an assistant under coach Crawford.
"It's a tough transition, going from high school to college," Bauder said. "When you're playing volleyball, it keeps you motivated in school. You know you have to show up and do well in the classroom. But with the small class sizes and the proximity to Lake Placid, it makes it much easier to make that switch."
"And if she ever needs a home-cooked meal, her family isn't too far away."
Bauder added that having the connections with Crawford has been mutually beneficial for both programs.
"Kim and I have similar coaching styles," Bauder said. "Of course I learned from her. So it's really been great for us to help build up volleyball in the area."