“Have a good summer.” It’s a refrain echoed throughout school hallways across the state in late May and early June, as underclassmen look forward to several months off before starting another year in late August.
No doubt Mansfield Lake Ridge sophomore volleyball player Madison Williams heard the phrase any number of times. It’s also unlikely those well-wishers had any idea just how good a summer Williams would have.
Among other things, Williams has travel plans for Colorado Springs in late July. But this isn’t any run-of-the-mill trip to the mountains. She’ll be traveling to the Olympic Training Center to work with the USA Girls Youth Volleyball team.
That trip follows a stint in Minnesota the last week of June playing at the 2017 Girls Junior National Championships, where she and Lake Ridge teammate Logyn Hinds won a gold medal in the 15 Girls Open division with their club team, TAV 15 Black. Williams was named to the all-tournament team.
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When I first started, I was watching Haley Eckerman, Destinee Hooker and [other University of Texas players] on TV, and that’s when I decided I wanted to play volleyball. That’s always been my dream school since I was younger. It was always my top choice.
Lake Ridge volleyball player Madison Williams
And the traveling could get even better for Williams. She’s among 20 athletes chosen to train with USA Volleyball for the FIVB U18 World Championships, which take place Aug. 18-27 in Argentina. After the two weeks in Colorado Springs, that group of 20 will be narrowed down to a 12-player roster that will train in Brazil and compete in Argentina.
Let’s not forget the recent commitment to the University of Texas to play volleyball.
A nice summer indeed.
“It was actually shocking,” Williams said of her selection to USA Volleyball. “I didn’t realize I could actually do it, because it’s always been my dream to go play for the USA. Playing with people older than me, I didn’t think I’d be able to make the team, but when I got the news, it was surprising. I was very excited.”
It’s Williams’ volleyball dream to play in the Olympics, so this opportunity looms large for her.
“I want to go into the gym and work hard to make sure I make the final 12 and play in the world championships,” she said. “But it’s also very exciting because it’s been my dream for so long and it finally came. I’ve been working so hard.”
Williams should learn during the first week of August if she’ll be headed to South America.
Not surprisingly, Williams’ commitment to Texas ties into her Olympic ambitions.
“UT has always been my dream,” she said. “When I first started, I was watching Haley Eckerman, Destinee Hooker and [other University of Texas players] on TV, and that’s when I decided I wanted to play volleyball. That’s always been my dream school since I was younger. It was always my top choice.”
Eckerman had runs with USA Volleyball, while Hooker earned a silver medal with Team USA in the 2012 Olympics.
It was soon after making the USA squad that Williams made her commitment to the Longhorns.
“I was kind of emotional, but it was very exciting because it’s one of your dreams coming true. It was so awesome,” she said.
With such a volleyball-heavy summer, there’s little concern of rust heading into the 2017 high school season. In fact, the reigning District 10-5A Newcomer of the Year should be in peak form — which is good news for a Lady Eagles program aiming to surpass its milestone season of a year ago, when it reached the fourth round of the playoffs.
“Madison is going to be a dominant leader of our 2017 Lake Ridge Eagles volleyball team on and off the court,” Lake Ridge volleyball coach Jessica Tyler said. “She is a force to be reckoned with. Her explosiveness, power, court awareness and character make her a total package.”