Three KFHS girls sign commitments

Published 9:37 pm Thursday, April 26, 2012

Crystal Collins, left, Jamika Townsend, center, and Aquesha Knight are the first volleyball players from King’s Fork High School every to sign college commitments to play on volleyball teams.

By Titus Mohler

Seniors Crystal Collins, Aquesha Knight and Jamika Townsend recently became the first King’s Fork athletes ever to sign college commitments for the sport of volleyball.

“We’ve had girls that played volleyball that have committed for other sports, but nobody’s ever committed for volleyball,” coach Sarah Porter said. “This group was probably the most hard-working group I’ve had and most dedicated to the sport.”

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Porter has coached the volleyball team for eight years and said that the team will really miss the leadership of these girls.

Collins, who also plays for the Nansemond Volleyball Club, played volleyball for a King’s Fork rival before transferring to the Lady Bulldogs.

“I started in eighth grade,” she said. “Ninth grade I played on JV at Western Branch and then from 10th to 12th grade, I played here on varsity.”

Though she has played the longest out of the three girls, she said she did not really expect to receive a college offer.

“I haven’t really been playing that long, compared to most girls who have been playing since they were, like, three or four, and some of them don’t even get the opportunity,” Collins said.

Collins will play for Virginia Union University in Richmond.

Aquesha Knight has played for two years, beginning as a junior at King’s Fork, and she had a strong reaction to her signing.

“I’m very, very, very surprised,” she said.

Her astonishment was due to more than just a relatively short time playing in high school. Both Collins and Jamika Townsend play for travel clubs, and those teams are the ones that scouts come to see.

“(They) don’t come to high school games,” Townsend said, “which is why it’s so amazing that (Aquesha) is going to a college, because she doesn’t play for a travel team and that means, like, so much.”

Aquesha will be playing for Louisburg College in North Carolina.

Townsend has played volleyball since her freshman year at King’s Fork and also plays for the Coastal Virginia Volleyball Club.

“Volleyball is somewhat like my life,” she said. “Like, when people ask, ‘Who’s Jamika?’ I’m pretty sure most people say, ‘A volleyball player.’”

Townsend holds the school’s record for most assists. She will be playing for Goldey-Beacom College in Delaware.

Knight and Townsend were team captains this year.

“And they were actually picked by the team,” Coach Porter said. “I have the final say, of course, but I ask the team to (give) their input, because you’re only going to follow people that you want to follow.”

Porter was clear that though Collins was not a captain, she definitely possesses the same qualities that the other two have.

The mutual respect and team spirit that helped the girls excel was self-evident as they spoke about each other.

When Crystal quickly echoed Jamika’s praise of Aquesha getting signed without playing travel ball, Knight couldn’t help but say, “I love y’all.”

It’s clear that the girls are extremely close to one another.

“And I’d also like to say, these two girls have helped me a whole lot,” Knight said. “I play back row, (Jamika) sets, and (Crystal’s) a hitter. So, we’re kind of like a…”

Aquesha searches for something more creative than just saying “team” and Jamika helps out.

“We need each other,” Jamika said. “We feed off of each other.”

“Yeah,” Knight said, “so they help me a lot so I can be as good as I am, ’cause without a hitter, I can’t get any digs and without—“

“—a setter, I can’t hit,” Crystal said.

“We need the entire team,” Jamika said, “and I think that’s what made us so close.”