Southern's Kearney to Fayetteville State

Jun. 02, 2014 @ 09:56 PM

A “slow process” finally culminated Monday with Kiyanna Kearney signing to play volleyball for Fayetteville State.

“It finally happened,” said Kearney, a senior who earned all-conference honors in both volleyball and softball in each of her four seasons as a Southern Vance varsity athlete.

At 5-foot-9, Kearney will go up against some taller blockers on the next level from her outsider hitter position, but she’s confident her leaping ability will counter any size disparity.

Kearney always enjoys proving people wrong and seeing their reactions when she rises above the net and lands a big kill.

“It’s just the adrenaline rush I get when I’m about to kill the ball,” said Kearney. “You get the point — it’s just the excitement.”

The fast-paced nature of the sport won Kearney’s heart.

“She’s a good softball player too, now,” Kiyanna’s father, William Kearney, is quick to point out.

Kiyanna Kearney burst onto the Southern sports scene as a freshman volleyball player in 2010, making an immediate impact. She contributed just as quickly in softball and developed into a well-rounded, key member of the basketball team.

Volleyball has been her passion, though, from an early age.

“When she was a little child,” said Stephanie Crudup, Kiyanna’s mother, “she said, ‘I want to play volleyball.’ And I was like, ‘Volleyball? Are you sure? I don’t even know anything about volleyball,’ and I didn’t know whether she could play volleyball. She surprised me a lot.”

Success for Kiyanna Kearney at Fayetteville State won’t surprise April Abbott, Southern’s head volleyball coach.

Kiyanna Kearney became the second Raider from the Class of 2014 to commit to college volleyball after Megan Hight, also a standout softball player, signed with Mount Olive.

“She is very determined,” Abbott said of Kearney. “If she doesn’t have something right, she’s going to ask, ‘What do I have to do to fix it?’ I only have to tell her a couple of times and she’s going to keep doing it until she figures it out on her own.”

Kiyanna Kearney has already figured out she wants her college experience to be about more than what happens on the hardwood.

“It’s not just “volleyball, volleyball, volleyball,” said Kiyanna Kearney, who plans to become a nurse. “It has to be schoolwork too.”

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.