Photo: Southside High School senior Ziniah Hardy signed a volleyball scholarship to Snead State on December 9 at the SHS library. Pictured, sitting from left: dad Sean Hardy, Ziniah, mom Leslie Moore. Standing, from left: SHS assistant volleyball coach Michael Jaggers, SHS head volleyball coach Courtney Brothers, Gadsden Volleyball Club coach Averi Millhoff, SHS girls soccer coach Tiffany Cargill. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Although she was a three-sport athlete during her high school career, choosing which sport to play in college wasn’t a difficult deci-sion for Ziniah Hardy.
“The more I practiced and played, the more I fell in love with volleyball, so it’s great to continue to play the sport I love [in college],” said the Southside High School senior.
Hardy signed a volleyball scholarship with Snead State on December 9.
This past season, Hardy recorded 361 digs, 185 kills, 60 aces, 29 blocks and 15 assists while helping the SHS volleyball team post a 45-15 record, win the county championship and qualify for the Super North Regional Tournament. Following the season, she was named to the All-Etowah County Schools team, All-Area Tournament team, the All-Messenger volleyball second team and the AVBCA first team. For her career, she finished with 607 digs, 302 kills, 122 aces, 33 blocks and 15 assists.
Hardy, who plans on majoring in nursing, said that having SHS athletic director Angie Sanders as her college coach was a major factor in her decision to sign with Snead State.
“She’s a really good coach, and so is the assistant coach (Cristie Brothers). It’s a really good program. I also got to practice with the girls and see the dorms. It’s a really nice campus.”
Hardy joins a Lady Parson squad that went 27-15 this past season and finished runner-up at the Alabama Community College Conference Tournament. Hardy will join 2020 SHS graduate Maggie Bell on the SSCC roster next fall.
“I just can’t say enough about Ziniah,” said SHS volleyball coach Courtney Brothers. “She is a hustler and a hard worker who is everywhere on the court, and I appreciate that from her as a coach. I’m so proud of Ziniah for advancing her athletic and academic career at Snead State. She’s a great player and a great person who I’ve enjoyed coaching over the last six year. We’re going to miss her very much.”
Hardy also lettered in basketball and soccer at Southside. As a three-year starter in soccer, she helped the Lady Panthers finished as the Class 5A state runners-up in 2019 and state semifinalists in 2021 and 2018. Most of the 2020 sea-son was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ziniah is a very tough and gritty player and very athletic,” said Sanders. “She’s also mentally tough, which you have to be at the college level.”