Photo: Southside High School senior Keelan Vice signed a volleyball scholarship with Gadsden State on February 16. Pictured, sitting, from left: mom Kristi Buchannan, Keelan, stepdad Brian Buchannan. Standing: Former Southside volley coach and current Gadsden State volleyball coach Courtney Brothers. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Keelan Vice was truthful when asked if volleyball was her first love in competitive sports.
“Honestly, no. I started off with softball, but in the seventh grade my friend made me try out [for volleyball]. I fell in love with it, so I quit softball and I’ve loved it ever since.”
That six-year old decision paid off last Wednesday (Feb. 16) when Vice signed a volleyball scholarship with Gadsden State.
“It feels great because I put in a lot of work,” said Vice,” who plans on studying pre-med with the goal of becoming a pediatrician. “Just to make it to the next level, it makes me proud of myself.”
Last season, Vice finished with 347 kills, 168 digs, 77 blocks, 50 aces and 19 assists as the Lady Panthers went 45-15 record, won the program’s 12th straight Etowah County Schools Tournament and qualified for the Class 6A Super North Regional Tournament. Her postseason honors included being named to the Al-Etowah County Schools first team, the All-Messenger first team, the All-Gadsden Times first team and the Alabama High School Volleyball Coaches Association second team.
For her career, Vice compiled 834 kills, 243 digs, 189 blocks, 136 aces and 28 assists. She was a part of two area championship teams and helped Southside advance to the super regionals three out of the past four years.
Former Southside volleyball coach and current Gadsden State volleyball coach Courtney Brothers noted that Vice improved her game significantly this past season.
“Keelan has always been a hard worker, but this past year she especially worked hard in the offseason. She really stepped in in club ball and did the extra works at the [volleyball] camps she went to on her own. Keelan is also her hardest critic, which is part of how competitive she is. Whether we’re up by 10 [points] or losing by 10, she fights to the end.
“I’m very proud of what Keelan has accomplished as both a player and a person these past four years, and I’m excited to have her at Gadsden State. Not many coaches can say that they’ve coached a player for eight straight years.”
Vice is looking forward to playing for Brothers for an additional two years.
“I love Coach C. She’s a great coach, and I’m so excited to have her at the next level, because we work so great together. She knows me and I know her.”