The story is all-too familiar for area athletes; play a sport successfully in high school and move on to play at college. But for one Union Countian, her story has many unique twists and turns that landed her at Rust College in Holly Springs on Monday.
Sisten Lipsey’s love for volleyball came at an early age. Attending school at Victory Christian Academy in New Albany, she caught on to the school’s only female sport and thrived throughout the next 12 years.
“I think I was in kindergarten, and I watched coach with the team,” she said. “The ball came my way, and I bumped it, so I guess it was just love at first bump.”
Lipsey’s journey has taken her to many places out of state with, not only the team at Victory, but also with the United States Volleyball Association’s Delta Region team, where she connected with coach Maureen Whann. Not tied down to a specific position, Lipsey has been a dedicated player, moving to whatever position needed.
“I’m an all-around player; not a set positioned player,” she explained. “If I need to go in somewhere, I’m there. I’m not an outside or a middle; I just go in wherever.”
Victory Christian Academy’s enrollment for the 2011-2012 school year was 27 students from grades Pre-K through 12th. Not only was Lipsey the oldest member of the volleyball team, but she was also the school’s only graduating senior.
“It was tough being the oldest, playing with the younger ones, so it was a lot of me learning to be a leader,” Lipsey said. “We had only six people on the team when you can have as many as 12. We had exactly what we needed in order to compete.”
Despite the low numbers and youth, the team finished second at nationals in Knoxville, Tenn. last season, a feat coach Tabitha Ervin credits to Lipsey’s leadership.
“A majority of the team is younger, so it took a lot of leadership out of her, and that’s the primary quality she has,” she said.
Lipsey spoke to several colleges about playing, including Rhodes College in Memphis and Mississippi College. In the end, it was all about being close to home, which is why she will play at Rust.
“I’ve always been in a Christian environment and have never been in a public school, so of course, I was looking at the private Christian schools,” she said. “This is close to home, so it’s a great fit for me.”
The signing marks the first ever for an athlete from Victory – something that makes Lipsey proud.
“Amazing, I just don’t know. Words can’t explain, but it really hasn’t sunk in for me yet. I play all the time, so it just feels like another step for me to take. It’s exciting.”
Rust College is an NCAA Division III school and also has a men’s volleyball team.