VOLLEYBALL: Lady Bobcats cross state lines to snag Berean Academy standout

On hand to see Anna-Meredith Schorle (seated, second from right) of Chattanooga's Berean Academy sign on to play volleyball with Georgia Northwestern were (front row, from left) Vivian Schorle, Georgia Northwestern head coach Amber Weaver and Ryan Schorle. On the back row are Berean athletic director Paul Hill, Berean head coach Beth Ware and Ashley Tugwell. (Messenger photo/Scott Herpst)

Shortly after signing four players from Ridgeland High School that helped the Lady Panthers advance to the Class AAAA Elite Eight in the state of Georgia, new Georgia Northwestern head volleyball coach Amber Weaver headed north to her old stomping grounds in Tennessee to find the newest Lady Bobcat.

Anna-Meredith Schorle of Chattanooga’s Berean Academy will don the Lady Bobcats’ colors next season after recently signing on with the program. Schorle was part of a Berean program that has won three Tennessee Association of Christian Schools (TACS) state volleyball titles and had one runner-up finish in the past four seasons.

According to its website, the TACS also branches out to include schools from Arkansas, Kentucky and Ohio.

“At first, I didn’t think I was going to get the opportunity to play college ball,” said Schorle, who also plays ball with the highly-successful Choo Choo City Volleyball Club. “But now that it has happened, it’s just encouraging me to pursue this, to show what I can do and show what I’m capable of doing at a different school.

“I met Amber and she just had a really positive attitude. I think having a positive coach really empowers the players to be positive too and that’s what I wanted. She really told me how much she wanted me to be on her team and having (a coach) have that desire to want you on their team really makes you want to play for them.”

Weaver, a former middle school coach at Berean, said she was happy to be able to bring in some talent from the Scenic City to her first recruiting class.

“I’m super excited about Anna-Meredith,” Weaver said. “She could be a middle hitter and she’s a great passer, but she also has great hands and she’ll be a huge asset to our team. She’s such a good player that I could probably put her anywhere on the court, so I like the versatility she offers.

“Plus, we’ve signed several girls now that are used to playing on winning teams, so I’m excited about that.”

Berean head volleyball coach Beth Ware said the Lady Bobcats were getting a very enthusiastic and a hard-working player.

“She’s a strong player in the middle and she’s excellent at blocking with a killer serve,” Ware explained. “Anna is also a very sweet girl. She’s really a team player and loves getting along with the other girls. She’s also a gracious winner with great spirit and great attitude.”

Berean athletic director Paul Hill coached Schorle during basketball season.

“They are getting an excellent person,” Hill said. “I’ve been around her for three years with basketball and she really stepped up her game this year. She got hurt in the semifinals and couldn’t play in the state finals, but she did a lot to get us there.

“This is our third (college) signee this year, which I think is a record for our program. We don’t do a lot of publicity and things of that nature, so it’s big for us.”

Schorle said she is anxious to prove that players from smaller high schools can have an impact at the next level.

“I believe I can bring positivity to the program and show that people from a small (school) background should get opportunities, too,” she added. “I might not be the best volleyball player out there, but I can bring something (to the program). Everyone can bring something to a team.”

Schorle said she chose GNTC due to its proximity to home, along with offering the Business and Human Resources degree she wants.

She added that she is excited to get a chance to play college ball against her high school teammates, one of whom signed with Bryan College and another who signed with the new program at Cleveland State. Both of those schools will be on the Lady Bobcats’ 2017 schedule.

“I’m going to get to play against some of my closest friends,” she said with a smile. “It will be fun, but I really want to win.”