Thursday, November 11, 2010

Morales signs letter of intent to Wisconsin


AMHERST — It’s not everyday a 5-foot, 7-inch athlete plays middle hitter.

It is even rarer for that 5-7 middle to attract the attention of a Big Ten school. On Wednesday, Amherst senior Deme Morales officially signed her letter of intent to attend the University of Wisconsin on a volleyball scholarship.

Morales will play for Pete Waite, who has a 256-100 record in 11 years at Wisconsin, including nine 20-plus win seasons an appearance in NCAA title game. Morales is expected to be a defensive specialist for the Badgers. She was known for her powerful hitting at Amherst but was very well-rounded.

"In my opinion she is the greatest Amherst player to ever wear the uniform," head coach Laurie Cogan said. "She is a complete volleyball player. There is not a skill she has not mastered. She could in my opinion play any position. If a school needed her to run an offense I believe she could be a setter.

"She is going to Wisconsin as a defensive specialist, it will be interesting to see when she graduates from Wisconsin she comes out as. I believe at some point her skill at the net will see her take some swings at the net at the Big Ten level. I think she will excel as a defensive specialist and before she leaves there she will be one of the better ones in the Big Ten."

Morales was a four-year starter and during that time Amherst was 89-16. Morales was a part of two Southwestern Conference championships and made three regional appearances. She was a two-time SWC MVP and two-time First Team All-Ohio. As a sophomore she was second team All-Ohio.

This season, Morales had 453 kills including 44 in the district final against Olmsted Falls which was one short of a state record. She had 241 digs, 82 aces and 43 blocks.
Morales never played volleyball before her sophomore year. Cogan said she was self-made.

"No player has ever worked harder in my program," Cogan said.

Cogan got a little emotional during the signing.

"I am so honored to have had the opportunity to coach her," Cogan said. "Those type of players you only think go to parochial systems. They typically leave their high school she stayed here.

"It is not about where you go to play. It is about who you are and the dedication you have to your program. You can excel in public you don’t have to go to a parochial school to go tot he Big Ten. You just have to be good at what you do. Deme is very good at what she does.

"She has a big place in my heart. I will miss her dearly."

Morales was heartfelt about her time at Amherst.

"I don’t think it can get any better than this," Morales said.

"I had an opportunity to play with people who love it as much as I do. It doesn’t matter what anyone says. Even if you didn’t play, you are all a part of me now. All the coaches, all the trainers, all the teachers I will take it with me to Wisconsin."

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