Ooltewah junior middle hitter Courtlyn Ison has accepted a scholarship offer to continue her volleyball career at Belmont University in Nashville.
With the 6-foot-1 Ison leading the net play with 464 kills and 175 blocks, the Lady Owls went unbeaten against District 5-AAA competition in 2013. They won the Region 3 tournament on the way to the state tournament, where their season ended at 45-12.
Ison said she first met Belmont coach Deane Webb when he and his staff helped work a volleyball camp last summer.
"I got to meet them there and really got a lot of good tips that helped me this season," Ison said of the Belmont coaches. "They came and watched me at state and told me that they wanted me to come up for a visit."
Ison said she visited about three weeks ago and met with the weight-training coach and others she would be dealing with if she was part of the program. She looked around campus -- a "really good experience," she said -- and received an offer.
She returned home and after talking with her mother, her club coaches and Ooltewah coach Elaine Peigen decided to accept the offer.
She plans to major in physical therapy and said Belmont being renowned in that field also influenced her decision.
Ison piled up a few awards last fall, including being a first-team selection on the Times Free Press Best of Preps team. She was chosen to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association all-state team and was voted co-player of the year in 5-AAA.
"I think this is a perfect fit for her," Peigen said. "It's a great program and Deane Webb does a good job. I know she didn't want to be too far away from home. Her parents can travel and see her play there. She's a good student and is just very well-rounded. I think she's going to be a great asset to their program."
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.