North Allegheny sophomore Morningstar commits to play volleyball at Louisville

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 | 5:03 PM

Paige Morningstar has barely made a dent on the North Allegheny girls volleyball team, but already has accepted an offer to play in college.

Morningstar, who will be a sophomore, made a verbal commitment recently to Louisville for the 2021 fall season.

North Allegheny coach Heidi Miller said Morningstar, a 6-foot setter, dressed, but played sparingly for the varsity last season. The Tigers swept WPIAL and PIAA Class 4A titles.

Her real impact came with the Renaissance Volleyball Club 16 Black Team, which she helped to the North Coast Power League Elite Division national championship in February. Morningstar led that squad, which is based in Green Tree, in assists, blocks and kill percentage.

“Paige has always had good skills and physical tools,” said Shawn Palmer, who has coached her the past two seasons with the club. “What really helped her turn the corner was her commitment to developing as a competitor and leader.

“Physically, she worked to get stronger. She took charge on the court verbally and asserted herself at a much higher level.”

Palmer said when Morningstar grew as a leader, she started getting a lot of interest from top college programs.

“It was exciting to see her get so much attention,” he said.

Morningstar said Louisville is a great volleyball program, the best in the ACC.

The Cardinals (24-7 overall) shared the conference title with Pitt last season, going on to compete at the NCAA championship tournament, where they lost in the first round.

“(I) love the coaches and girls on the team,” Morningstar said. “(It is a) very nice campus, (in a) great town and environment.”

Morningstar said she also considered Wake Forest, Pitt, Ohio State, Connecticut, William & Mary, Xavier, Dayton and Elon.

Miller believes the early decision will take the pressure off Morningstar.

“(It is) a good thing when you can do it,” Miller said.

Morningstar, whose father, Darren, played basketball for Pitt and spent one season in the NBA, will be the third sibling in her family to take up a Division I sport.

Her sister, Meg, is a 6-foot-2 senior middle blocker on the Notre Dame volleyball team. Another sister, Piper, is a 6-foot freshman guard/forward on the Radford women’s basketball team.

“We have been truly blessed to have all three of our girls offered full scholarships,” said their mother, Kim Morningstar.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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