Tee'Ashia Lilly turned a break-out sophomore season as a member of the Sandshills Community College volleyball team into a scholarship to play at Fayetteville State this fall.
The 5-foot-11 middle blocker was an All-Region X selection for a Lady Flyers' squad that won the 2018 Region X title and finished with a record of 24-5. She led the team in total blocks and was a close second in kills. Her hitting percentage of .370 was the seventh best in the nation in NJCAA Division III.
Flyers' Coach Alicia Riggan describes the change in the level of the North Moore High School graduate's game from her freshman to sophomore year as a "transformation" that came from a lot of hard work.
"Ashia really bought into participating in the off-season conditioning and workouts," the coach says. "For her it was a matter of adjusting to the fast pace of the college game as a freshman whereas last year she was our go-to player.
"The power behind her arm was a lot stronger. She was a captain and I think she really found herself."
Lilly caught the attention of the FSU coaches during a tryout in Fayetteville last January. She spent the early part of this week participating in the initial workouts for the 2019 Flyer squad. She moved to Fayetteville on Friday and began two-a-day practices with the Broncos at 7 a.m. on Saturday.
She is especially proud of the Lady Flyers' 20-0 record achieved in the process of winning back-to-back Region X titles during her tenure. An excellent student at Sandhills, she plans to complete the last of the prerequisites during the fall semester to get into the nursing program at FSU next spring.
As they did at Sandhills, she anticipates her grandparents Terry and Dianne Wyatt will be traveling to Fayetteville to watch her play.
"It is very important that I carry what the coaches taught me here to Fayetteville State so I can keep progressing," Lilly said at the Lady Flyers' practice on Thursday. "I'm not used to two practices a day so that is something to adjust to, but overall I'm ready. I'm very competitive and winning is always going to be the goal."
Reeshemah Johnson is in her 10th season as coach of the highly successful Fayetteville program that is a member of the NCAA Division II Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA). Another Sandhills alum, Paige Horne, was the Bronco setter in 2012 and 2013.
"Ashia is coming from a winning program and she's going to a winning program," Riggan says. "She is just a genuinely good person and has a great attitude.
"With the amount of work she's put in I'm really excited that she is getting the opportunity to keep playing because that next level is even more exciting."