Andrea Beck is practically volleyball legend around Winston-Salem, having played at one of the top volleyball high schools in the area as well as locally at Wake Forest University. Andrea graciously granted us an interview recently and shared her story. This is part one of a two-part series.
When did you start playing volleyball?
I started playing during the summer before 8th grade, when I went to team camp at App State with Hanes Middle School. I remember having a fantastic time, even though I could barely walk because I was so sore! I went on to play on my middle school team that year, which won the conference, and I also played my first season of club volleyball for the 14’s team at Triad Volleyball Club.
I understand you did not make your middle school team at first? Did it provide motivation to get better?
That’s right! I tried out for the team in 7th grade and didn’t make the cut. I remember being very disappointed, but the experience taught me that I couldn’t just expect things to be handed to me. I learned that I had to put in some effort if I wanted to succeed. That lesson stayed with me all the way through college, and I believe that all of my great playing experiences were made possible by hard work.
What are some of your favorite Mt. Tabor volleyball moments? Favorite Wake Forest moments?
My favorite Mt. Tabor volleyball moment was definitely when we beat Myers Park in the Regional Final of the state playoffs during my senior season. The win sent us to our first State Championship match, and we were playing at home so the students all stormed the court after we won, which was an incredible feeling. It felt like we had the support of the entire school, and it was a really exciting time that I will never forget.
Two matches stand out from my Wake Forest career as my favorite moments. The first was senior night from my sophomore year, when we beat Duke at home in 3 sets. Duke was the ACC champion that year so it was a huge win, but that’s not why it was my favorite moment. Our senior captain, Kristen White, had sprained her ankle in practice the day before, but she was able to play for long enough to record 5 digs and end her career with exactly 1000 digs. It was a great night all around. My other favorite moment was our televised “Dig for the Cure” match during my senior year, when we beat NC State in five sets. We were the underdog, and even after being down 0-4 in the fifth set, we came back to win 16-14. It was a total team effort, and it meant even more that it was our “Dig for the Cure” match because our coach, Heather Holmes, was fighting breast cancer.
Tell us about some of the doors volleyball has opened for you.
Volleyball has had an incredible impact on my life, and I am grateful to have been involved with a sport that has provided me with so many amazing opportunities! Volleyball gave me the chance to receive an education from Wake Forest University, which in turn helped me get into medical school at the University of Pittsburgh. My athletic scholarship allowed me to enjoy my college experience without worrying about debt, and my hard work as a student-athlete continues pay off because ACC and NCAA scholarships will help me finance my medical education.
I have also been able to travel around the world, thanks to my involvement with the sport. I have gone to Europe three times to play and spent the last seven months in Rovaniemi, Finland, having an incredible experience as a player for WoVo (“Woman Volley”). It has also shaped me as a leader, competitor, and teammate, and has introduced me to some truly amazing people.
As an active coach, what changes have you witnessed in volleyball in the Winston area since you graduated from Mt Tabor?
My perspective has changed throughout my playing and coaching career, but in general I think that volleyball is headed in the right direction, with growing interest and cooperation. I played and coached for Set Point Volleyball Club, which brought together several clubs in the area, and some of the best coaches in Winston. The club has continued to grow over the past few years, and it is exciting to see all of the young talent out there. Since I graduated from Mt. Tabor, many other girls have gone on to play in college, and now the region has created a professional team to play in the PVL tournament this May. I can’t wait to see the level of the game continue to rise in the coming years!
(click on the images below to enlarge and scroll through Andrea’s photo gallery)