Four Columbia County high-school athletes proved their net worth last week.
The prep seniors each signed a letter of intent to attend colleges on athletic scholarships next season, and they all are stars in sports featuring a net.
Greenbrier's Zach Ducey and Joey Grigsby sealed deals to play soccer at the next level, as did Lakeside's Stacy Moore. The Lady Wolfpack's Laura Schmidt is also a soccer standout, but she chose to play collegiate volleyball.
"I like the quick pace of volleyball," said Schmidt, who is a co-captain on the Greenbrier soccer team. "I also like that when you serve the ball, you never know what's going to happen. Volleyball is a game that requires a lot of skill and hard work in order to be good at."
Ducey, Grigsby and Moore were equally dedicated to soccer, and their passion paid off with scholarships.
Greenbrier soccer players Zach Ducey (left) and Joey Grigsby sign scholarships to play with Lander College and Georgia State University, respectively.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Leaders of the Pack
The news just keeps getting better for Zach Ducey and Joey Grigsby.
They paced the Wolfpack to a Region 3-AAAA title this season, plus they expect to help their team make a run at the Class AAA championship.
After their prep careers are through, they'll run right onto a college squad.
Ducey signed to play for Lander College, while Grigsby will join Georgia State University.
"My goals are to be a good soccer player and a good student," Ducey said. "All I want to focus on is soccer and my grades. Whatever comes after that, I'll just have to wait and see."
During regular-season play with the Pack, Ducey tallied 27 goals and eight assists. His aggressive approach in the midfield sets the tone in Greenbrier's matches, and his style should translate well with Lander.
Grigsby, meanwhile, is the most prolific offensive prep soccer player in Columbia County history. He poured in 45 goals during Greenbrier's 15 regular-season games in 2003.
The striker settled on an offer from the Panthers for specific reasons. For one, Grigsby liked the location. "Atlanta has a professional soccer team, so being at Georgia State will give me a really good chance of being seen by some pro scouts."
Grigsby also is encouraged by the Panthers' program.
"I saw some of the guys they were recruiting, and I recognized a lot of the names," he said. "I believe its going to be a good team, and that I can work well with these guys."
The sporting life
Right now, Laura Schmidt is focused on soccer, as the Greenbrier Lady Wolfpack gears up for the Class AAAA state playoffs.
Last fall her attention was centered on the volleyball court, and the senior made the most of it. Schmidt was selected as Region 3-AAAA player of the year, and she helped guide Greenbrier to a 40-13 record and a No. 4 ranking in the state.
Next fall, the powerful outside hitter will be playing above the net at State University of West Georgia in Carrollton.
"I knew when I visited the campus, that was where I wanted to be," she said. "They have a good academic history and a good volleyball program. I think I can fit in well there."
Lakeside High School senior Stacy Moore signs a scholarship to play soccer at Georgia Southern University as her sister, Kelly Moore, and her parents, Jason and Vivian Moore, look on.
Photo by Donnie Fetter
Lady Pack volleyball coach Debbie Born expects Schmidt to excel at the next level.
"Laura has been playing long before she came here, and her skills were already excellent," Born said. "West Georgia is very lucky to get her, because as great as she is, I don't think she has reached her full potential."
More than meets the eye
When Stacy Moore signed last week to play soccer at Georgia Southern University, the Lakeside senior was all smiles.
But the friends, family and teammates gathered at the ceremony knew there was more than meets the eye.
Moore suffered a torn retina earlier this soccer season, and missed about three weeks of action with the Lady Panthers.
Then, when she was healthy enough to return to action, close friend Travis Starr died from injuries suffered in an accident.
Through it all, Moore showed strength, and finally had something to be happy about - achieving the dream of playing college soccer.
"I was in gymnastics for six years, and I played basketball, but I quit both when I was age 10 so I could really be into soccer," she said.
Moore has started at the striker position for the past three seasons at Lakeside, and she also plays club ball with the Augusta Arsenal Vipers. Her speed and versatility drew the attention of Georgia Southern coach Tom Norton, who extended a scholarship offer.
"Her work ethic really opened a lot of eyes," Lakeside coach Donny Rogers said of Moore. "She fights for every ball, and she trains at 110 percent at every practice session."
Moore sees no reason to change when she suits up in Statesboro next season. "I just want to get some playing time, play my heart out, and really challenge myself," she said.
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