Ron Cupp was so impressed with Mandy Moats at their first meeting that he still uses her as example to other young girls.
"Mandy impressed me beyond anything else," said Cupp, coach of the Augusta Juniors 18 Power volleyball team. "Mandy is really focused. I learned that she had saved her money for one year, with no guarantee, in order to try out for our team."
According to Cupp, dropping down $600 for uniforms, facility use fees, coach's fees and other costs is not unusual for club volleyball participants.
But for a young girl to save her money in hopes of making a team shows commitment and dedication.
"I don't think there's a girl on our team who works as hard as she does," Cupp said. "I don't think she has ever missed a practice, and she gives her best. I use her as an example, quite honestly, to some of the other girls."
Mandy, a 17-year-old junior at Harlem High School, has been playing on her school team for the past four years. Last year, she decided to try out for the Augusta Juniors team.
"I just have a love for the game," said Mandy, the daughter of Ralph and Karen Moats. "I enjoy getting out there with my friends and having fun."
Harlem High school student Mandy Moats is in the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Beta Club, Y Club and FCA. She also plays on the varsity volleyball and soccer teams at the school.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"Mandy's a sweetheart with a great attitude who adds spunk to our team," said Deanna Reid, one of Mandy's Augusta Juniors teammates.
David Thibodeau, Mandy's volleyball coach at Harlem High and a science teacher at the school, says Mandy is very dedicated to the sport.
"Mandy is one of those players and one of those students who's always focused on doing what's right in practice and at games," Thibodeau said. "She was willing to step aside this year and take a position that wasn't her best strength but was best for the team."
Mandy, an all-A honor student, has served as captain of the school's volleyball team for the past two years. She is a primary server and back row player for the Augusta Juniors. According to Thibodeau, Mandy exhibits great leadership qualities.
"Her leadership in practice and at the games is by her example," he said. "She is always serious about what she is doing. From the first time that I met her, she never gave me any inkling that she was a slacker."
Before graduating, Mandy will spend the remaining weeks impacting the school as a member of the soccer team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society, Beta Club and Y Club and as treasurer of the Spanish Honor Society.
As Mandy explores college options, she says her decision will hinge on whether or not she makes the Augusta State University volleyball team. If so, she'll remain in town; if not, she will consider attending Georgia Southern University in Statesboro or Armstrong Atlantic University in Savannah. She already has been accepted at both schools. She also has been accepted to Augusta State.
"We're real excited," Cupp said of Mandy's interest in trying out for the Augusta State team. "Even if she doesn't make the ASU team, she's come a long way, and we're real proud of her.
"You want them to be there because they want to be there," Cupp said. "And Mandy definitely wants to be there."
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