The Girard volleyball program will have two huge holes to fill this season with the graduations of Bryanna Jay and Morgan Walters.
The duo has made their selections on where they will play the sport in college, with Jay going to Wittenberg University in Springfield and Walters will attend Gannon University in Erie, Pa.
"Bryanna is going to bring solid right side blocking to that team right away," said Girard coach Phil Walters, who has been with the Indians for 12 seasons. "She's going to get playing time right off in her freshman year. She needs to work on her offensive game but I think she'll be a natural fit for them.
Tribune Chronicle file / R. Michael Semple
Former Girard volleyball player Bryanna Jay is shown during a practice in September 2011. Jay and teammate Morgan Walters have committed to continue their academic and athletic careers in college.
"Morgan will be a backup setter but she'll be a defensive specialist. She'll probably get some playing time as a server. She has a pretty strong jump serve."
Jay and Morgan Walters helped Girard go 23-4 last season before their high school careers came to an end with a loss to Gilmour Academy in a Division III regional semifinal.
Walters is 5-foot-7 and was a setter in high school but she expects to be a backup setter and a back row at Gannon.
"I really liked the atmosphere (at Gannon)," said Walters, who also considered Thiel, Bluffton and Pittsburgh-Bradford. "I liked that the campus is downtown because there's always something to do and it's convenient. I liked the coaches and the girls. It's a good environment and I'm excited to play in the program"
Walters said she will major in sports marketing and management with a double minor in psychology and athletic coaching. She said her future goal is to become a volleyball coach.
Walters said her success as a player is due to her teammates.
"I'd like to thank the underclassmen and the girls before me for being welcoming when I came in as a freshman," she said. "My senior year would've been nothing without them. I love them with all my heart."
Jay is a 6-1 right-side hitter who chose Wittenberg over Ohio State and Yale. She will major in pre-med and eventually attend medical school.
"I liked the small class sizes along with the championship volleyball program," she said.
Jay will not be going into a program that is unfamiliar with success. The Tigers won the Division III national championship last season.
"It's a great feeling walking into a program that has a certain amount of respect," Jay said. "I'm going to be asked to perform at a high level."
Phil Walters said both Jay and Morgan Walters have left their respective marks on the Girard record book this past season.
"In Bryanna's biggest match she had 27 kills, which is the most anyone has had for Girard since 2002," he said. "Against Springfield during the season she had 26 kills and she had 27 more against Springfield in the district final. She only had two errors the first time (against Springfield) and four errors the second time. Morgan's serving is her strong suit. When we played Springfield she had 49 assists for a school record and she broke it with 53 assists the second time we played Springfield. At Poland she had 14 aces for a school record."
Jay was named third team all-state this season and Walters was honorable mention all-state.
Phil Walters said the pair's hard work and ability will serve them well at the next level.
"I think both have to work hard because the game is a little different," he said. "Bryanna and Morgan are going to high level teams. They have a great work ethic. They work out year long and play club volleyball. They both have a good head start on that."