Myranda Cummings had a knack for making big plays at key times for the Aiken High volleyball program.
Timely blocks and energy-boosting kills were momentum-changers during the Hornets' run to the Class AAAA state championship, and her big-play ability and versatile athleticism helped earn an opportunity to continue playing at the next level.
On Tuesday she signed to play for the University of Lynchburg, an NCAA Division III member in Virginia.
"I loved the family that they have," she said of her new team, also named the Hornets. "Their volleyball team is like a huge family, so to be welcomed into that and to have my major (nursing) there, that was my top priority. They had everything I needed in a school."
During her high school career Cummings has played a variety of positions - middle blocker, right side, outside hitter - for the Hornets, and head coach Jeremy Rinder described her as an unselfish player who was willing to do whatever was asked of her to help the team succeed.
"She's been one of those kind of people that has filled in roles and taken on the responsibilities that we needed her to as a team," Rinder said. "I think that's one of the things that Lynchburg sees in her is she has the ability to go in other spots and do different things. Being willing to do that shows leadership."
Cummings said her time with Aiken High's program has helped mold her into the person and player she is, to be a great teammate, to work hard through adversity, and to go up against the best of the best on the court. Those are all things she feels have prepared her for volleyball at the collegiate level.
In addition to her physical gifts, Rinder said her work ethic and energy are things that will also serve her well as she takes this next step.
"I can't ever think of a day that she took off," he said. "She was always focused. I think a lot of that, in terms of leadership, is leading by example on how to be focused in on every single day."
The focus and energy translated over to the court, as she had a hand in plenty of key plays during the Hornets' title run - and her teammates fed off of that.
"It's never been about me, so it's always been helping everybody else out, firing everybody else up, bringing energy to the floor," she said. "Being that big key person and bringing the energy, keeping the energy no matter what has been my biggest job in this whole thing."
Rinder said he didn't think any moment was ever too big for her, never playing scared or looking rattled. She played with emotion, sure, and Rinder noticed during her senior season how she was able to increase her level of play when things weren't going her way rather than letting negativity creep in and hurt the team.
He pointed to the state championship match when she was called for touching the net to give a set-clinching point to North Myrtle Beach. He watched as she walked away, got all of her frustration out of her system and went right back to the floor as if nothing had happened.
He had "100% confidence and trust" putting her out there, and she justified that with four total blocks in the biggest match of the year. Now, she heads off to college as a state champion.
"That feels amazing. Not everybody can say that," she said. "Not everybody has the opportunity to be a state champion and get a ring in high school, especially their senior year. It shows their program what they've got in their new player that's somebody that they can depend on and rely on to bring in more championships and more rings."